Aryeah Kaplan wrote that when one is in a meditative state, one has obtained the ability to turn off faint after-images that are constantly with us and interfere with seeing objects with total clarity. He noted that when one is able “to turn off the spontaneous self-generated images . . . the beauty of the flower . . . seen in these higher states of awareness is indescribable [and] appears to radiate beauty.
~Aryeah, Kaplan, Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide, p.9
A flower is not a flower. It is made only of non-flower elements–sunshine, clouds, time, space, earth, minerals, gardeners, and so on. A true flower contains the whole universe. If we return any one of these non-flower elements to its source, there will be no flower. That is why we can say, “A rose is not a rose. That is why it is an authentic rose.” We have to remove our concept of rose if we want to touch the real rose.
~Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, p. 129
…when we hold a rose we see that it is composed of multiple elements, some tangible – leaves, stem, thorns, petals, stamens – and others intangible – scent, color, memories. If you were to remove any of these constituent parts, would you find an entity know as “rose”? As we are unable to find the rose in the absence of any one of these parts, we are also unable to find an enduring solid rose in any one of these elements.
~B Catherine Koeford, A Meditative Journey with Saldage, pp152-153
“Look at the sunflower growing in the garden. The sunflower relies on so many elements in order to manifest itself. There is a cloud inside of the flower because if there were no cloud there would be no rain, and no sunflower could grow. There is the sunshine in the sunflower. We know that without sunshine nothing can grow; there would be no sunflowers. We see the earth, we see the minerals, we see the farmer, we see the gardener, and we see time, space, ideas, the willingness to grow and many other elements. So, sunflowers depend on many conditions in order to manifest, not just once.
I like to use the word ‘manifestation’ instead of ‘birth,’ and I also like to use it instead of ‘creation.’ In our minds, ‘to create’ also means from nothing something is brought forth. The farmer who grows sunflowers does not create the sunflowers. If you look deeply, you see that the farmer is only one of the conditions that can bring sunflowers into being. There are seeds of sunflowers stored in the barn, there are fields outside where you can plan sunflowers, there are the clouds in the sky to make rain, there are fertilizers, there is sunshine to help the sunflowers to grow. You, the farmer, are not really the creator of the sunflower. You are just one of the conditions. Without you the sunflowers cannot manifest. But the same is true of other conditions. All are equally important to the manifestation of the sunflower.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh (No Death, No Fear, pp 87-88)
“Nothing can exist by itself alone. It has to depend on every other thing. That is called inter-being. … Looking deeply into a flower, we see that the flower is made of non-flower elements. We can describe the flower as being full of everything. There is nothing that is not present in the flower. We see sunshine, we see the rain, we see clouds, we see the earth, and we also see time and space in the flower. A flower, like everything else, is made entirely of non-flower elements. The whole cosmos has come together in order to help the flower manifest itself. The flower is full of everything except one thing: a separate self, a separate identity.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear, pp 47-48)
Thousands of tree-bodies and mine.
Leaves are waving,
ears hear the stream’s call,
eyes see into the sky of mind,
a half-smile unfolds on every leaf.
There is a forest here
because I am here.
But mind has followed the forest
and clothed itself in green. ~Thich Nhat Hanh*
May Peace Prevail On Earth
*cited: Thich Nhat Hanh, The Sun My Heart