If you read a Sutra in the grass, mow it

The other day, I posted the following on Facebook…

“Every day, priests minutely examine the Law
And endlessly chant complicated sutras.
Before doing that, though, they should learn
How to read the love letters sent by the wind
and rain, the snow and moon.” ~ Ikkyu

I wasn’t quite sure why I was drawn to it, I just liked what it said.

Over the next couple days it kept ringing in my ears.

Recently, I purchased a new (old) $50 ride-on mower from Craigslist. It’s not a pretty mower, not in the least.

There is rust all over it.
The seat is ripped and the inside of it is coming out.
The blade stays engaged at all times, the disengage lever is broken.
The starter is fried, so you have to take a screwdriver and jump it via the contacts under the right rear tire.

But, it runs.
It has multiple gears of speed, and reverse.
More importantly, it cuts the grass.

The grass in my yard had gotten tall. With all the rain we’ve had here in New England, I never got the chance to go out and mow. It was another overcast day, but I had a small break in the rain so I grabbed the screwdriver, jumped the mower, got on it and started mowing.

The rust disappeared, the stuffing coming out of the seat disappeared and all the other ailments the mower has were gone. I was just there, on the seat of the mower cutting the grass.

I could smell the freshness of the newly cut grass. I could see the clear places I had already passed over, and thought of my kids playing. As more and more of it opened up, I saw family and friends tossing around a football or playing baseball out in the sun, noshing on some good cookout food.

I love my new mower, and while it is just a mower, it taught me a lot that day.

Moral: The Dharma can be found anywhere. In the sutras, or on the back of a mower.


  1. I just finished reading this post and I got particularly melancholic of the times wherein the faults I see in something *like the rust and the faulty starter* becomes irrelevant and all that matters is that it works. Things doesn’t have to be perfect, they will never be. And that sometimes we get bothered by the little things that do not actually matter. Thank you for posting this. It helped me realize that we don’t have to stress about the small stuff.

  2. Thank you for this post. It reminded me that during some very difficult months of my life recently, I occasionally would slip out of work early and head home and do yard work. At first the yardwork was an excuse for coming home… and I thought it was leaving work that helped relieve my stress. In time, however, I found that it was watch the grass being cut, and the bush beingtrimed that really relieved me… it wasn’t the escape, it was the beingthere.

    Thanks again for these thoughts!


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