What are the chances to be in the presence of two large and withered leaves falling from the same palm tree to the ground? The sound of the first made me turned my head to check what was going on. The second: it just happened right in front of my eyes -- the falling was so quick that I only caught the last phase of its downward motion.
Both were moments of Chan.
Withered leaves are destined to fall. It is the nature of how trees live: giving up old leaves so the new ones will grow. Yet, these particular two, one following the other within less than 24 hours, fell down also because of a windy day caused by approaching Typhoon Roke. And I was there to experience the moments because I was on my two-day Chan retreat at Zhaiming Monastery.
I even lay down on the ground below these leaves in the last afternoon when they were still attached to the palm tree. While laying down, I looked up to the sky and wondered what if one of the leaves fell down on me. Would I be agile enough to escape a direct impact from the falling leaf? Would it cause any serious damage if I did not escape? All these questions were part of my uncontrollable wild thoughts that I hoped to eliminate during a Chan retreat.
Perhaps having thoughts is also the nature of how we live. The key is to give up old thoughts so the new ones will grow.