One thing I love about writing ByChanceBuddhism is that I am constantly inspired by readers and their comments. My last post (also inspired by a reader's comment) was about the tendency for many of us to define ourselves with labels, sometimes with unfortunate results, i.e. relationships/perceptions based on assumptions and superficiality. In his response to this post, one reader summed it all up in an eloquent metaphor about a mango tree. As a botanist, I must say that this comparison hit a special chord with me, so I am excited to share it with you!
The comment went something like this:
". . . For example, when I go to the park, I look at a mango tree and I know it is a mango tree because I love to eat mangos. But that's about it. In truth, I don't know anything about the tree that produces the mango, but I know and understand only the fruit. But since I know this tree produces mango and I know its name, I assume I know everything. The label "mango tree" stops me from understanding and knowing the tree.
The tree is a totally different story, for it has a life force of its own. Deep within, the tree radiates life that if we were to sit or meditate under it, then we can feel its pulse. The tree is alive, so why do we not enjoy its presence, but instead choose to stop at the word "mango tree"?"
So indeed, why do/should we stop at the words Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, agnostic, conservative, liberal when considering another human being? Although some labels can be useful, we must be careful in attaching them to ourselves, and distinguish the label from the human being as we try to relate to others.
The comment above was from xenusfreeman from over at www.powerfulintentions.org Please check out his page here. With that, I will leave you to ponder the "life force" behind the words "mango tree" with these pics that I took years ago in Florida :)
I hope you've enjoyed this post and pics! As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below.
May all beings be happy!