Editorials by Sangharakshita

 
 

Meditation Upon Water

This editorial first appeared in The Maha Bodhi, December 1958

Whence comes the water that gives life to the Earth and without which man would die? Does it not come from the sea? And whence came the sea? We are told the sea was formed by the rising vapour from the ball of fire that was later to cool down until it gave birth to plants and animals and men. How many aeons this took is unknown, for the Earth must have been at a temperature inconceivable when it first swung into its orbit and encircled the sun. And many aeons must have passed ere it was sufficiently cooled for the water vapour to cease to rise and fall and rise again, and by then the deep crevasses and great basins were filled to form the oceans and the seas. And after that time, yet many more aeons have passed while the Earth has still been engaged in the conquest of her own past history, in the effort to stabilise herself and achieve an equability of temperature so that the winds, as they pass over the waters, may carry away just so much and no more of the vapours to drop them again in gentle showers upon the land.

But Nature is not yet completely subdued, for floods, typhoons and tidal waves burst the bonds of her restraint and wreak havoc and destruction and again subside and all is calm.

And this pattern of Nature is reflected in Man. In childhood there is no self-restraint, passions burst forth and evaporate as quickly. Slowly, by external discipline first, self-discipline is learned and the adolescent knows when it is wiser and safer to restrain himself. But the adult, if he is to develop in spirit, must, as years bring wisdom, practise that self-discipline for its own sake, until he no longer emulates the oceans and the seas, showing now a sparkling calm, now a raging tempest, now a mild swell of irritation and again a calm, when the sun is shining and all is well. It is for him to prevent the waves of passion rising, however hard the winds of adversity may blow, however loud the thunder roars; to maintain that calm, blue surface on which the sun sparkles and which makes all who see it feel the beauty and goodness of Nature, where savagery and violence have no place, and which bears up the craft that ride upon it safely to their havens.