Birth of a Banyan Tree [Respect
upon a time, there was a big banyan tree in the forest
beneath the mighty Himalayas. Living near this banyan
tree were three very good friends. They were a quail,
a monkey and an elephant. Each of them was quite smart.
the three friends got into a disagreement. When this happened,
they did not consider the opinion of any one of them to
be more valuable. No matter how much experience each one
had, his opinion was treated the same as the others. So
it took them a long time to reach an agreement. Every
time this happened, they had to start from the beginning
to reach a solution.
a while they realized that it would save time, and help
their friendship, if they could shorten their disagreements.
They decided that it would certainly help if they considered
the most valuable opinion first. Then, if they could agree
on that one, they would not have to waste time, and possibly
even become less friendly, by arguing about the other
they all thought the most valuable opinion was the one
based on the most experience. Therefore, they could live
together even more peacefully if they gave higher respect
to the oldest among them. Only if his opinion were clearly
wrong, would they need to consider others.
the elephant and the monkey and the quail had no idea
which one was the oldest. Since this was a time before
old age was respected, they had no reason to remember
their birthdays or their ages.
one day, while they were relaxing in the shade of the
big banyan tree, the quail and the monkey asked the elephant,
"As far back as you can remember, what was the size
of this banyan tree?"
elephant replied, "I remember this tree for a very
long time. When I was just a little baby, I used to scratch
my belly by rubbing it over the tender shoots on top of
this banyan tree."
the monkey said, "When I was a curious baby monkey,
I used to sit and examine the little seedling banyan tree.
Sometimes I used to bend over and nibble its top tender
monkey and the elephant asked the quail, "As far
back as you can remember, what was the size of this banyan
quail said, "When I was young, I was looking for
food in a nearby forest. In that forest, there was a big
old banyan tree, which was full of ripe berries. I ate
some of those berries, and the next day I was standing
right here. This was where I let my droppings fall, and
the seeds they contained grew up to be this very tree!"
monkey and the elephant said, "Aha! Sir quail, you
must be the oldest. You deserve our respect and honor.
From now on we will pay close attention to your words.
Based on your wisdom and experience, advise us when we
make mistakes. When there are disagreements, we will give
the highest place to your opinion. We ask only that you
be honest and just."
quail replied, "I thank you for your respect, and
I promise to always do my best to deserve it." It
just so happened that this wise little quail was the Bodhisatta
the Enlightenment Being.
moral is: Respect for the wisdom of elders leads