Sunday, July 7, 2013
The Meaning of the Flower Sermon.
I was sitting in my garden today, sipping sweet tea and letting my mind just be free.
And as I looked out onto the different flower blooms, admiring each leaf and each petal...this most beautiful calm settled in. It reminded me of a story I had once heard ~ about how the truest nature and beauty can be often effected without words.
Sometimes, there are just no words ~ and yet, the meaning is transcribed still so flawlessly...so completely.
This is the feeling I enjoyed while sipping sweet tea in my garden.
This is the story of the Flower Sermon, and today, I most wanted to share it with you:
One day, Śākyamuni Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) transmits direct prajñā (wisdom) to the disciple Mahākāśyapa.
In the original Sino-Japanese, the story is called nengemishō 拈花微笑, which means literally "pick up flower, subtle smile".
And, I happen to like this title quite a lot.
In the story, Śākyamuni gives a wordless sermon to his disciples by gently holding up a most beautiful pure white flower.
No one in the audience understands except for Mahākāśyapa, who smiles.
Within Zen, this story communicates the ineffable nature of tathātā (suchness) and Mahākāśyapa's smile signifies the direct transmission of wisdom without words.
It's simple, and loving...and so very true. That there is this nature to communication that surpasses all that we may know and understand.
Sometimes, all that we hold in our hearts is too great to be limited by words....
In which case, we must learn to communicate simply through our being.
That's why I love this story so very much, and it's why in sitting in my garden I thought of it today.
Namaste, my most beautiful friends.