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THE EARTH AND THE TREE
DAICH GARY ROBINSON


Yesterday I noticed that the tree on the other side of my lounge room window had let go of its last russet leaf, and then today, beneath that same tree, I see that a few daffodils have broken surface and begun to bloom. The passing seasons seem to be endless yet equally fleeting; gaudy and discreet, sturdy yet fragile. Simply Wondrous! We are truly fortunate to be born as human beings, but we should also try to remember that everything that we can hear, touch, smell and see all around us is not a show being put on for our benefit or entertainment; we are intrinsically involved in it and accordingly we are subject to the same process of diminishment, decay and death. Demise is fact of life, but if nature is anything to go by, so is regeneration and renewal.

There is a phrase used to try to explain the Taoist theory or process of Wu Wei; a relationship interpreted as being of 'mutual benefit' or one where there is 'no victor and no vanquished'. That phrase is, "The tree does not own the earth that it stands in - and the earth does not own the tree that stands in it". It does seem to me that too many of us humans can see no further than the end of our own noses and think much more about taking from both nature and our fellow human beings than giving; regarding the diminishment of 'mine' as a loss.

Rennyo Shonin, the second founder of Jodo Shinshu suggested that if our religious practice requires an object to venerate that image should be a simple 'myogo', that is "Namu Amida Butsu" written in ink on paper. Why? Rennyo Shonin had observed that those that owned costly gilded statues of Amida Buddha believed that their wealth could 'buy' them a place in Amida's Pure Land … and worse still, that their wealth and privileged position would go with. Nobody 'owns' the Pure Land and as far as I understand it, those that live a life of giving with no expectation of receiving that will be welcomed with open arms to the Pure Land. The giving is the receiving.


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