Chiyono studied and meditated for years but was unable to find enlightenment. One night she was carrying an old pail, filled with water. As she was walking, she watched the full moon reflect in the pail of water. Suddenly, the bamboo strips that held the pail together broke and the pail fell apart. The water rushed out; the moon’s reflection disappeared. And Chiyono became enlightened.
She wrote this verse:
This way and that way,
I tried to keep the pail together,
Hoping the weak bamboo would never break.
Suddenly the bottom fell out.
No more water, no more moon in the water – emptiness in my hand!
Zen stories are so simple yet filled with profound wisdom. This story tells us that when a person goes about his daily chores peacefully with a calm mind enlightenment may happen. The suddenness of the pail breaking flipped Chiyono to a “No Mind” state that is Satori.
Enlightenment or self realizations are a result of ‘letting be’ not of strive and effort. Meditation and simple living help in making us hollow and empty and the emptiness in Chiyono’s verse signifies a total surrender of ego.
Thank you my friends and have a lovely day. 🙂