Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the poetical
intuition of man never fails to find it, and to delight in everything
typical of that Spirit. The leaves of the plantain, says a Zen
poet, unfold themselves, hearing the voice of thunder. The flowers
of the hollyhock turn towards the sun, looking at it all day long.
Jesus could see in the lily the Unseen Being who clothed it so
lovely. Wordsworth found the most profound thing in all the world to
be the universal spiritual life, which manifests itself most directly
in nature, clothed in its own proper dignity and peace. Through
every star, says Carlyle, through every grass blade, most through
every soul, the glory of present God still beams.
It is not only grandeur and sublimity that indicate Universal Life,
but smallness and commonplace do the same. A sage of old awakened to
the faith[FN#151] when he heard a bell ring; another, when he looked
at the peach blossom; another, when he heard the frogs croaking; and
another, when he saw his own form reflected in a river. The minutest
particles of dust form a world. The meanest grain of sand under our
foot proclaims a divine law. Therefore Teu Tsz Jo-shi), pointing to
a stone in front of his temple, said: All the Buddhas of the past,
the present, and the future are living therein.[FN#152]
[FN#151] Both the Chinese and the Japanese history of Zen are full
of such incidents.