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15280Re: Seeking Parable Info: River Missing Clouds; River Becomes Lonely...

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  • Jeff Belyea
    Mar 1, 2007
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      The River and the Clouds

      Thich Nhat Hanh

      Once upon a time there was a beautiful river finding her way among
      the hills, forests, and meadows. She began by being a joyful stream
      of water, a spring always dancing and singing as she ran down from
      the top of the mountain. She was very young at the time, and as she
      came to the lowland she slowed down. She was thinking about going to
      the ocean. As she grew up, she learned to look beautiful, winding
      gracefully among the hills and meadows.

      One day she noticed the clouds within herself. Clouds of all sorts
      of colors and forms. She did nothing during these days but chase
      after clouds. She wanted to possess a cloud, to have one for
      herself. But clouds float and travel in the sky, and they are always
      changing their form. Sometimes they look like an overcoat, sometimes
      like a horse. Because of the nature of impermanence within the
      clouds, the river suffered very much. Her pleasure, her joy had
      become just chasing after clouds, one after another, but despair,
      anger,and hatred became her life.

      Then one day a strong wind came and blew away all the clouds in the
      sky. The sky became completely empty. Our river thought that life
      was not worth living, for there were no longer any clouds to chase
      after. She wanted to die. "If there are no clouds, why should I be
      alive?" But how can a river take her own life?

      That night the river had the opportunity to go back to herself for
      the first time. She had been running for so long after something
      outside of herself that she had never seen herself. That night was
      the first opportunity for her to hear her own crying, the sounds of
      water crashing against the banks of the river. Because she was able
      to listen to her own voice, she discovered something quite important.

      She realized that what she had been looking for was already in
      herself. She found out that clouds are nothing but water. Clouds are
      born from water and will return to water. And she found out she
      herself was also water.

      The next morning when the sun was in the sky, she discovered
      something beautiful. She saw the blue sky for the first time. She
      had never noticed it before. She had only been interested in clouds,
      and she had missed seeing the sky, which is the home of all the
      clouds. Clouds are impermanent, but the sky is stable. She realized
      that the immense sky had been within her heart since the very
      beginning. This great insight brought her peace and happiness. As
      she saw the vast wonderful blue sky, she knew that her peace and
      stability would never be lost again.

      That afternoon the clouds returned, but this time she did not want
      to possess any of them. She could see the beauty of each cloud, and
      she was able to welcome all of them. When a cloud came by, she would
      greet him or her with loving-kindness. When the cloud wanted to go
      away, she would wave to him or her happily and with loving kindness.
      She realized that all clouds are her. She didn't have to choose
      between the clouds and herself. Peace and harmony existed between
      her and the clouds.

      That evening something wonderful happened. When she opened her heart
      completely to the evening sky she received the image of the full
      moon - beautiful, round, like a jewel within herself. She had never
      imagined that she could receive such a beautiful image. There is a
      very beautiful poem in Chinese: "The fresh and beautiful moon is
      travelling in the utmost empty sky. When the mind-rivers of living
      beings are free, that image of the beautiful moon will reflect in
      each of us."

      This was the mind of the river at that moment. She received the
      image of that beautiful moon within her heart, and water, clouds,
      and moon took each other's hands and practiced walking meditation
      slowly, slowly to the ocean.

      There is nothing to chase after. We can go back to ourselves, enjoy
      our breathing, our smiling, ourselves, and our beautiful
      environment.



      --- In meditationsocietyofamerica@yahoogroups.com, "Charles Snow"
      <AWayOfLifeMyPathWorthyOfLaundry@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello There !!
      >
      > Terribly sorry to intrude, but I'm in need of expert Meditational,
      > Buddhist, or merely Philosophical advice...
      >
      > I'm seeking an in-depth version of a philosophical parable I've
      heard
      > recently. The basic premise is this: "There once was a river who
      > enjoyed his life immensely, and his best friend{s}in the entire
      world
      > were a set of clouds in the sky. One day the river awoke to find
      the
      > clouds had disappeared, and he was sad, lonely, and troubled
      beyond
      > description... The Sun came-out and explained to the river that
      the
      > clouds didn't simply disappear, they had turned-into condensation
      and
      > through the form of rain, they'd rained down into the Earth and
      > actually become a part of the river itself... The Sun explained to
      > the river that he shouldn't be sad because he hadn't really lost
      > anything -- he had absorbed the clouds, so therfore he shouldn't
      be
      > sad or lonely."
      >
      > Does anyone out there have any idea where I can locate on the
      > Internet a more precise version of this parable ?
      >
      > Even a book reference for a book I could order would be most
      > welcomed. I'm really trying to find this original story / parable
      and
      > I'm not having much luck doing a "Google" search on the Internet.
      >
      > I'd be very grateful indeed !! Thanks so very much !!
      >
      > -- Charles Snow -- Atlanta, Georgia --
      > AWayOfLifeMyPathWorthyOfLaundry@... or BenVereen@... .
      >
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