Sunday Morning

One day when Buddha was walking with his disciples he pointed to the ground with his hand and said, “It would be good to erect a sanctuary here.” — Book of Serenity, Case 4

“…One day I ran across a single line in a thick book that made it all simple. It told the original meaning of the word paradise before it became a mythical ideal, imaginary and unattainable. Before it pointed somewhere else. The word paradise originally meant “an enclosed area.” Inside the word are its old Persian roots: pairi-, meaning “around,” and diz, “to create (a wall).” The word was first given to carefully tended pleasure parks and menageries, the sporting ground of kings. Later, storytellers used the word in creation myths, and it came to mean the Eden of peace and plenty. Looking at it straight on, I could plainly see. Paradise is a backyard. Not just my backyard, but everyone’s backyard. Teeming with weeds, leaves, half-dead trees, moles, mosquitoes, mud, dust, skunks, and raccoons. With a novice gardener and a reluctant groundskeeper.

Like the entire world we live in, bounded only by how far we can see. I began to garden. I got scratched, tired, and dirty. I broke my fingernails and ruined my shoes. I yanked out what I could have kept and put in more of what I didn’t need. I pouted and wept, cursing the enormity of the task. I was resentful and unappreciative. But when I ventured afield, sidelined by things that seemed much more entertaining or important, I always came back to this patch of patient earth. Time after time I realized that everything I want or need —the living truth of life, love, beauty, purpose, and peace —is taught to me right here, no farther away than the ground beneath my feet.”

~ Karen Maezen Miller, from “Prologue: Paradise” in “Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden

Photo: Mark Benbenek


  1. That’s it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. yes, i think we each find our personal paradise, often very close by

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful wisdom expressed by Buddha and Millar. Gardeners always recognize one another, because they know in the history of each plant, lies the growth of the whole world. 🍀🍁🍂🌹May we all take time to plant our part 🌺

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Ah yes. Wisdom. Right here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘Time after time I realized that everything I want or need – the living truth of life, love, beauty, purpose, and peace – is taught to me right here, no farther away than the ground beneath my feet.”’
    Pointing to the ground … PARADISE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is exactly it. I have cursed my way through the garden, collecting scratches and bites and bruises… then sitting back and feeling tremendous happiness that I had done it. My own little bit of paradise…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This woman is describing me and my feelings perfectly well. I have seen and done everything and I feel a total slave to my garden and yet, and yet…. I always also call it my paradise. I find the interpretation of paradise very interesting too – because it would make paradise so much more accessible! 🙂
    A WONDER-FULL post! Merci
    I’m actually waiting for the rain to stop long enough to go out with a kitchen knife to cut out all the MILLIONS of sprouting mushrooms (non edible – not that I would know….) around the tree trunks and in the grass – a yearly repetition with seemingly no ending EVER – and source of much dislike for my (non) paradise garden 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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