The Peace of the Mango Tree

http://www.bmf.org/children/mango-tree.html

My love you, my grandchildren. Come over and sit by the mango tree. I have a question I want to ask it.

“O beautiful mango tree who gives us such refreshing shade, do you have peace? If you do, could you teach us how to have peace? You seem so cool and tranquil. What makes you this way? Can you tell us?”

Children, come closer and listen carefully to the mango tree’s answer.

“I am a member of the tree family, and you are human beings. I do not know if you can understand our peace. Even though God has given you judgment, subtle wisdom, analytic wisdom, and divine luminous wisdom, you also have qualities that cause you to take our fruits, cut us down, and destroy us.

“If you want to attain peace, do not cut down a tree, whether it is useful to you or not. And don’t cut down a man, whether he does good deeds or bad. If, because of your pride or selfishness, you think about taking revenge or deceiving and ruining another person, or of making another man suffer in any way, that will destroy your peace. It is your own state of mind that will destroy your peace. But if you can avoid bad thoughts, then you can be happy and peaceful. This is my advice to you.

“Look at me. Here I stand at the crossroads. Many people come this way. As soon as I start to blossom, they throw stones at me to make my flowers fall. They climb and swing on my branches, but I don’t mind. Even when they hit me and shake me and take my fruits, I am happy. Some people and some animals and birds like my fruits while they are still unripe. Others like them after they have ripened. When they bite into my mangoes and taste them, they become happy and peaceful, and that gives me peace. The peace they find by eating my fruits and satisfying their hunger gives me peace. When I am happy in this way, I can be so cooling and provide shade for others, and that adds to their peace and happiness. When they feel peaceful, I am peaceful. That is my secret. That is what makes me grow, bear fruit, and give cooling shade.

“If you human beings want happiness, you should be like this. No matter what happens in the world, even if you are beaten or attacked by your enemies, you should be very patient and show them compassion and love. If you help your enemies, then the peace they gain will be your peace. This is my advice to you.

” My grandchildren, did you listen carefully to what the mango tree said? Did you understand? Trees have so many good qualities, even though they were created with only three levels of consciousness. They have only feeling, awareness and intellect, but God created you with four higher levels of consciousness as well. God gave you exalted wisdom. If you would use that wisdom to attain at least the state of the mango tree, you would find peace and tranquility.

My grandchildren, as you journey through life, use your wisdom in this way. Do not waste your intelligence seeking revenge against others, because while you are chasing after someone else, your own work will be ruined. When you commit yourself to such devious work, you stray from your own path. The distance which separates you from God will become greater and greater, and you will suffer so much.

It happens this way in the world. Anyone who focuses on hurting others abandons his own path. He neglects his prayers and worship and forgets his good qualities. Because of this, he loses his peace and tranquility, and his life is subjected to sorrow and suffering. But the one who turns to God and focuses upon his own qualities, his own work, and his own path will have an exalted and serene life.

We came to this world by the command of our Father, and while we are here we must live by His commandments and establish our connection to Him. We must complete our duties in a way that fulfills those commandments, and then we must return to Him. That is our work. If we can do that, we will have peace in this world, in the next world, and in the world of the souls.

My grandchildren, think deeply about this. Do your own work and your own duty. Even when you are attacked by others, if you are good to them, it will bring peace to you. My love you. Be like the mango tree.

– M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

ase…..

days later,
en I’m committed to catching up on another (new) project. i (secretly) like to think i am adept at multitasking. but i think it only counts for the things that i’m invested in.  otherwise i get distracted and exhausted pretty quickly…en I quit. i struggle (secretly) with the knowledge that i may be the most selfish person I know. I am only interested in my destiny. and i found me somewhere along the way…my path to follow, is the revolushunary one….en I’m recruiting (as many as I can) along the way.
 
i’d promised myself that I would use this space to share resources and teachings. i wonder if anyone cares? i know i do…..so on friday, sep 11th…I remembered…en days later, a comrade forwarded me the poem that had touched my mind moons ago…..days later, i’m back here again, sharing this poem with you, en before he starts, I should tell you, these words are not my own, do with them as you will…..share them with someone else, memorise them, criticise…but don’t say you would have lived your life differently if you’d heard this story before….now you know…..
molisa.
emmanuel.
Before I start this poem,
I’d like to ask you to join me
In a moment of silence
In honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon last September 11th.

I would also like to ask you
To offer up a moment of silence
For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned,
disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes
For the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S.

And if I could just add one more thing…
A full day of silence
For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the
hands of U.S.-backed Israeli
forces over decades of occupation.
Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people,
mostly children, who have died of
malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year U.S.
embargo against the country.

Before I begin this poem,
Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country.
Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
Where death rained down and peeled back every layer of
concrete, steel, earth and skin
And the survivors went on as if alive.
A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam – a people,
not a war – for those who
know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their
relatives’ bones buried in it, their babies born of it.
A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of
a secret war … ssssshhhhhhh…
Say nothing
we don’t want them to learn that they are dead.
Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,
Whose names, like the corpses they once represented,
have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Before I begin this poem.
An hour of silence for El Salvador …
An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua …
Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos …
None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.
45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas

25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found
their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could
poke into the sky.
There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of
sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west…

100 years of silence…
For the hundreds of millions of Indigenous peoples from this half
of right here,
Whose land and lives were stolen,
In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand Creek,
Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears.
Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the
refrigerator of our consciousness …

So you want a moment of silence?
And we are all left speechless
Our tongues snatched from our mouths
Our eyes stapled shut
A moment of silence
And the poets have all been laid to rest
The drums disintegrating into dust.

Before I begin this poem,
You want a moment of silence
You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
And the rest of us hope to hell it won’t be.
Not like it always has
been.

Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
This is a 9/10 poem,
It is a 9/9 poem,
A 9/8 poem,
A 9/7 poem
This is a 1492 poem.

This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written.
And if this is a 9/11 poem, then:
This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971.
This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa, 1977.
This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison, New York, 1971.
This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.
This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and Newsweek ignored.
This is a poem for interrupting this program.

And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
We could give you lifetimes of empty:
The unmarked graves
The lost languages
The uprooted trees and histories
The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
Or just long enough to hunger,
For the dust to bury us
And you would still ask us
For more of our silence.

If you want a moment of silence
Then stop the oil pumps
Turn off the engines and the televisions
Sink the cruise ships
Crash the stock markets
Unplug the marquee lights,
Delete the instant messages,
Derail the trains, the light rail transit.

If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window of Taco Bell,
And pay the workers for wages lost.
Tear down the liquor stores,
The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the
Penthouses and the Playboys.

If you want a moment of silence,
Then take it
On Super Bowl Sunday,
The Fourth of July
During Dayton’s 13 hour sale
Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful
people have gathered.

You want a moment of silence
Then take it NOW,
Before this poem begins.
Here, in the echo of my voice,
In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
In the space between bodies in embrace,
Here is your silence,
Take it.
But take it all…
Don’t cut in line.
Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime.
But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing
For our dead.

By EMMANUEL ORTIZ, 11 Sep 2002

Emmanuel Ortiz is a third-generation Chicano/Puerto Rican/Irish-American community organizer and spoken word poet residing in Minneapolis, MN. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Spoken Word Association, and is the coordinator of Guerrilla Wordfare, a Twin Cities-based grassroots project bringing together artists of color to address socio-political issues and raise funds for progressive organizing in communities of color through art as a tool of social change.