CHAPTER IV: FLOWERS
Only a skillful flower arranger knows how to select from all the beautiful flowers the very best for their arrangements. But who can rightfully discern the choice flower of the Dharma from all the other tantalizing flowers that the world has to offer?
The learner who has dedicated themselves to this training will rightfully discern, as the flower arranger. The learner on this path will spot the correct Dharma teachings, it stands out among the others as plain as day to them, but to the rest it remains obscured and hidden.
Having learned that this body is as temporary as the foam produced by the waters, that it offers no more substance than a mirage, the learner has moved beyond the reach of the temptations and traps which ensnare.
The pleasures of the world are like beautiful flowers in the forest, one could become so absorbed in collecting them that they forget to stay alert of the dangers that are present, being easily swept into their downfall as a flood sweeps away a sleeping village.
The person immersed in gathering pleasures drowns in their own insatiable thirst, never satisfied, always reaching for the next and greater sensation.
As a bee travels from one type of flower to another, bringing out the honey but leaving each flowers own unique fragrance and color intact, so should a sage bring out the good in each village or person they meet without altering their uniqueness.
While working to bring out the good pay no attention the faults of others, or what they have haven’t done; instead, pay attention to your own faults and your own inactions.
For even a beautiful flower, full of color, but without scent is worthless, as worthless as your eloquent words if only spoken but never lived out personally.
But a beautiful flower, full of color, and full of scent is a joy to others, like one whose good words matches their own good deeds.
One may look at a heap of flowers, cut down and consider them futile, knowing they will soon wither and die, but a skillful flower arranger knows they can use the time they have left to make beautiful garlands. Just so, your own life is mortal and fleeting but you can still do many skillful things.
The scent of a flower cannot travel against the wind, not even the strongest incense or perfume can. But the fragrance of a person of virtue will spread to the ends of the earth, regardless of how the wind blows.
The aroma of flowers, incense or perfumes can be excellent, but the aroma of virtue surpasses them all.
Compared to virtue, whose scent reaches up to the heavens, even the strongest incense becomes nothing.
Living life as a fragrance, the virtuous have no body or home to be found in by their enemies, like a vapor they cannot be grasped by their snares, for they dwell in mindfulness and are freed by right understanding.
Every once in a while a beautiful flower sprouts forth out the piles of trash heaped on the sides of the road, and when it does it dazzles us all. Just so, you, the disciple of the Buddha have risen out of the heap, distinguishing yourself as a light to those still blind and bound to the limitations of this world.
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