Zen Word for Better Communication #5 一水四見 Issui-shiken

“One water, four views”

Everything exists according to the mind of the beholder.

What humans see as water, fish see as their path and home. Also, what appears to a celestial being as earth made of jewels appears to a hungry demon in hell as a river filled with pus.

In this way, the phrase “one water, four views” indicates that the same water can be seen in various ways depending on who is looking at it.

The situation changes depending on how we perceive something, whether we see it positively or negatively.

Everything that happens to us, encounters, and things that happen to us, are all “Issui-shiken.” Don’t stick in own single view. Remember that the same thing can look different depending on how we look at it or on one’s position.

Sometimes we come into conflict with others because of differences of opinion. I believe that we can narrow the distance by considering why the other person thinks such a way and trying to see things in the same way, without making preconceived judgements. – K. Kato