When spring comes, farming families prepare to plant and raise rice.
The essential thing is to sow the rice seeds and nurture the seedlings.
Having prepared the fields and filled them with water, they find that in a single night the fields are transformed into paddies that, mirrorlike, reflect the blue skies.
The farmers must replant the seedlings, use fertilizers, make great efforts to weed the fields, and protect the precious rice from damage by wind or water.
Then, in the autumn, the whole area is filled with golden ears of rice.
The efforts of the farmers in sowing rice-seeds and then replanting the seedlings with great labor are rewarded with the autumn harvest.
But it is not only farmers who sow seeds: Shakyamuni teaches us that we all sow many seeds every day.
By “seeds,” he means the various acts of our body, speech, and mind.
Examples of planting seeds with our body would be practicing hard to acquire some skill, being careful to exercise, cleaning and straightening up our rooms, trying to greet people with a smile, keeping our promises, and listening to what others have to say.
Examples of sowing seeds through speech include greeting others pleasantly, thanking others, and praising the strengths of others.
Sowing seeds through the mind includes acts such as avoiding excessive self-criticism, being considerate of others, and resolving to be grateful toward others.
Of course not just these but all our actions of body, speech, and mind can be called “seeds,” so we really do sow many seeds each day.
Now if, despite our best efforts, things do not turn out as we hope, we tend to think that our efforts have been useless.
If we’ve worked very hard to prepare for an entrance examination or a qualifying examination but end up failing, we might think our work was pointless and regret all the effort we had expended.
But Shakyamuni tells us that, just as the seeds sown in a rice field finally yield a result for us, so too, “The seeds that you have sown, though they may not have begun to bud as yet, will without fail bear fruit.”
Thus, there are no useless efforts whatsoever.
An unsown seed will never bear fruit, but a seed that is sown will certainly do so.
Shakyamuni taught us how we can become happy, what are the seeds of happiness.
Let us all from now on seek to sow the seeds of happiness.