Enjoyment Along the Way
Aoyama writes:
Being alive is wonderful. Because they live, beautiful flowers bloom and weeds grow. It is human selfishness that considers flowers good and weeds bad. It is not their fault. Zen Master Dogen said, "A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it."
For many years I worked as a volunteer in a local Japanese garden. Weeding was also one of my least favorite jobs. Not only because of the labor involved but also because I always felt a certian sadness for the poor weeds.
But what exactly constitutes a weed?
According to Merriam-Webster
Weed: A plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth; especially one that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.
So a plant's worth and resulting lifespan hangs in the balance as we go over a mental checklist to determine whether it is of value to us or not. Given our way of defining them, no plants are exempt from our discretions. Morning glories beware, for as long as you are growing on our fancy trellises you are a friend, yet should you find yourselves seeking nourishment from the sun or soil elsewhere you will quickly become the foe of man. What a bittersweet relationship indeed! They are used to heal us when we are ill, feed us when we hunger and used to adorn our graves after we have left this world. Yet we pay them little homage.

All this being said I will close with this poem:
Growing in the fields
What splendor nature yields
Flowers who know themselves not by name
Bloom their beauty just the same
While pondering Aoyama's essay my mind began to drift towards looking at the many other ways in which we use our preconceived ideas to pass ill judgements.
Can you think of anything else to which we pass judgement on based on our concepts of good/bad or worth/wothless?

Purifying the Heart
There is this quote of Shakespeare's regarding makeup which came to mind when I read this chapter. I don't remember his words verbatim but it went something like this...
God has given you one face yet you paint yourself another
What is beauty, Aoyama asks? Sure there is physical beauty but that is, as is often said, only in the eye of the beholder. The waves may be beautiful...but there is a whole ocean going on underneath. Are your waters shark infested or like that of a coral reef? True beauty, in my opinion, comes from that which isn't always seen with the eyes but rather felt with the heart. Anything less is surely a passing fancy.