Talk about different! He's now enduring the monsoon rains. Here we have drought and seemingly forever clear skies! We have watering restrictions, and now the trees are beginning to die.
It wasn't long ago that Vinaya suffered huge challenges to recover from the massive earthquake in Nepal. Finally he and his family from Kathmandu managed to reach his farm in the countryside after a perilous trip. You can read some of his updates in the May and June archives on the right. They're always really worthwhile.
Here's a beautiful, thoughtful piece from him.
Why Do I Farm?
I have not written anything since a couple of days ago. I have not read anything since a couple of days ago. It is raining cats and dogs, and I’m on my farm.
My experience tells me farming is not a very lucrative job. A farm trader makes more money than the farmer who produces farm produce. A farmer invests more money in farm inputs than he actually gets from his production.
The rate of return is very low in farming. What do I get at the end of one year farming cycle, after cultivating at least five different crops? At most the return of investment. If this is the case, why am I farming, or why did my ancestors devote their lives to farming?
That is because a farmer never gets old. You will see him working on the farm until he dies. There is no retirement plan in farming; as long as you actively participate in life and livelihood, you will never get old. This is the Zen experience I have from farming.
Zen is not a borrowed experience--Zen is my direct experience
The disciple answered, “Alright Master, but first wash your face, hands and feet.”
After he washed up, the Zen Master called another disciple. “I want you to interpret my dream,” he said.
“I will interpret the dream, Master,” the second disciple answered. “But first pat dry your face with the towel.”
Then the Zen Master summoned another disciple and asked him to interpret his dream.
The third disciple replied, “Master, I will interpret the dream, but you must have your tea first.”
After the Master drank tea, he summoned his three disciples. “I congratulate you,” said the Zen Master. “You have reached Satori (Nirvana) for you did not stand to judge the past. This is what Zen is about. My experience has nothing to do with your knowledge and wisdom. Zen is direct experience.”
After living in a city for more than 30 years, I was back in my ancestral village couple of years ago. Why did I return?
To find truth in life
Some said one, some said two, some said three, but no one said four. The teacher patted the boy who said a cow has three legs. He was wrong, but at least he was near the truth.
Our understanding of the truth is similar to the fable of “Six Blind Men and the Elephant.”
When the six blind men found themselves before an elephant, they tried to explain the animal from their experience of touch.
The man who touched the tail said, “Elephant is like a rope.”
The man who touched the elephant’s belly said, “Elephant is like a wall.”
The man who touched the leg said, “Elephant is like a pillar.”
The man who touched the ear said, “Elephant is like a hand fan.”
The man who touched the trunk said, “Elephant is like a tree branch.”
The man who touched the tusk said, “Elephant is like a stone.”
None of the men could understand the elephant in totality. This fable from Panchantantra, the Hindu book of fables, tells how incomplete we are.
It is well known fact that we perceive truth through our five senses. However, the five senses may not work at the same time, most of the time one is dominated by another.