In Paradise Valley I have a neighbor named Jane. Jane’s bamboo plants creep into my patio area, dropping dead leaves onto my rock garden.
Each week I clean the dead leaves from the rock garden; sometimes twice a week, sometimes more.
Within half an hour after each cleaning, a slight breeze blows and more dead leaves fall from Jane’s bamboo.
Jane’s bamboo carries a great teaching about the impermanence of all things.
A seeker crossed Chuanchen Cliff in search of hermit-teachers. On the steps of Hsienku Temple he posed with Master Hsieh who told him many things, among them:
“Q [Porter]: Aren’t they [the hermits] interested in teaching others?
“Hsieh: Yes. But before you can teach others, you have to cultivate yourself. You have to know something before you can teach something. You can’t explain inner cultivation just because you know words in books. You have to discover what they mean first.”
—from Bill Porter’s Road to Heaven: Encounters with Chinese Hermits