This question is marked "community wiki".

Looking at an old tree With even a little experience of life we know that things are often not what they seem. Chuang Tzu goes further. "Things are never what they seem", he tells us. "There is success in failure and failure in success. Beautiful things are ugly and ugly things are beautiful. For failure and success are but two sides of one coin. Beauty withers and ugliness turns into beauty. Everything changes; except for the immutable reality, Tao. Tao underlies both failure and success, beauty and squalor."

A story may illustrate the point. A carpenter called Shih was on his way to the state of Chi accompanied by an apprentice. When they arrived at Chu Yuan, they rested under a huge tree that overshadowed the village shrine. The tree spread a wide canopy of branches and towered as high as a hill. The apprentice was impressed.

"Master," he exclaimed, "never since I took up my axe and followed you, have I set eyes on more tempting timber. Why don't you even look at it?"

"Shut up!", Shih replied. "This tree is useless. The branches are gnarled and twisted; they won't do for beams or rafters. The trunk is curved and knotted; it can't be used for coffins. Look at its wood: it's all worthless timber. A boat made of it would sink, a coffin would rot, a tool would split, a door would ooze sap and a beam would have woodworm. That's why it has been left alone, because it's useless."

That night the sacred tree appeared to Shih in a dream. "Why are you belittling me?", it cried. "Are you comparing me to so called useful trees? Have you never noticed what happens to them? Apple, pear, orange and other fruit trees are stripped bare at harvest. They are pruned or cut down when they don't produce; all because they are 'useful'. And what about catalpa, cypress and mulberry trees? As soon as they reach maturity, they are sawn into planks, beams and boards. You see, if you're useful you attract attention. I've been trying for a long time to be useless. Once or twice an axe was laid to me, but being useless saved me. Could I ever have grown so large, if I had been useful?"

When the carpenter remained speechless, the gnarled tree continued with even greater scorn. "You and I are both things. How can one thing presume to judge another thing? What does a fallible and useless man like you know about a useless tree?"

Shih woke up and began to reflect on the meaning of his dream. When he narrated the dream to his apprentice, the latter said: "If the tree really wants to be useless, why does it overshadow the shrine?"

"Good gracious! You are right", Shih exclaimed. "It's only pretending to be useless. No one will dare to cut it down because it is a sacred tree. That's how it protects itself. We must look at it from a different point of view.'' (Chuang Tzu, 4.11)

asked 26 Nov '11, 06:50

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

edited 26 Nov '11, 13:25

Jaianniah's gravatar image


White Tiger, I notice you have a tendency to keep ask discussion questions with general titles such as the one above "What do you think about this?". As I've mentioned to you before, please make your questions specific. Also remember that Inward Quest is not a discussion site, it is for specific questions and answers. I've switched this one to Community Wiki. Since I've asked you a number of times now and you are not complying, we will close future "questions" like this without further warning

(26 Nov '11, 10:16) Barry Allen ♦♦

Excuse me for popping in, I have a curious question: I'm confused, since I personally am looking for a discussion site, as my questions are always seeking opinions. This is largely because I don't believe there are definitive answers (ESPECIALLY on topics of spirituality or manifestation), only different approaches to the same concept. So is there another method I could use to address this same group of people discussion questions?

(26 Nov '11, 11:36) Leo

Leo, questions about the operations of Inward Quest should be asked on IQ Meta:

(26 Nov '11, 12:05) Barry Allen ♦♦

well barry i have ask the question. what do you think about this? because usely people say you should not answer it and say what you think about it. and also because this story is about judgement and harmony and other things has well. this is the reason i add put it like this with out being to specific. sorry that i do not meet your standard.maybe i am not being usefull in your eyes?

(26 Nov '11, 14:29) white tiger

well barry i did not know that iq meta was for discussion about inward quest. i was thinking it was for the new inward quest. but yes i have seen that iq meta was more about talking about what could be better in the new inward quest or different option that people would like to add.

(26 Nov '11, 14:51) white tiger
showing 2 of 5 show 3 more comments

Hello White Tiger ... yes we can form judgments following our own beliefs and observations ... judgement in this case is subjective ... to see things from a different point of view and feel what another person feels is possible if we have great empathy or have lived what that other person has lived.

Have a great day :)


answered 26 Nov '11, 07:22

blubird%20two's gravatar image

blubird two

you also blubird. experience and enjoy.

(26 Nov '11, 07:26) white tiger

Hi White Tiger, I liked the story and for me it portrays that there is no such thing as uselessness. Things and people might at times look useless or be considered useless by those that judge but every man, tree and thing has a purpose in this life that makes them usefull. Only the inteligent will see this and those that judge have not found their true usefullness yet.


answered 26 Nov '11, 09:34

Paulina%201's gravatar image

Paulina 1

i agree paulina.that is why they are judge with the same mesure and only when they will learn from it they will stop to judge.

(26 Nov '11, 15:08) white tiger

I have a good story about judging people:

There were two old women who lived next door to each other. The one was sweet. She let the children play in her yard. She gave them cookies. She smiled and talked to all her neighbors, and always had a good word about everyone.

The other old women was mean and cranky. She yelled at the children if they even touched her grass. She never said "Hello" to anyone. She was alwyas grumpy and touchy and everyone thought she was difficult to bear.

One day, A neighbor to the two oled women was dreaming that he was in Heaven. He asked God, "Why are those two old women so different? Why can't that nasty old lady be nice?"

God replied, "The nice old lady was supposed to be a Saint. I gave her a strong spirit and a great love, but she is just nice. The other old lady? Well, I gave her a difficult spirit. She has learned to cope; she has never killed; she has never committed as crime, because she prays without ceasing to be a better person." The dreamer woke up, and pondered this new idea. He realized that things just are never quite what they seem...

