Tao of a useless tree


useless tree -
too old to move,
I just sit here


A TREE story from Chuang Tzu

A certain carpenter was traveling with his helper. They came to a town where a giant oak tree filled the square. It was huge, with many limbs spreading out; large enough to shade a hundred oxen and its shade covered the entire square. The helper was amazed at the potential lumber contained in this one tree but the carpenter passed it by with a mere glance. When his helper asked him why he had passed up such a magnificent specimen the carpenter replied that he could see at once that the great oak's branches were useless to him.

"They are so hard," he said, "that were I to take my ax to them it would split. The wood is so heavy that a boat made of it would sink. The branches themselves are so gnarled and twisted they cannot be made into plants. If I tried to fashion house beams with it they would collapse. If I made a coffin from it you would not be able to fit someone inside.
Altogether it is a completely useless tree.
And that is the secret of its long life."

Chuang Tzu
in Tales from the Tao: Inspirational Teachings from the Great Taoist Masters
by Solala Towler

Practicing Spirituality with Taoists


ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo

From my Haiku Archives

Trees, my best friends .. 巨木

Camphor Tree Kusunoki 楠木 くすのき

. World Kigo Database .


Please send me your contributions

To the Daruma Museum Index

To the World Kigo Database


Anonymous said...

What an interesting story, and the moral behind it! Thank you for sharing this!

I have saved your site in my Favourites file, and one of these days I will add my ku ...

. Gabi Greve said...

dust house dust
dust mites
tears and sniffles

isa in istanbul


Thanks Isa, very much like old ISSA himself !



Narayanan Raghunathan said...

useless tree ~
still it is all
Tao, Mu, Om

. Gabi Greve said...

At September 17, 2006, Narayanan Raghunathan said...

fallen oak
decaying ~ a new
oak sprouts on it


Thanks for visiting this old tree, Narayanan san !