Tuesday, August 14, 2012


When my Midwestern farmer brother came to visit me a year ago, he took one look at my purple-blooming ironweed (Vernonia), and said, "Why do you have that weed in your flowerbed? Farmers try to eradicate it from cornfields."

I love the rich, royal purple of the 7-foot tall Vernonia altissima. Ironweed has many medicinal properties and is eaten as a vegetable in West Africa. One species of Midwestern moth feeds exclusively on ironweed.

In daily life, there are several counter-intuitive aspects of the Buddhist path that friends and strangers might ask, "Why do you do that?"

Why do we practice the Wise Speech of not talking about someone who's not in the room? Or not saying something that we, ourselves, do not know, for sure, to be true. Why do we not tell white lies? Why do we not exaggerate, just a little bit, to make a good story even better?

Photo by Beau Wilfong
A rare species of calm feeds on just such a wise use of speech.

Did i mention that my farmer-brother has a butterfly and moth collection? That he can spot a chrysalis on the underside of a leaf at 30 feet? That he brings the pupae into the house so he can watch them turn into something beautiful.

Photo of ironweed from www.sembabutterfly.com

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy to have stumbled across your blog today. I am a new gardener, but I also have recently become increasingly interested in Buddhism. The two interests feel so complementary and in reading some of your blog posts, I feel I understand why that is. Thank you! Your insight is really wonderful.

    Also, if you wouldn't mind, do you have any recommendations for someone new to the Buddhist path? I've read some resources on the web, but I feel a bit lost and wonder if you might have some advice on a good place to "start."