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Holding the Question: Chiyono’s No Water, No Moon

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Teacher: Keri Pederson
Date: 2014-03-18
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center


This talk explores the Zen story of Chiyono, a woman from 13th century Japan who is a servant in a monastery. On a full moon night she goes out to draw water from the well, and when the bottom of her bucket gives way she has an awakening experience, or a shift in view. This is a story of a path of practice, and we can use it as a mirror that might reflect vital questions in our own lives. When we approach her story and our own questions with a spirit of openness, curiosity and not-knowing instead of remaining with the known or trying to solve, the questions themselves can transform us.

The story "Chiyono's No Water, No Moon" is from the book The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women, edited by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon.

With this and that I tried to keep the bucket together,
and then the bottom fell out.
Where water does not collect,
the moon does not dwell.


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