Hello and Greetings Everyone! Living in Southern California you know that in the fall the leaves that are
able to change are. Eventually they will fall to the ground. I often forget this simple lesson of Nature. Do
Give up anger, abandon conceit, and overcome all fetters. Ills of life (dukkha) do not befall one who does not cling to mind and body and is free from moral defilements.Dhammapada Verse 221
For the past two years you might have come to the temple and seen little Bodhi trees appearing in pots
around the temple. I have the great wish to replace the one we received as a gift 6 years ago with one of the propagated clippings that have luckily taken to being potted.
The Bodhi tree was a gift from a Vista member. Being a descendent of the tree that the Buddha became Enlightened under, it was very stressful in the beginning. There were times when it was hard to find a tree sitter when I could not be at the temple to tend to it. “Who wants to be the one to have killed the young tree?” There were times when all the leave changes color and fell off. I would freak out and think I was doing something wrong. I would think “maybe it needs more water?” I would add more water, and even gave it plant food.
The first 2 years with that tree were hard. Eventually I found it was telling me to leave it alone. Let it sit in the sun. I learned to water once or twice a week depending on how damp the soil is and in a heat wave three times. Give it plant food periodically. Prune when needed.
There have been a few clippings that have gone out to our members and have grown. Sometimes they come up to me and say all the leaves fell off and I just say “it happens. They will be back.”
I think about the saying above. Don’t cling to negative feelings, let go of the self, and overcome all fetters or get through all the obstacles holding you back. These things are not meant to last. Just take care. As I look at the tree in front of our temple, it is a symbol of the Buddha and our goal of Enlightenment. It is a reminder that even though it is special, in the end it is still an impermanent object as well. The leaves will fall off. The tree may even die.
We can welcome the Fall leaves and appreciate the beauty of a constantly changing life. As we observe this may our hearts change to know its valuable teaching. Our human selves then give it more value. Our appreciation grows. While we are reminded in our daily lives of anger, ego, and attachments, let us put our hand together in Gassho and let them go. In the saying of Nembutsu together, I hope you can find Happiness and Joy!
In Gratitude and Appreciation,
Rev. Kory Quon