The Tree’s Mind and Buddha’s mind Resemble Each Other __Nam Hyo-chang

The Tree’s Mind and 
Buddha’s mind  
Resemble Each Other
Nam  Hyo-Chang | Chairman of the Board of the Forest Research Institute
The tree meets the wood to make a forest.
It is the moment to become a forest. Being a forest
would mean that it protects the lives of all living things.
(Pic.  on left zelkova tree, right side picture)
Around Buddha’s birthday, the 8th day of the fourth lunar month, the yellow-green flowers of the snowball tree begin to bloom, which some say reminds them of the head of the Buddha. The flowers grow from golf ball size to the size of a baseball, and they turn pure white as they grow. If you examine the flowers closely, you will notice they are not true flowers with fully developed stigma and stamen. They are sterile flowers. One wild type of snowball tree is the Korean viburnum. The Korean viburnum has not only a sterile blossom but  also a true flower that can provide sweet nectar to attract bees and butterflies. The snowball tree blossom has no nectar and attracts few insects. The snowball tree, which lacks a complete flower, cannot reproduce. It is sterile. It can be propagated by stem layering or artificial cuttings when desired. But the Korean viburnum has seeds for reproduction. Snowball trees are often found in yards and at Buddhist Temples across Korea.
There are not many plants that have sterile flowers like the snowball tree and Korean viburnum. Typical examples of sterile flowers are hydrangea and mountain hydrangea. Many people want to know how to tell the difference between the snowball tree, Korean viburnum, hydrangea and mountain hydrangea. It is simple.  Just pay attention to the shape of the leaves and flowers.
Here are some guidelines:
– If the leaves are forked and the flowers are flat like a plate, it is a Korean viburnum.
– If the leaves are forked and the flowers are round, it is a snowball tree.
– If the leaves are ovate and the flowers are round, it is a hydrangea.
– If the leaves are ovate and the flowers are flat like a plate, it is a mountain hydrangea.
The flowers are either comprised of sterile flowers only, or are comprised both of sterile flowers and fertile true flowers. The flowers of both the snowball tree and Korean viburnum are white. The flowers of both the hydrangea and mountain hydrangea can be white but also a range of colors depending on the acidity of the soil
All of these flowers bloom from May to July.
The black cuckoo migrates to the summer forests of Korea from Southeast Asia to raise their chicks when the snowball trees and mountain hydrangeas bloom. They are hard to spot, but their song rings through the forest like the sound of a wooden Buddhist handbell (moktak). Their song is always four notes long.  There are many stories about the cry of the black cuckoo, but there is nothing particularly special about it.  Their cry can sound different depending on how you interpret it. Some describe it as “uh uh uh uh” or “oh ho ho ho” or “mi mi mi do” or “mi re re si.”  Day and night, their cry penetrates the forests.  The black cuckoo stops crying when it finds a mate.  In the summer, also participating in this arboreal orchestra are the scops owl, the White’s thrush and the orioles. In addition to birds, other participants include: raccoon dogs, badgers, water deer, wild boar, various insect larvae, inch worms and walking sticks, to name a few. In Korea’s forests, the daimyo oak, Mongolian oak and oriental white oak bloom late and then turn dark green. One of the most important organs on a tree are its leaves, which provide all the nutrients that make it possible for a tree to grow flowers and bear fruit. The more leaves a tree has, the more nourishing glucose it can produce. The health of a tree is proportional to the number of leaves and the area covered by the leaves.
The leaves that can efficiently photosynthesize are the ones that grow on the branches. The more branches and leaves there are, the more photosynthesis can take place. If there are many long branches, they can produce and support many leaves which produce more glucose. Trees try to grow as many branches as possible and grow them as long as possible.  However, if the thickness and length of the branches are not balanced, they are prone to break easily in the wind. On the other hand, if a branch is short and thick, it may be strong but it cannot produce as many leaves. Tree growth is naturally determined by what is called the “golden ratio.” This makes them more stable and helps them maximize the number of leaves they can produce and support.  The thickness and length of tree branches can be affected by wind speed and direction. Some trees extend their branches horizontally from a central vertical tree trunk, and some trees extend their branches in an upward diagonal. A tree’s inherent golden ratio helps them resist the wind. That is why most tree branches do not break easily even in a strong wind. The branches of the fir tree grow in a diagonal direction toward the sky when they are young and spread horizontally as they age, in accordance with the golden ratio. When a horizontal branch reaches 1 m in length, the branch should be about 1 cm in diameter at the base. The ratio of the length of a fir branch to its diameter is 100 to 1. This is the golden ratio of a fir tree. If a tree branch grows more or less vertically at an angle of 45 degrees, then the golden ratio of the tree is not 100 to 1, but 50 to 1. In other words, once the branch reaches a length of 1 m, the diameter of the branch is 0.5 cm at the base. However, the trunks of all trees do not necessarily grow vertically. 
