Don’t Lose One Grain of Rice


History of rice cultivation


Rice is a staple.

A staple is an important part of something like a thin piece of wire that holds two or more things together. It is an essential food. Rice holds body and soul together for over half the global population.

Rice is not to be snubbed. It is important.

When we are encouraged not to lose even one grain of rice we are being nudged to look after a staple that holds millions of lives together around the world. This is a material fact making rice an essential ingredient of keeping many alive. 

In Zen Buddhism the teachings are pointing to both body and mind with the Mind being in the lead. If we consider this teaching as significant as that apple that klunked the head of Newton awakening in him the knowledge of gravity. What would we awaken to in finding and losing one grain of rice? 

At the very least, our attitude about the teaching takes on the importance of endless possibilities. I say endless possibilities because we are all contemplating or not contemplating things in the mind. It may, for example, when a grain of uncooked rice skitters away on the kitchen counter that we realize we have been far away in a dream or a wish in the mind. The wayward grain may awaken us to being in the kitchen, preparing rice to give to others as well as to our own bodies. It may, as another example, when a grain of cooked rice is stirred that we realize that cooking changes the grain of rice in such a way that it no longer is separate and no longer able to skitter off by itself. 

How do we get cooked up with the Supreme Self?

To Reach One Thing is To Reach All Things. It is the All-Things-Realization. Nothing is left out; one grain of rice found, one grain of rice lost. 

The grain of rice, whether we take care not to lose it or take care to find it, is realization. The smallness or bigness of a thing is not the measure of realization. The grain of rice, whether lost or found, contains the whole shebang. The activity of losing and finding is the Way.

There are many, many more discoveries to awaken us when our attitude about a teaching is important to us. When we know all things, even a grain of rice, comes to awaken us to the immeasurable, immutable and ineffable Way Seeking Mind. We see through to the underlying, invisible discovery that is always there in all things. 


When we know this, rice is more than a staple, it is a spiritual gift.


Humming Bird


Author: FaShi Lao Yue

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Don’t Lose One Grain of Rice. It is a teaching  from a sutra by a 12th century Zen Master, Dogen. The complete sutra can be found in this Practice Book on page 64: The Tenzo’s Prayer

For those who drink beer – keep reading.
The brewing company Anheuser-Busch is the largest purchaser of U.S. rice, buying about 8% of the annual crop. The brewing giant owns its own rice mills in Arkansas and California. Budweiser, its most popular beer brand, uses rice as an adjunct. Rice and corn flour are used in other Anheuser-Busch beers. Coors is also a rice-based beer.

NEW! NEW! NEW! Watch a Short, Short….Read a Short, Short

Every time we act, we practice and we cannot help but act which means we are always practicing. This realization is priceless for the spiritual adept. Everything becomes worship and we become devotees adoring the Divine morning, noon, and night. Let me offer an example.

In our household we wash the dishes by hand in the kitchen sinks, one side for washing, the other for rinsing and stacking. Recently we switched to a new eco-friendly dish detergent which lacks both the aromatic scents of fruits and flowers and does not suds up. There are no foamy bubbles. After many days of noticing my inner longing for the missing scents and the foamy bubbles I decided to read the instructions on the back of the dish soap. Here they are.

TO USE: A little goes along way. Squirt a quarter-size drop of formula on sponge and wash dishes. Increase amount for heavy grease. Works beautifully as a hand soap, too.

The instructions are delightfully clear and precise. An instruction of how to use beginning with an axiom for life, a little goes along way. Much of the time, much wants more. Remember I came to read the instructions from a place of wanting the missing scents and foamy bubbles.

The direction on the dish soap went on to offer me a common image of how much is really needed to wash the dishes, a squirt the size of a quarter. And under certain conditions, i.e., heavy grease, I was directed to increase the amount. These instructions indicated that the squirt the size of a quarter was to be put on a sponge and was not to go into a sink full of water. How about that? Don’t dump the dish soap in the water put a squirt on a sponge. Remarkable! It makes sense. I need less soap on a sponge than in a sink full of water especially if I want those soapy bubbles. I’ll need to dump in a lot more soap than a squirt to get what I want in my mind’s eye. But when I am not attached to what shows up in my mind I am able to let it go and learn to follow instruction.

Reading and following the instructions on the soap bottle gave life to the axiom; a little goes a long way. This example is an act of humility and devotion at the altar in the kitchen called the sink. Learning and an open willingness to learn and change is a mark of humility. It requires a capacity to attend to what is at hand which includes attending to the instructions.

Everything, the simple daily acts of life and the more difficult, extraordinary arduous acts are the stuff of our worship. There is no special work that is better than or less than another. The hierarchy of the material world does not apply to the heavenly realms. Everything we do is our spiritual work. There is never a time when we veer off the path of spiritual awakening and take a rest from it. There are no hideouts because even in a vain attempt to hideout the requirements are the same: attention and the need for instruction; an open willingness to learn; humility.

To learn watch this 3 minute video on Everything Comes to Awaken Us by Lao di Zhi













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Humming Bird