This amazing nature photo was taken by a dear friend and colleague, Eileen Kern a.k.a. Elle.

Which is the actual picture Elle took and which one did I turn up-side down?

In case you thought the picture on the left is the one Elle took, take a second look, because it’s actually the one I turned up-side down. Elle’s right-side up picture is the second one on the right. The water in that picture is so clear that it perfectly reflects the trees and the clouds, making their reflections seem Real to human eyes.

Is that’s how it is with all phenomena?

With our bodies?

Are objects we see only reflections in water?

This Chinese Buddhist Nun realized it:

In the shade of two trees and the hanging green of the cliffs,

One lamp for a thousand years broke open the dark barriers.

I too now realize that phenomena are nothing but a magic show

And happily grow old among the mist, the rivers and the stones.

MIAOZHAN, 1368-1600

But what about the twigs?

The twigs in the foreground of the picture Elle took are not a reflection,

they’re Real twigs.

See them?

These twigs weren’t just “a couple of twigs,”

when I noticed them in the picture.

They came alive and touched my heart

as soon as it dawned on me that,

while the trees and clouds are mere reflections in the water,

these twigs are Real twigs.

I told Elle and a few other colleagues that

this is what I am after in life:

“What it is that dwelleth here,

I know not.

But my heart stands in awe

And the tears trickle down.”

—11 Cent Japan

I am after, “What it is that dwelleth here.”


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