The Indian Tree

A learned man once said, for the sake of saying something,
“There is a tree

in India. If you eat the fruit of that tree, you’ll never grow
old and never die.”

Stories about “the tree” were passed around, and finally
a king sent out his envoy

to India to look for it. People laughed at the man. They
slapped him on the back

and called out, “Sir, I know where your tree is, but it’s far
in the jungle and you’ll need

a ladder!” He kept traveling, following such directions and
feeling foolish, for years.

He was about to return to the king when he met a wise man.
“Great teacher, show me

some kindness in the search for the tree.” My son, this is
not an actual tree,

though it’s been called that. Sometimes it’s called a sun,
sometimes an ocean, or

cloud. These words point to the wisdom that comes through
a true human being, which

may have many effects, the least of which is eternal life!
In the same way one

person can be a father to you and a son to someone else,
uncle to another and nephew

to yet another, so what you are looking for has many names,
and one existence. Don’t

search for one of the names. Move beyond any attachment
to names.” Every war

and every conflict between human beings has happened because
of some disagreement about

names. It’s such unnecessary foolishness, because just
beyond the arguing there’s a long

table of companionship, set and waiting for us to sit down.