Learning from Flowers

By Paulo Coelho
For The Bali Times

Why go on fighting?

Reader Gerson Luiz tells the story of a rose that longed for the company of the bees, but none would come to her.

Even so, the flower was still capable of dreaming. When she felt all alone, she would imagine a garden filled with bees that came to kiss her. And so she managed to resist until the next day, when she opened her petals again.

“Aren’t you tired?” someone must have asked her.

“No. I have to go on fighting,” answered the flower.


“Because if I don’t open up, I wither.”

Learning to see

Buddha gathered his disciples and showed them a lotus flower.

“I want you to tell me something about what I hold in my hand.”

The first gave a whole treaty on the importance of flowers. The second composed a lovely poem about its petals. The third invented a parable using the flower as an example.

Now it was Mahakashyap’s turn. He came up to Buddha, smelt the flower, and caressed his face with one of the petals.

“This is a lotus flower,” said Mahakashyap. “Simple, like everything that comes from God. And beautiful, like everything that comes from God.”

“You were the only one who saw what I hold in my hand,” was Buddha’s comment.

In search of a wise man

For days the couple traveled almost without speaking. Finally they arrived in the middle of the forest, and found the wise man.

“My companion said almost nothing to me during the whole journey,” said the young man.

“A love without silence is a love without depth,” answered the wise man.

“But she didn’t even say that she loved me!”

“Some people always claim that. And we end up wondering if their words are true.”

The three of them sat down on a rock. The wise man pointed to the field of flowers all around them.

“Nature isn’t always repeating that God loves us. But we realize that through His flowers.”

In the flower shop

The woman was strolling through a shopping mall when she noticed a poster announcing a new flower shop. When she went in, she got a shock; she saw no vases, no arrangements, and it was God in person who stood behind the counter.

“You can ask for whatever you want,” said God.

“I want to be happy. I want peace, money, the capacity to be understood. I want to go to heaven when I die. And I want all this to be granted to my friends, too.”

God opened a few pots that were on the shelf behind him, removed some grains from inside, and handed them to the woman.

“Here you have the seeds,” He said. “Begin to plant them, because here we don’t sell the fruits.”

© Translated by James Mulholland


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