(Translation: Alternate, Ukrainian translation: http://blog.1800flowers.com/international/thebuddhistblog-legend-ua/)
In the ancient, Shinto, belief system of Japan, a legend says, that the Japanese people descended down from the heavens by climbing down the tall, sacred, cypress trees of the island. As someone who is in awe, admiration, and respect for our noble trees, I find this creation story to be deeply, spiritual. The other aspect I admire, is how it echoes the Buddhist teaching that we are interdependent upon nature for our very lives. As a Zen Buddhist, I find much within Shinto that I admire and respect; not the least of which, being nature veneration.
May we all find freedom atop the great tree of Dharma. All branches, regardless if they are Theravada or Mahayana, contribute to the strength and vitality of the tree. Do our branches bend a little differently, of course!! But, when was the last time you saw two tree branches that were the exactly same?!! Diversity is the strength of any system--it takes all sizes, shapes and age of branch to sustain a strong tree. This is true, by the way, for humanity. If everyone was supposed to be the same, then everything would be one color; imagine how boring that would be?!!