So we were doing walking meditation outdoors (it’s warm where I live) during the retreat last weekend. There are a lot of leaves on the ground. Some of them are brown and dry, and some are still green and fresh.
Where does a leaf come from? It comes from a tree. Where does a tree come from? It comes from a seed. Where does a seed come from? It comes from a tree. All things are present in one. (There’s a story where the Buddha asks someone to look at a pottery bowl and see fire, water, air, and earth. Yes, and also the potter who made the bowl.)
The life of a leaf is very short, less than one year. It appears first as a tiny bud and then grows out to a much, much bigger size. One day it falls off the tree. Eventually it crumbles away. But is it gone? Matter is neither created nor destroyed. This is Buddhism 101. One day, in one instant, when you are really and fully present, you can see the whole universe in a crumbling dry leaf on the ground.