Water as a Bodhisattva

By Jay McDaniel

Open Horizons

January 20, 2021

Let's say you are a water person.  You find a special kind of spiritual nourishment from water: rivers, lakes, the ocean, water in bowls, the flow of water from faucets. In the language of Buddhism, water is, for you, a bodhisattva: a soul friend who helps save you from the suffering of isolation. fragmentation, and aloneness.   Of course, water saves you and others in additional ways as well: cooking, bathing, washing, and healing.  And it saves other living beings, too, in the practical arts of living.  As Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, its benefits are numberless.

You may have other bodhisattvas as well: friends and family, trees, companion animals, soil and sunshine, music, flowers, and vegetable gardens.  You may realize that, when it comes to the living of a life, you have many allies, many companions, many mentors.  Maybe, for you, the whole earth is a bodhissatva, as are the stars.  Elizabeth McAnally certainly thinks so.  But water, for you as for McAnally, is certainly among your many friends in the journey, and it may well have a key place in the pantheon of sacred powers.  Yes, you are a water person.

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