Does a Dewdrop Teach Dharma? Zen Perspectives on the Teachings of the Insentient

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Does a Dewdrop Teach Dharma? Zen Perspectives on the Teachings of the Insentient
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Citation: Kraft, Kenneth. "Does a Dewdrop Teach Dharma? Zen Perspectives on the Teachings of the Insentient." Dharma World 45 (2018):6–9. https://rk-world.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/DW18_7-12.pdf.

Abstract

No abstract given. Here are the first relevant paragraphs:

Valley sounds are the long, broad
      tongue.
Mountain colors are not other than
      the unconditioned body.
Eighty-four thousand verses are
      heard through the night.
What can I say about this in the
      future?

This poem is almost a thousand years old. It was presented to a Chinese Zen master by a follower, Su Shi, who went on to become one of China's greatest poets. In Zen these four lines are considered to be Su's enlightenment verse. In addition to being a poet, Su Shi (1037–1101) was a statesman, an essayist, a painter, and a calligrapher. He practiced Zen as a layperson, not a monk, receiving instruction from Donglin Changcong, a leading master. In China, Su is still honored as one of "the four greats" in several fields, including cooking.
      Let’s take a look at the poem, using the above translation by Kazuaki Tanahashi (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dōgen’s Shōbō Genzō [Shambhala, 2012], 86)
      Valley sounds are the long, broad tongue. "Valley sounds" are the sounds of a stream.
      "Long, broad tongue" refers to the Buddha and his teachings, known as the Dharma. Restated unpoetically: natural phenomena such as streams are capable of expressing the highest truth. (Read entire article here)

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