Black Bees Frolicking

Greetings to Everyone. As I write this I can hear the rain pattering from the drain pipe. It is a repetitive, insistent and yet cheerful sound. Yesterday I began reading a Buddhist sutra called the Nirvana Sutra. Here’s a line that struck me.

“…black bees frolicked among the calyxes, amusing themselves. In the process, the bees emitted a wonderful sound that intoned the teachings of impermanence, suffering, emptiness, and nonself, and the sound also expounded events from the past…”The Nirvana Sutra, BDK English Tripitaka, trans. Mark L. Blum

Dogen (the 13th century founder of Soto Zen in Japan) wrote many things about the true nature of our condition. One of his most compelling teachings is that every being and thing in this universe is teaching the Dharma. Since Dogen lived hundreds of years after the Nirvana Sutra was written, this teaching was already considered part of Buddhist doctrine and he was taught this truth as a young monk. It is a generous and optimistic teaching. If we look around; we can learn profound truths about our life and life in general without going anywhere. When I was a photography student, we would have the exercise of spending a week taking pictures of a small area, such as one’s backyard. This taught us to see our environment with new eyes, because we had to look deeper than the obvious. In Buddhism, we are taught over and over about impermanence, suffering, and no inherent existing self. But, what does it mean? A bee, frolics among the flowers. It is fragile, strong, mobile, and perceives the world as fragrance. It feels the pull of magnetic forces. This small creature, participates in making the world. Recently this has been forcefully brought home to us by the mysterious deaths of bees. Yet, seemingly unaware, the bee, goes on and makes its contribution. Impermanent, sometimes suffering, embodying the interconnected process of life enacted, this bee, all bees, all beings is brought forth. Furthermore, in the moment of the bee, is all moments enacted. Nothing is left out; all life, all time, and all being is present. Such a tiny moment, just one small thing. Please investigate and look closely at your life’s activity. Frolic among the flowers of your day. Consider the joy of just being in this full and overflowing cornucopia of living. Find the unfound sound of all being; enacted with and through all beings.
Best to you all this rainy spring morning.

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