The drop of rain falls from the sky and onto the earth. It sinks into the ground and nourishes the tree. It passes through the tree, through its veins, through its cells, giving it life, then leaves as a vapor. It rises up to the sky and freezes. It becomes a drop of snow. It falls onto the earth into the soil, it waits for spring and melts, flowing through the ground into the river, from the river into the ocean. The sun shines and that water warms up, becoming a vapor, rising into the sky and becoming a drop of rain once again.
This is the transformation of life, of dharma, of all things. They change form, coming and going, leaving and vanishing. The forms change but the essence is immutable. That drop of water can be defiled by a thousand things, the wastes of the tree, the dirt of the soil, pollution in the sky, the salt of the sea, but as it changes forms it leaves defilement behind and becomes pure once again. It can be consumed, or evaporated, but it is not destroyed, it changes forms countless times, experiences countless things, but for millions and billions of years it will still be water, being soiled and purified over and over again.
As the earth is destroyed that drop of water will no longer exist. Just as it wasn’t really a rain drop, or a snowflake, or a river, it wasn’t really a drop of water, it will break down into atoms, and energy, and transform once again, and flow once again in the realm of space. And when the universe is destroyed it will change again. Never defiled, never destroyed, always flowing and transforming, into realms beyond imagination and conception.
This is the dharma of a drop of rain, the dharma of all things. This is the dharma that can go anywhere, from the heavens to the earth and back again, into space, and beyond the universe. The dharma that be in any place, that can occupy any state, that can be defiled and pure, hot and cold, nourishing and deadly, moving and standing still. This is the dharma that is indestructible, experiencing all states and all positions, but being at all times beyond them. The supreme, the perfect dharma of unassailable wisdom. The truth in all things.
We are the drop of water in the dirt, soiled and confined. That process of finding the river, finding the sea, receiving the sunlight, and becoming light, and pure, finding the sky, doesn’t happen in one moment. It takes time. That drop of water might have many lifetimes before it is released from its form and made new once again, but whatever its outward state, the perfection of its nature never changes.
For us human beings the process of transformation and purification can take many forms and paths. There is one destination and different ways to reach it. And there is one path, that is exceptional, quick, straight, pleasant to walk on, unsurpassable for it effectiveness in transforming and purifying human beings.
This path finds the truth everywhere, the teaching relies on all experience. Thus we can come to see all perception as the path to transforming and purifying ourselves, developing compassion for all beings that are our teachers, and finding hope in all situations that lead to our transfiguration. Isn’t this something good? Something noble? Something excellent? To see the release of suffering everywhere, the path to purification, transformation, and wisdom everywhere, what could surpass it?
There is the formless, and also there is the form. There is an ineffable, ever present reality of inner perfection, and there is an outer world, of words, ideas, experiences. To walk on this path we use the form to reach the formless. Progress is easiest with a guide, someone who has been at your level, and the supreme level, and can help illuminate your journey in between.