Cutting Down the Tree to Reap the Fruit


Once there was a tall, verdant tree at a royal court. The tree was richly laden with ripe, lush fruits, however, the tree was very tall. One day a man came to this royal court. The king asked him, “This tree has wonderful fruits but all the branches are too high. Can you think of a way to get at the fruits?”

The man replied, “Although this tree is very tall, there is still a way to get at its delicious fruits.” Then without more ado, the man took an axe and felled the tree. He expected it would be easy to pick the fruits once they became ripe. However, they waited and waited, but no fruits ever grew on the tree anymore. In fact the tree had withered and died.

The precept tree of the Buddha grows wonderful fruits. If we want to eat the fruits, we must keep the precepts and practice good deeds. A person who breaks the precepts is like the man who chopped down the tree. When the tree is dead and the roots dried up, it would be impossible to restore its life.


The sutra says, “The precepts are the root of perfect wisdom. One should single-mindedly uphold the precepts. If one can firmly uphold the precepts, then one will be praised by all Buddhas. ” The precepts are the well-spring of all attainment! Through observing the precepts, we examine our actions, words and thoughts every moment. When our thoughts are pure, we are on our way to enlightenment.