Judging people is so WRONG! One just never knows what struggles and burdens thay have to bear.

I hope this story helps. I agree with you, White Tiger.

Judging is wrong.

Blessings, and Peace,


This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 26 Nov '11, 13:20

Jaianniah's gravatar image


For me, the meaning runs deeper than just that.

If a human is 'useless' but tries to find a purpose, they will try something new. They may fail, and they may even hurt themselves in the process, but they will have learned something from it, and they will heal.

I feel like this proverb means more than just "maybe somebody is being sneaky about their purpose." To me it also means that just because something may not have found its use yet does not mean it doesn't have one. And as the use becomes more elusive, the more likely its use is more important.

This makes me think of rags to riches stories like Aladdin or the Prince of Persia. 'Street rats' who people believed were useless, but upon closer examination were actually just holding a far more crucial destiny. A 'diamond in the rough', or a prince waiting to be discovered. =)

Just another point of view to consider.


answered 26 Nov '11, 09:02

Leo's gravatar image


I like this answer. In the end we will discover there is no such thing as useless.

(26 Nov '11, 09:27) Paulina 1

in the first fable, the master's judgement relys on usefulness,
at a rather narrow self-centered cultural perspective of material gain,
yet in the dream an intuitive wisdom about the tree is released,
i would prefer to learn why/how it is so

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 27 Nov '11, 00:48

fred's gravatar image


is the tree alive? does it have energy? if you cannot accept this you could say it is his subcouncious telling him. but then it is in total opposition with him and is belief. so you can try to figure that out. experience and enjoy.

(27 Nov '11, 00:55) white tiger

white tiger, a tree is alive and has energy. if one has no conscious awareness of that while awake, it may need a prod from our intuition when self-centered defenses are resting while we are in a state of sleep

(28 Nov '11, 13:07) fred

King David was carved out of the crappiest piece of marble found. No one wanted that marble, it was good for nothing! Ahh but Michelangelo said, "NO, I don't care I will used this lousy marble if I have to and see what I can make out it." He made the statue of King David, a work of art that stands to this day as something that must be seen.

Pennsylvania is called the Keystone state. Here is the story of the Keystone.

The masons were building the Temple of Solomon and had come upon a rock that was lousy it wasn't good for anything! Can't put it in the corner, can't put it in the wall it just would not fit anyplace. The masons were upset that this stone was a waste. They were building the roof of an arch that held the whole building together. They were upset that no stone would fit! Every stone they tried was a lousy fit and would not work! Finely someone said, "try the reject stone!" They said, "That will never work, we cast that stone aside as good for nothing a long while back!" Finely out of desperation they grabbed the rejected stone and low and behold it fit perfect! It was the Keystone! The stone that held all other normal stones in place!

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 27 Nov '11, 06:01

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 27 Nov '11, 19:02

What do you think about judgement?

Once you start to realize the idea and the reality of unconditional love within your own being, all forms of judgment begin to fall away. And thereafter when judgment arises within you, in that moment, if you remember to do so, you automatically forgive yourself. I often laugh at myself in a loving way when
this happens :)

To say and judge that anything is good or bad or right or wrong as an absolute, is still a judgment on your part. To believe in the idea of judgment means to assume there is an ultimate judge. However, when you look into the idea of the One consciousness and you discover that you are it and it is you; then you realize that, by the same token, you are the only judge because there is nothing outside of the One consciousness.

It is wise to remember that anyone who does anything does it for their own reasons based on the understanding of their current perspective. Therefore, whatever they do they do it to the best of their ability at that time. They could not do it another way, because they do not know another way and therefore they are not wrong in any way. In really seeing this, you always choose to automatically forgive them (and yourself) for whatever seeming wrong has been committed.

And seeing this on an even deeper level, someone who does not know a better way cannot possibly be wrong in any way, thus forgiveness is never even necessary because, ultimately, there is no right or wrong; there just is What Is. From the perspective of automatic forgiveness we move into the idea of absence of forgiveness because we've realized that even forgiveness is unnecessary, and now we're left with compassion.

So you look at, meet and interact with those around you who are doing things that you believe or know are not really serving them and unless asked, you do not interfere with them; in the form of you shouldn't do that or you must do this or why do that, it is better to do this etcetera. In other words you let them be as they are being.

Always remembering that it is their life and you don't know what it is that they came here to learn or remember. In fact, from this limited perspective we cannot see the big picture, so what we might perceive as wrong or un-serving in the short-term, might be serving them extremely well just a little way down the road: we don't know.

When we live from the perspective of unconditional love and compassion, we no longer interfere with others and our life becomes far easier and much more enjoyable, because we leave all others out of the equation and get on with our own life. By doing this we offer a totally different vibration and ironically, others find us and begin to ask: what did you do to get to that state and how can I get there also?

And then, if you feel that way inclined, you might offer suggestions and pointers to help them on their way. Or you might choose to remain quiet and just be who you are being; either way, through vibrational resonance you affect and uplift them due to your vibrational state of being.

This answer is marked "community wiki".

answered 28 Nov '11, 02:50

Eddie's gravatar image


to want something and to be ready to do something are 2 different things. experience and enjoy.

(28 Nov '11, 03:28) white tiger

Can you please elaborate, because I don't understand what you mean in the context of what's been written. Thanks.

(28 Nov '11, 09:04) Eddie

others find us and begin to ask: what did you do to get to that state and how can I get there also?someone might want it.but is he ready?

(30 Nov '11, 19:18) white tiger

Judgment can be difficult to grasp because it's ingrained into our 'old energy' way of thinking. There are no mistakes. If someone asks then they are ready or they would not ask.

(01 Dec '11, 02:54) Eddie
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