Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Human Experience as Farmyard

This was taken from an article in Tricycle, a Buddhist magazine. The metaphor of having faith in a "seed" is a well-known one. The seed has everything it takes to grow into a strong plant when nurtured and trusted to do so. (i.e. not digging it up every day or two to see if it really knows how to grow."

• • •

Buying ourselves completely out of slavery (suffering) is like farming land so that it can bear abundant fruit. 

When the mind is pure and the body soothed, it’s as if our farm has plenty of sun, rain and groundwater to nourish our crops. 

Our concentration is solid and enters the first stage of absorption, with its five factors: directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, and singleness of preoccupation. 

Directed thought is like harrowing our soil. 

Evaluation is like plowing and scattering the seed. 

Rapture is when our crops begin to bud, pleasure is when their flowers bloom

Singleness of preoccupation is when the fruits develop until they’re ripened and sweet—and at the same time, their seeds contain all their ancestry. 

What this means is that in each seed is another plant complete with branches, flowers, and leaves. If anyone plants the seed, it will break out into another plant just like the one it came from. 

When we practice in this way, we’ll come to the reality of birthlessness and deathlessness—the highest happiness—and on into liberation.

• • •

I first came across this idea in a children's picture book called The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss. It also caught my attention because it was published in the year of my birth 1945. 

The Carrot Seed
By Ruth Krauss

A little boy planted a carrot seed.
His mother said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”
His father said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”
And his big brother said, “It won’t come up.”
Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed
and sprinkled the ground with water.
But nothing came up.
And nothing came up.
Everyone kept saying it wouldn't come up.
But he still pulled up the weeds around it every day.
And sprinkled the ground with water.
And then one day
A carrot came up.
Just as the little boy had known it would.

“Tricycle Teachings: Refuge.” Tricycle Magainze, 2015-05-18
The Carrot Seed By Ruth Krauss. Public domain. 1945.

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