Depending on their environment, they may be tilted or bent. Trees take into account their own needs and find their most stable golden ratio.
Snowball tree, asexual flower of snowball tree, Unable to produce descendants, The sterile flowers are only exuberant.
Glucose obtained through photosynthesis is utilized in various ways. It is used to make disaccharides such as fructose, sucrose and lactose. And disaccharides may be used directly as nutrients, or they may be willingly offered to pollinators when it is absolutely necessary to produce flowers. Bee honey contains mainly fructose, glucose and sucrose. The rest is made up of small amounts of other sugars and water. Bee honey is 38% fructose, 31% glucose and 10% sucrose. Fructose is sweeter than sugar. Maple syrup contains more than 60% sucrose, with low fructose and glucose content. (“Chemical Story 1”, Penny Quarter, JB Bereson) Lactose is a disaccharide that is composed of glucose and galactose. Galactose, a monosaccharide, has the same chemical formula as glucose, also a monosaccharide, but they have different bonding structures and different properties. These structures are called “isomers.” The monosaccharide, glucose, is used to make disaccharides, but it can also become starch, which is a polysaccharide consisting of a large number of glucose units. Starch is a storage material that is difficult to circulate within the body of a tree. Carbohydrates in the form of starch, which is a storage material, are very important for trees in the early spring when trees need to grow leaves and flowers from bare branches. That’s not all. Glucose, which is a monosaccharide, can be made into cellulose, a polysaccharide which gives trees strength and rigidity.
Mongolian oak leaf.
The leaves, spreading out without any gaps,
utilize the space freely. They get as much glucose.
Starch, a storage polysaccharide, is a polymer that can be used as a nutrient, unlike cellulose which is a structural polysaccharide. The basic skeleton of a tree, which we call “wood,” is cellulose made from polysaccharides. As previously stated, trees use glucose to produce two types of polysaccharides: starch and cellulose. Starch is reversible, whereas cellulose is irreversible. Starch, which is a storage material, can be reused as a disaccharide or a monosaccharide if necessary, whereas a once-produced cellulose polysaccharide is not reusable as needed. Polysaccharide cellulose eventually becomes a final product of the tree. The materials formed with cellulose harden. That is why tree stems and branches are hard. Trees have an ability to produce and control the content of cellulose according to the surrounding environment. Stems and branches made of only cellulose will break under pressure. In order to overcome this, it is necessary for stems and branches to be flexible and elastic. The substance required to do this is not obtained from glucose, which is the primary material obtained through photosynthesis. It requires secondary lipid components which are made from glucose. Lipids form lignin, an elastic material. So the main component of the stem or branch of the tree is cellulose and lignin. These two substances vary in proportion, depending on tree species and environmental conditions. They can vary even within the same species. Each tree makes its own individual adjustments.
Unlike humans, organisms that eat trees can digest cellulose. The ability to digest cellulose means they can convert glucose or sugar to produce needed energy. People have no enzymes that can digest and break down fibrous cellulose. It is possible for larvae to eat whole leaves because they have the enzyme that can digest this type of fibre. There are various patterns left behind after larvae have munched on leaves. In some cases, we can see that they have eaten only the green tissue between the veins, leaving behind the veins through which water and nutrients pass. Sometimes you also see only the bare ribs of leaves. This is an eating habit of small insects such as aphids. That is because they have no enzymes to digest the fibre. Therefore, when you look at leaves eaten by insects or larvae, you can tell what organisms are responsible.
Larger insect larvae, such as those of the stag beetle and long-horned beetle, can digest the fibre easily and burrow deep into a tree trunk, sometimes also nesting there. Insects and larvae cannot survive only on carbohydrates for food. They also need protein and fat. How and where do they get these? Leaves, branches and stems are not only composed of cellulose; they also contain protein and fat. Larvae must have enough nutrients to survive in order to go through the critical growth stage called metamorphosis. Therefore, many lifeforms are dependent on trees, from the tiniest of insects, to birds, to water deer and wild boars and even larger. And the end product of their digestion keeps the soil fertile.  It is said that the flowers, leaves, fruits and even the wood of a tree serve not only the tree. Trees are a perfect symbol of self-sacrifice for the benefit of all. The tree’s mind is the forest. It resembles the Buddha’s mind.  

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