Thursday, 31 December 2009

Master Water Drop

The most thought provoking presentation of papers occurred this afternoon at the conference. The topic was "Living Simply, Protecting the Environment". I will bring some video posts to you with more on this soon.

Meanwhile, here is the story of Master Water Drop which I am copying from the paper given by Bhikshuni Chuchmen (of Singapore):

An ancient story illustrates that water is precious. There was a Chan Master by the name of Water Drop. One day, Chan Master Yishan wanted to wash himself, but the water was too hot, so he asked his disciple to bring a bucket of cold water. the disciple brought a bucket of cold to add to the hot water. After cooling the water, there was some water left in the bucket, so he poured it out.

Master Yishan was not pleased. He said, "Why are you so wasteful? Everything in this world has it's value. Things differ only in how they are used. For example, if you gave even one drop of the water you poured away to the flowers and plants, not only would the flowers and plants be happy, but the drop of water also would not lose it's value! As single drop of water is very valuable!"

The disciple was awakened by his master's teaching and changed his name to Master Water Drop. This disciple later became the famous Chan Master Water Drop. When Master Water Drop started to teach, people asked him, "What is the most virtuous thing in the world?"

"A drop of water," the master replied. "Empty space can contain all things. What can contain empty space? Drops of water."

Master Water Drop embraced his mind harmoniously with drops of water. The whole universe was his mind. One drop of water can encompass limitless time and space.
This story is made even more poignant when we hear such facts as these, from the paper presented by Savinder Kaur Gill (Tashi Choedron):

  • 2 million children die each year for want of a glass of clean water and adequate sanitation (every 20 seconds, a child dies as a result of poor sanitation.)
  • The demand for water has increased more than twice the rate of the population in the last century.
  • More than 40% of the world's population lives in river basins with some sort of wtare scarcity.
  • The UN suggests that each person needs 20 - 50 litres of safe freshwater s day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning. More than 1 in 6 people worldwide - 894 million - don't have access to this ammount of freshwater.
Clean water and sanitation are among the most powerful drivers for human development. They can extend opportunity, enhance dignity and help create a virtuous cycle of improving health and rising wealth (UN, 2006)

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