The Plum Tree

By Sister Trang Moi Len mb57-ThePlumTree1

On a warm and beautiful spring morning, nature is cheerful, with birds singing a happy welcome to the sun that is somewhat shy on the eastern horizon. Flowers awaken from their sleep, and their petals start to bloom when the warm sunshine greets them. Dewdrops freshen the blades of grass, which sway beautifully.

A beautiful plum tree stretches her branches when the wind gently blows against her, as if to say “Good morning!” In her branches there are not just two or three but thousands of flowers. Bees are very happy as they dance and sing among the flowers of the plum tree. And the plum tree also sings and dances with the bees. All the people who see the plum tree stop to admire it; they breathe in mindfulness, and their joy waters the seeds of compassion and love in the plum tree.

The plum tree is always smiling and joyful because she has all the happiness she needs. She enjoys every happy moment. The love and compassion that she receives gives her spirit energy to endure a day that is full of challenges.

Until one day, when her petals start to fall. The plum tree is very sad and asks the flowers not to leave her, because without the flowers the bees will sing and dance no more and people will not stop to enjoy her beauty. The plum tree fears she will feel alone and people will no longer give her love and compassion. The plum tree does everything she can to keep the flowers from falling ... but they just keep falling. The flowers are also very sad. They do not want to leave the plum tree, and they try to make her feel better by promising to come back again.

s the days pass, the plum tree becomes very sad and cries a lot, asking herself why the petals had to fall away and why the flowers could not stay forever. When the warm sunshine comes and the green leaves dance on her branches and the wind says hello to her, she tries her best to welcome them and enjoy their presence. But when the sun sets, the leaves fall asleep, and the wind says goodbye, she is sad again. She hopes the flowers will come back and make her beautiful so that she can be happy again.

Day after day, the plum tree smiles insincerely until one day a few children come close to play. They caress her trunk and sit upon her roots. They talk with each other cheerfully as they point to her branches. The plum tree didn’t realize until that moment that her leaves were wonderfully shady and that the flowers she grieved for had transformed into a sweet fruit. The plum tree smiles lovingly as she greets the leaves and fruit upon her branches. Aware of the beauty of the fruit upon her, she realizes that the flowers never left her, that the flowers are always with her, only now they have manifested in the form of sweet fruit. She realizes that the flowers were impermanent and, thanks to this impermanence, the fruit that she now bears has had a chance to manifest in the plum tree’s life. If the petals had not fallen, there would be no fruit present in her.

After this realization, the plum tree understands that the leaves, flowers, and fruit are not separate from her: they inter-are with her. All things that come and go throughout life offer beauty, if only we can open our eyes and hearts to see it.

mb57-ThePlumTree2Sister Trang Moi Len, True Rising Moon, lives in the New Hamlet of Plum Village. Before being ordained in Plum Village, she practiced with Bamboo Raft Sangha in Indonesia.

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