during my meditation course, many stories were told. stories from folklore, sacred texts or passed down from generations past.
one such story, on the day we listened to the discourse on wholesome actions, was the following:
seed and fruit
as the cause is, so the effect will be. as the seed is, so the fruit will be. as the action is, so the result will be.
in the same soil a farmer plants two seeds: one a seed of sugar cane, the other a seed of neem tree, a tropical tree which is very bitter. two seeds in the same earth, receiving the same water, the same sunshine, the same air; nature gives the same nourishment to both. two tiny plants emerge and start growing. and what has happened to the neem tree? it has developed with bitterness in every fibre, while the sugar cane has developed with every fibre of it sweet. why is nature, or, if you prefer, why is God so kind to one and so cruel to the other?
no, no, nature is neither cruel nor kind. it works according to fixed laws. nature only helps the quality of the seed to manifest. all the nourishment merely helps the seed to reveal the quality that is latent within itself. the seed of the sugar cane has the quality of sweetness; therefore the plant will have nothing but sweetness. the seed of the neem tree has the quality of bitterness; the plant will have nothing but bitterness. as the seed is, so the fruit will be.
the farmer goes to the neem tree, bows down three times, walks around it 108 times, and then offers flowers, incense, candles, fruit and sweets. and then he starts praying. "oh neem god, please give me sweet mangoes, i want sweet mangoes!". poor neem god, he cannot give them, he has no power to do so. if someone wants sweet mangoes, he ought to plant a seed of a mango tree. then he need not cry and beg for help from anyone. the fruit that he will get will be nothing but sweet mangoes. as the seed is, so the fruit shall be.
our difficulty, our ignorance is that we remain unheedful while planting seeds. we keep planting seeds of neem, but when the time comes for fruit we are suddenly alert, we want sweet mangoes. and we keep crying and praying and hoping for mangoes. this doesn't work.
so here's to me planting sweet mangoes as often as i can.