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  • Writer's pictureSam Baker

When a fish swims

When a fish swims, he swims on and on, and there is no end to the water. When a

bird flies, he flies on and on, and there is no end to the sky. From the most

ancient times there was never a fish who swam out of the water, not a bird who

flew out of the sky. Yet when the fish needs just a little water, he uses just a

little; and when he needs lots he uses lots. Thus the tips of their heads are

always at the outer edge (of their space). If ever a bird flies beyond that edge

he dies, and so also with the fish. From water the fish makes his life, and from

the, the bird. But this life is made by the and the fish. At the same time, the

bird and the fish are made by life. Thus there are the fish, the water, and

life, and all three create each other.

Yet if there were a bird who first wanted to examine the size of the sky, or a

fish who first wanted to examine the extent of the water and then try to fly or

swim, they will never find their own ways in the sky or water.

-from the Shobogenzo


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