Contemplation on Water
The last three years have been a complete time warp. During this period, I’ve spent a lot of time by different bodies of water. This has led to contemplating on water and its various forms – both physical and metaphysical.
In 2019, I started my studies at RYI. Life changed suddenly and completely; what else could one expect upon moving to a new country and enrolling to study in a Buddhist institution. Still, in all its vastness and the profoundness, the change washed like a wave over my entire being. I had thought I knew something about Buddhism! Little did I actually know.
Becoming so immersed in the Dharma was like seeing the ocean for the first time. I became a small dot on the shore, gazing upon an endlessly distant horizon with awe and intimidation. Water is not only a source of life, but also a tremendous natural force. It has the power to slowly but surely shape rock and soil. It can permeate the tiniest cracks and mold mountains. If you jump into water from high enough, the impact will have the same force as if you were hitting the solid ground – but water will bend and let you in. During the in-between state of jumping off a cliff and hitting the surface of water, the mind goes blank. Adrenaline hits at the moment of resurfacing.
Learning how to swim suddenly became really important. And perhaps even more urgently, learning how to let go and float.
A strange and unexpected turn happened when the pandemic hit and the lecture format moved online. During these two years, being able to still attend the lectures has offered structure and solace, like a raft on open water. The fact that I can listen to a live lecture streamed directly from Kathmandu or from anywhere else around the world, and advance in my studies in these times is incredible. I am so grateful to live in a time where such a thing is possible.
However, as the final year of my BA approaches, I’m excited to leave the physical seas and return to the mountain ponds of Nepal. There are many things to learn and experience, many friends to meet again. I look forward to the fall semester, to being able to attend the classes on campus again, and for new adventures to begin.