Below is an excerpt from the Lotus Sutra called the Parable of the Herbs. Read the excerpt and in a journal entry give a brief summary and analysis of what this excerpt means. How does this relate to what we have learned about Buddhism, including its branches? What do you think each aspect of nature represents in this excerpt? What is your own response to it?
Excerpt from Chapter 5 of the Lotus Sutra, the parable of the herbs:
That it is as if a great cloud Arises in the world And covers everything. This beneficent cloud contains moisture And bright lightning flashes from it. The sound of its thunder shakes the earth afar And gladdens the people. It conceals the sun And cools the earth. The spreading cloud hangs so low, As if it could be touched. Everywhere, equal, and immeasurable The rain pours down and moistens the earth. Grasses, herbs, large and small trees, All kinds of crops, seedlings, sugarcane, and grapes Growing in the depth of the mountains, In rivers and in precipitous valleys Are all watered and completely nourished by the rain. The dry earth is moistened everywhere And the herbs and trees grow up thickly. Out of this cloud the same rain Waters these grasses, trees, and shrubs Each according to their capacities. All the trees, small, medium, or large Are able to grow in accordance with their capacities. The luster and colors of the roots, stems, Branches, leaves, flowers Are all freshened by the same rain. Each of these, although receiving the same moisture, Reaches a greater or lesser size In accordance with their different Dispositions, characteristics, and natures. The Buddha is exactly like this.