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Carpenter or Gardener

personperson Don't believe everything you think'Merica! Veteran
edited June 30 in Philosophy

I heard an interview today with a parenting author about her book "The Carpenter or the Gardener" and I related it to how to apply Buddhist skillful means in helping others. The essential difference is the carpenter attempts to mold the other individual into a finished product while the gardener plants seeds and cultivates an enriching environment allowing the actual development into a finished product to happen naturally in it's own time.

Article:
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/05/28/614386847/what-kind-of-parent-are-you-carpenter-or-gardener

Podcast:
https://www.npr.org/2017/12/11/569907638/the-carpenter-vs-the-gardener-two-models-of-modern-parenting

So in relating it to Buddhism I compare it to a Buddhist carpenter maybe lecturing or attempting to control another in some way as an attempt to help them. Whereas the Buddhist gardener plants seeds of advice or nuggets of wisdom using skillful speech as to allow the seed to penetrate the soil of another's mind and then offer the fertilizer of their love and the warm light of their example to help.

ShoshinJeffreylobsterKerome

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Seed ... water ... 'lighten

    Nurture, grow, transplant.

    Iz master plan ...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Ironically, the less that mothers and fathers "worry" about outcomes, she says, the better their children may fare in life.

    Hmm it sounds like my favourite mantra "Don't take life 'too' seriously" ...

    In reality when words of wisdom/seeds are spoken/sowed, the Dharma teacher/Head gardener's aim is for them to land on fertile soil/minds...Leaving the nurturing up to the enthusiastic student gardener/Dharma practitioner...

    Well something like that...

    personlobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I'm reminded of the story of the little boy who, coming home from school in a bad mood - tears, even - because of taunts, teasing and bullying, is advised by his craftsman carpenter father, to come and help him shape a wooden bowl, as a gift for his mother. In doing so, the child is obviously obliged to first shape this tool using sharp, cutting, carving and shaping implements. Once the bowl is complete, he needs to sand it to an acceptable smoothness, then apply an oil to complete it and bring out its grain, colour and inner beauty.
    Thus, explains the father, is how we are are moulded. We need the sharp tools to make us who we are (the sharp tools being the bullies) and the sanding to knock out the rough edges (the teasing and taunting) but the oil brings out the best in us (the loving friends and family).

    There is of course, plenty of scope for argument there.
    That's a whole different thread.

    But that's what came to me in the allegorical presentation of a Carpenter...

    The Gardener speaks for itself.....

    person
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    The gardening approach leaves room for the unexpected, whereas the carpentry gives the illusion of some kind of control over the outcome...

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think 'Merica! Veteran

    @federica said:
    I'm reminded of the story of the little boy who, coming home from school in a bad mood - tears, even - because of taunts, teasing and bullying, is advised by his craftsman carpenter father, to come and help him shape a wooden bowl, as a gift for his mother. In doing so, the child is obviously obliged to first shape this tool using sharp, cutting, carving and shaping implements. Once the bowl is complete, he needs to sand it to an acceptable smoothness, then apply an oil to complete it and bring out its grain, colour and inner beauty.
    Thus, explains the father, is how we are are moulded. We need the sharp tools to make us who we are (the sharp tools being the bullies) and the sanding to knock out the rough edges (the teasing and taunting) but the oil brings out the best in us (the loving friends and family).

    There is of course, plenty of scope for argument there.
    That's a whole different thread.

    But that's what came to me in the allegorical presentation of a Carpenter...

    The Gardener speaks for itself.....

    There was some push back in the actual interview about the carpenter approach and it does have merits. Like it generally leads to successful, talented children, think Tiger Mom and great prodigies in areas like piano or ice skating. And like most ideas in theory, when applied in real life I'm sure an unskilled gardener will grow plenty of weeds and stunted potatoes.

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