Parable: Two Temples

Once upon a time in a great kingdom far away, there was at the center of the realm, a Temple. This temple was immense, and it was also a garden. Fruit trees, cherry blossoms–a self-sustaining eco-system where the animals and plants all produced and flourished with life. It was tended and kept by watchful guardians, and it was perfect.

Then one day, someone came and dumped a ton of trash in the center of the garden. The keepers of the garden were devastated and since they didn’t know how to deal with the trash, they left it there. And the trash started to mess with the ecosystem and make it fester. It started to pollute the whole garden until it overran it. People abandoned their care of the garden, and they abandoned visiting the temple, but their hearts still hungered for the beauty of the temple.

So they started building temples of dead things, and started to put up artificial fruit trees. The people there were all very friendly, but they had only one rule: you had to call the artificial trees, “real fruit trees.”

One day a visitor from a neighboring kingdom came and visited the realm, and went to the temple they had constructed, and he remarked to them all, “What is with all the fake trees?” The people politely corrected him since he was a stranger, “They aren’t fake, they are real.” And he said, “No they’re not. In my kingdom, our fruit trees bear real fruit and you can eat them. This is not a real fruit tree.” Impatiently, they said, “Well, when you are in our kingdom, you will call these real fruit trees. If you don’t like it you can leave.” And he said, “What about the garden at the center of your kingdom? Don’t you have real fruit trees there?” At this they grabbed him and kicked him out of their temple and said, “Don’t come back here again, if you’re going to treat us so disrespectfully!”

Scratching his head, the visitor went to the center and saw all the trash littered there, and he started to call people in the kingdom to help him clean it up. A handful of them worked together until at least a small part of the Garden looked like it did before. Then he brought to them the fruit from the center of the Kingdom, and offered it to the people in the “Artificial Temple.” Of course they had some type of fruit, but it was imported and borrowed and as artificial as the trees, but not nutritious. He offered the fruit to anyone who would take it, and when he handed the fruit to someone who accepted it, he called the fruit a word which they did not understand at first.

Sacred.

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