Coconut Tree and Olive Tree

There is a teaching in our temple rules:

The Great Way is not difficult. 
Simply do not pick and choose.
Salt is salty. Sugar is sweet.

Zen Master Seung Sahn said, "There are two kinds of work: inside work and outside work. Inside work is keeping clear mind. Outside work is cutting off selfish desire and helping others."

A rich forest is composed of many species of trees and plants. Each species will follow the nature of its life cycle. They just do their job without any discrimination. Coconut tree has coconut tree function and contribution. Olive tree has olive tree function and contribution. They never compare themselves with each other. They only perform the function from their true nature. They also never tell the world "I" did this -- why do you not act like me? Different species of trees harmoniously grow according to their environment and will not hate, be jealous of, become angry, or compare themselves with other plants and trees.

The whole world enjoys the juice, flesh, and even skin of the coconut. Same as the olive tree: it’s wood, olive and oil -- it just grows and helps our human life and health. The plant world and nature teach us the correct attitude with which to live in this world of conflicts. They teach us the nature of doing their jobs. They never refuse to do their jobs. If each individual just tries their best to do their job like the coconut tree and olive tree, then even though we are not from the same race or of the same opinion, this world will receive the benefits of our work and contributions.

Let us generate this correct attitude in our everyday life with joy and peace rather than blaming each other and holding onto differences in our performances. Having one more person who lives a life of peace is better than having one more person who lives a life of blaming and hatred. Let us respect each other's differences and gently turn suffering into happiness and wisdom.

Lastly, I share a teaching from our great teacher Zen Master Seung Sahn as a blessing for this Year of the Rat:

Very soft is true strength
Harmony brings happiness

May you enjoy a year of clarity with ease. Wishing you all prosperity and health in the Year of the Rat!

Zen Master Dae Kwan