The nun Rengetsu was returning from a pilgrimage when she stopped in a town to rest for the night. Although she appeared tired and hungry, each door she knocked on refused her lodging. As the sun began to set behind the hills, she hiked up to a cherry orchard on the hillside. There she made a little bed of leaves under the trees and fell asleep. But something stirred her in the middle of the night. A beautiful scent fell over her. Pulling herself up from sleep, her opening eyes befell the loveliest of sights – the black sky behind dozens of trees with white cherry blossoms, all blooming radiant and shimmering in the moonlight. Tree after tree of nature’s beautiful canvas.

Rengetsu took in the beautiful experience. Then she turned toward the town, gave a little bow and said, “Oh, people of the village, thank you so much for turning me away tonight. For if you did receive me, then I would never have been able to witness such beauty tonight.”

As darkness turns to light, as winter heads toward spring, contemplate what good comes from difficulty. What difficulty comes from good? How can we judge anything? How do we know what is deemed good and bad anyway? Think of an obstacle that has become the vehicle for something positive that happened in your life.

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