“From a bud, only a promise.
Then a gentle opening:
Rich blooming, bursting fragrance,
The fulfillment of the center.

True beauty comes from within. Take a flower as an example. In the beginning it is only a bud. It does not yet show its loveliness to the world, it does not attract butterflies or bees, and it cannot yet become fruit. Only when it opens is beauty revealed in its center. There is the focus of its exquisiteness, there is the source of its aroma, there is its sweet nectar. In the same way, our own unique beauty comes from within.

Our glory has nothing to do with our appearance or our occupation. Our special qualities come from an inner source. We must take care to open and bloom naturally and leisurely and keep to the center. It is from there that all mystery and power comes, and it is good to let it unfold in its own time.

Just as a flower goes through stages––bud, open, bloom, pollinate, wither, fruit, fall––each of us will go through the obvious stages of birth to death. We aren’t of a single character throughout our lives. We change and grow. Our identities unfold and bloom. Unless we attain the center and keep to our progressions, we cannot ever reach true independence in our lives.”

~Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao (Harper-Collins, 1992), p. 123