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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.
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.