When living creatures come into contact with Divine Light, three kinds of defilements disappear in them. Their bodies and minds become supple and gentle. They become full of joy and enthusiasm, just like a butterfly that has descended on a pollen filled-flower. 🙂
There is a legend, one of many from the Native American achieves, that if you want your wishes to come true, first you must capture a butterfly in your hands, cradle it gently not to harm it, whisper your wish, then let it go. Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly can not reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.
In appreciation for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom back, the Great Spirit will grant your wish.
Taken this summer in Kent,England, at the butterfly sanctuary
Photo of caterpillar taken by the roadside in France on the journey to England…
Probably the most well-known Butterfly Parable from the Zen Tradition.
The most well-known of Zhuangzi (Chuang-tzu) parables is the Butterfly Dream anecdote, which (in translation by Lin Yutang) goes like this:
Once upon a time, I, Zhuangzi, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Zhuangzi. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction. The transition is called the transformation of material things.
This short story points to a number of interesting and much-explored philosophical issues, stemming from the relationship between the waking-state and the dream-state, and/or between illusion and reality: How do we know when we’re dreaming, and when we’re awake? How do we know if what we’re perceiving is “real” or a mere “illusion” or “fantasy”? Is the “me” of various dream-characters the same as or different from the “me” of my waking world? How do I know, when I experience something I call “waking up” that it is actually a waking up to “reality” as opposed to simply waking up into another level of dream?4