She still stands strong
Jeff Davis County, Georgia
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Whoever fails to keep the things of the monastery clean or treats them carelessly should be reproved.
*A Reader's Version of the Rule of Saint Benedict in Inclusive Language. Ed. and Adapt., Sister Marilyn Schauble & Barbara Wojciak.
A follower entered the prayer room to join others for the evening talk. He let the door slam behind him. The Sage arose and strolled to the door. He opened the door and stepped slightly outside. He turned around to enter the room again, quietly closing the door. After sitting down, he said, "How you close a door says a lot about you. So, close it as you wish to be. In the Way, how you treat everything is important."
*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
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The Rinzai Zen Teacher Bankei (Japan, b. 1622) erected the temple Kaiganji on the site of a deserted one. When clearing the area, an old pine tree was blocking construction. Everyone wanted to remove it. Bankei said, "The temple can be set up again [elsewhere, but] this old tree did not easily grow so tall and wide. Let it live; don't cut it down!"
*Story in Peter Haskel. Bankei Zen: Translations from The Record of Bankei. Ed. Yoshito Hakeda.
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Bankei honors an elder - the pine tree. It, to him, merited the respect to be left alone, where it had grown through many seasons. Beyond honor and respect, we can say Bankei reverenced the pine tree.
What allowed Bankei to see the pine tree differently than others saw it? Can we have the same respect for other beings - including trees and persons of a race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or spiritual path different than ours? Does a tree deserve less respect than you? Can we see other life forms as teachers? Elders? Friends? Family? What does it mean to you that we are as we treat other beings? How might changing how we handle so-called inanimate things facilitate our spiritual well-being?
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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2023.
*Use of photography is allowed accompanied by credit given to Brian K. Wilcox and title and place of photograph.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.