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The Buddha And Trees II

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some of the most beautiful passages in Buddhist literature relate to trees. The Buddha said of a kindly hospitable person that he was `like a great banyan tree growing on the side of roads that welcomes weary travelers with its cool shade and soothes their tiredness' (Ja.VI,526). The Milindapanha says that the diligent disciple should try to be like a tree. `As a tree makes no distinction in the shade it gives, like this, the meditator should make no distinction between any beings, but develop love equally to thieves, murderers, enemies and to himself or herself.' (Mil.410). The general Buddhist attitude of respect for trees is expressed in these words from the Jataka. `Of the tree in whose shade one sits or lies, not a branch of it should he break, for if he did he would be a betrayer of a friend, an evil doer...of the tree in whose shade one sits or lies, not a leaf of it should he injure, for if he did he would be a betrayer of a friend, an evildoer.' (Ja.V,203). The Buddhacarita compares spiritual practice to a tree `whose fibers are patience, whose flowers are virtue, whose boughs are awareness and wisdom, which is rooted in resolution and which bears the fruit of Dhamma.' The Mahavastu says: `The meritorious person grows like a banyan tree, while the person of little merit becomes stunted like a tree planted in the roadway.' In his Bodhicariyavatara, the poet Santideva wrote of his pining for the peace of the forest life in these words: `The trees do not speak harsh words nor do they try to please by artifice. When shall I have the opportunity to dwell with those happy to live with the trees?'
Original posted at: http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/2010/08/buddha-and-trees-ii.html 

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