Simile of Herbs

Link to animated Rain of the Dharma page
Click on image to see animated rain of the dharma

“Kasyapa! Suppose the various trees and grasses of the one thousand million Sumeru-worlds including herbs growing in the thickets, forests, mountains, ravines and valleys, on the ground, and by the rivers, all these plants being different in names and forms, were covered with a dark cloud, and then watered by a rainfall at the same time. The small, middle and large roots, stems, branches and leaves of the trees and grasses including herbs growing in the thickets and forests were watered. So were the tall and short trees, whether they were superior or middle or inferior. Those plants were given more or less water by the same rain from the same cloud, and grew differently according to their species. They obtained different flowers and fruits although they grew on the same ground and received water from the same rain.

“Kasyapa, know this! I, the Tathagata, am like the cloud. I appeared in this world just as the large cloud rose. I expounded the Dharma to gods, men and asuras of the world with a loud voice just as the large cloud covered all the one thousand million Sumeru-worlds.

And in gathas:

Kasyapa, know this!
Suppose a large cloud rose in the sky,
And covered everything on the earth.
The cloud was so merciful
That it was about to send a rainfall.
Lightning flashed,
And thunder crashed in the distance,
Causing people to rejoice.

The cloud covered the sun,
And cooled the earth.
It hung down
As low as if we could reach it.

Now the rain came down
To all the quarters of the earth.
The rainwater was immeasurable.
It soaked all the earth.
There were many plants
In the retired and quiet places
Of the mountains, rivers and ravines.

They were herbs, cereal-plants, young rice-plants,
Vegetables, sugar canes, and other grasses;
Fruit-trees including vines,
And other trees, tall and short.
They were sufficiently watered by the rain.
So were all the dry lands.
The herbs and trees grew thick by the rain.

All the grasses and trees in thickets and forests
Were watered variously according to their species
By the rain water of the same taste
Coming down from the [same] cloud.

All the trees grew differently
According to their species.
They became superior or middle or inferior
Or tall or short trees.

The roots, trunks, branches, leaves,
Flowers and fruits of the various trees
Were given a fine and glossy luster
By the same rain.

Although watered by the same rain,
Some of them were tall, while others not,
Because they were different
In their entities, appearances and natures.

I am like the cloud.
I appeared in this world
Just as the large cloud covered
Everything on the earth.

On the Journey to a Place of Treasures