CASE #7: The Rain of the Law

In The Lotus Sutra, Shakyamuni proclaims:

I appear in the world
Like a vast cloud
Showering its rain without discrimination
Upon all withered sentient beings.


The Lotus Sutra is among the most revered of all Mahayana Buddhist scriptures, alluded to in countless paintings and statues, and evoked constantly in the spiritual and secular literature of East Asia. Composed around the beginning of the Common Era, the best-known version is the Chinese text translated by Kumarajiva in 406.

The “Rain of the Law” chapter was familiar to American Transcendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, who published Henry David Thoreau’s translation of it in his magazine The Dial in 1844.

Shakyamuni compares himself to a cloud that covers the Earth, moistening the roots of every green plant. But is that really necessary? Even with no Buddha, the world has its plants and clouds.

The Tathagata’s teachings add nothing to what is already there. That is their purpose: To add nothing to a world in which countless beings are always being saved.

Compared himself to a cloud
But no one got it—
He wore out all ten fingers
Pointing where no one would look

Green Koans Case 1: Shakyamuni Touches the Earth
Green Koans Case 2: Shantideva’s Sword

Green Koans Case 3: The Great Compassionate One’s True Eye
Green Koans Case 4: One-Page Dharma
Green Koans Case 5: The Person of the Way
Green Koans Case 6: The Green Yogi
Green Koans Case 7: Rain of the Law
Green Koans Case 8: Bashō’s Last Words

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