As so happens with zen, small chance encounters with
people, books, bamboos striking bamboo poles etc. can lead to a deeper
understanding. In relation to the 'mountains are mountains, water is
water' quote, I like the story I heard about an American practicioner
who came to Japan and sat thru a lecture about reality/illusion given
by the temple's roshi. Admitting his confusion afterwards, the American
asked for some clarification. The roshi explained that at first
mountains are mountains, water is water. Then after some sometime
studying Zen, mountains are no longer mountains , water is not water.
Finally, after satori, mountains are mountains, water is water again.
The student said that he could understand the first two lines but not
the third, so the roshi said, "Mountains are mountains, water is water". Seeing
the student's still confused expression the roshi elaborated, "Mountains are
mountains, water is water".