When the tree died, she continued as a violin, a chopping board, and a floorboard.
At first the violin was very content. She felt grateful for the skill, care, and love with which she had been crafted.
But, over time, the violin started to feel a little haughty. She looked down on the chopping board and floorboard and said, “When I sing, I can touch the hearts of a thousand people in a packed auditorium! Dear chopping board, all you can do is give a few people the fleeting pleasure of a tasty meal, and, as for you, floorboard, how can you let people walk all over you?”
The violinist, hearing this, decided to have a quiet word with the violin.
“Dear violin, how could there even be an auditorium without floorboards? Where would the people sit, and where would I stand to play you? If I had nothing to eat, if there was no chopping board, how would I have the energy to play you? Your song certainly is beautiful, yet it wouldn’t be possible without help from all your sisters and brothers. You all come from the same tree—a tree born of seed, soil, water, and sunlight.”
Reflecting on this, the violin felt more connected with her sisters.
The next time she played there was something different about it. The violin sang out in such a way as to touch the sunlight in the floorboards, in the chopping board and in herself. Music full of sunlight filled the auditorium and there was such a sense of peace and harmony that the audience was moved to tears.
Those tears evaporated to become clouds and rain. They watered the young saplings of the forest, and, at nature’s pace, the next generation of trees, rooted firmly in the earth, reached up towards the sky.
Peter Smith practices with Wild Geese Sangha in Edinburgh, Scotland.