Our Responsibilities

"When we practice we’re like a man planting a tree. He goes out and gets a tree, digs a hole, puts the tree in the hole, fills the hole with soil, waters it, gives it fertilizer, and keeps it safe from insects. These are our responsibilities. And that’s the end of our responsibilities. The responsibility  of the tree is to grow. Whether it grows fast or slow, don’t force it. If you force it, you suffer. You plant it and then you think, “Hey. When is it ever going to grow so that I can get some fruit?” As soon as you start complaining, you suffer. Why? Because you don’t understand your responsibilities. You take on the responsibilities of others. You take on the responsibilities of the tree.The tree doesn’t want anyone to take on its responsibilities. It’ll do the work itself. The person has the responsibilities of the person. The owner has the responsibilities of the owner: to keep on watering and fertilizing the tree, to keep on protecting it from insects. That’s our duty. If we do the duty of the tree—“Oho. It’s really taking a long time to grow”—we pull on it to make it tall, to make it grow, and it’ll simply die. That’s not our duty.It’s the same when we practice our precepts well, when we practice concentration well: Discernment will arise. We keep at it gradually, continually, practicing like this, able to think like this, keeping this principle in mind, and we can be at our ease. We and the tree look after each other. The tree will grow healthy and beautiful because we look after it with our practice. As for whether it’ll grow fast or slow, leave that to your merit and perfections. But don’t abandon it. You have to keep on building your perfections all the time."

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