Cherry Blossom and the Misty Moon - Rengetsu

A very famous Zen woman, her name was Rengetsu, was on a pilgrimage. She came to a village at sunset and begged for lodging for the night, but the villagers slammed their doors. They were against Zen. Zen is so revolutionary, so utterly rebellious, that it is very difficult to accept it.

By accepting it you are transformed; by accepting it you pass through a fire, you are never the same again. Tradition is all that is untrue in religion. And so traditional people have always been against all that it true in religion.

Being traditional, the townspeople didn’t allow Rengetsu to stay in their town; they threw her out. It was a cold night, the old woman had no lodging and she was hungry. It was dangerous too — wild animals and all. She had to make a cherry tree in the fields her shelter. It was so cold she could not sleep well.

At midnight she awoke because of the cold and saw, in the spring night sky, the fully opened cherry blossoms laughing to the misty moon. Overcome with the beauty, she got up and made a reverence in the direction of the village … This is what Tathata is.*

She made a reverence in the direction of the village, “Through your kindness in refusing me lodging I found myself beneath the blossoms on the night of this misty moon. I am grateful.”

With great gratitude she thanked those people who refused her lodging, otherwise she would have slept under an ordinary roof, and she would have missed the blessing of the cherry blossoms whispering with the misty moon, and the silence of the night; the utter silence of the night. Rengetsu was not angry, she accepted it. Not only accepted it, welcomed it — she felt grateful.

One becomes a Buddha the moment s/he accepts all that life brings with gratitude. He is on the Way, he is on Tao; and he IS becoming meditative.

* The ultimate inexpressible nature of all things.

Adapted from Zen: The Path of Paradox by Osho

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