The Parable of the Herbs, Lotus Sutra: brief summary and analysis of what this excerpt means

Below is an excerpt from the Lotus Sutra called the Parable of the Herbs. Read the excerpt and in a journal entry give a brief summary and analysis of what this excerpt means. How does this relate to what we have learned about Buddhism, including its branches? What do you think each aspect of nature represents in this excerpt? What is your own response to it?

Excerpt from Chapter 5 of the Lotus Sutra, the parable of the herbs:

That it is as if a great cloud
Arises in the world
And covers everything.
This beneficent cloud contains moisture
And bright lightning flashes from it.
The sound of its thunder shakes the earth afar
And gladdens the people.
It conceals the sun
And cools the earth.
The spreading cloud hangs so low,
As if it could be touched.
Everywhere, equal, and immeasurable
The rain pours down and moistens the earth.
Grasses, herbs, large and small trees,
All kinds of crops, seedlings, sugarcane, and grapes
Growing in the depth of the mountains,
In rivers and in precipitous valleys
Are all watered and completely nourished by the rain.
The dry earth is moistened everywhere
And the herbs and trees grow up thickly.
Out of this cloud the same rain
Waters these grasses, trees, and shrubs
Each according to their capacities.
All the trees, small, medium, or large
Are able to grow in accordance with their capacities.
The luster and colors of the roots, stems,
Branches, leaves, flowers
Are all freshened by the same rain.
Each of these, although receiving the same moisture,
Reaches a greater or lesser size
In accordance with their different
Dispositions, characteristics, and natures.
The Buddha is exactly like this.

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