Buddha Twirls a Flower

When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. Everyone was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his face.

Buddha and Maha-Kashapa on Grdhrakuta mountain just hanging out.

Buddha said: “I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching. This teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa.”

 Mumon’s comment: Golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He made the good listeners as bad, and sold dog meat under the sign of mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have transmitted the teaching? And again, if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If he says that realization can be transmitted, he is like the city slicker that cheats the country dub, and if he says it cannot be transmitted, why does he approve of Maha-Kashapa?

At the turning of a flower
His disguise was exposed.
No one in heaven or earth can surpass
Maha-Kashapa’s wrinkled face
.

Zen (?) Gates

As a change from heavy duty strimmer frenzy, I have been trying to fix our electric gate motor. It is 2004 vintage, and I am in email contact with South Africa from whence the motor originated.

The whole factory set up procedure works.

The spare parts if bought in France are ten times the price of the same part bought in South Africa, according to the internet.

Nothing quite like an electrical fault, which is of an intermittent nature to test one’s Zen.

It sounds like a relay has fried. It gets the RF signal {according to the LED} to open but just clicks.

So maybe I’ll have some more things to do waiting for me in my inbox tomorrow.

Hey-ho

It Is Not Mind, It Is Not Buddha, It Is Not Things

A monk asked Nansen: “Is there a teaching no master ever preached before?”

Nansen said: “Yes, there is.”

“What is it?” asked the monk.

Nansen replied: “It is not mind, it is not Buddha, it is not things.”

Mumon’s comment: Old Nansen gave away his treasure-words. He must have been greatly upset.

Nansen was too kind and lost his treasure.
Truly, words have no power
.
Even though the mountain becomes the sea,
Words cannot open another’s mind
.

April 2007

A few months after I quit my job, I had a basal cell carcinoma sliced out of my face days before I was due to direct a personal development course for Ph.D. students. The upside is that when you look like this people don’t sit next to you on trains.

The room…

The participants

The venue

I guess the stitches leaked a little.

The venue was F.A.B.

Buddha Twirls a Flower

When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. Every one was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his face.

Buddha said: “I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching. This teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa.”

Mumon’s comment:

Golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He made the good listeners as bad, and sold dog meat under the sign of mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have transmitted the teaching? And again, if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If he says that realization can be transmitted, he is like the city slicker that cheats the country dub, and if he says it cannot be transmitted, why does he approve of Maha-Kashapa?

At the turning of a flower

His disguise was exposed.

No one in heaven or earth can surpass

Maha-Kashapa’s wrinkled face.

Buddha Twirls a Flower

When Buddha was in Grdhrakuta mountain he turned a flower in his fingers and held it before his listeners. Every one was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at this revelation, although he tried to control the lines of his face.

Buddha said: “I have the eye of the true teaching, the heart of Nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the ineffable stride of Dharma. It is not expressed by words, but especially transmitted beyond teaching. This teaching I have given to Maha-Kashapa.”

    Mumon’s comment: Golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He made the good listeners as bad, and sold dog meat under the sign of mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if all the audience had laughed together? How could he have transmitted the teaching? And again, if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have transmitted the teaching? If he says that realization can be transmitted, he is like the city slicker that cheats the country dub, and if he says it cannot be transmitted, why does he approve of Maha-Kashapa?

 

        At the turning of a flower

        His disguise was exposed.

        No one in heaven or earth can surpass

        Maha-Kashapa’s wrinkled face.

Zen – better than mine?

One day a travelling Zen master came upon a hermit’s cell. It was a bitterly cold night and he asked of the hermit; “may I tarry a while?”

The hermit agreed and boiled some rice, for them both to share.

Sat on their mats a ball of string fell out of the Zen master’s cloak and the hermit noticed.

The hermit asked the Zen master; “Why, venerable one, do you carry this ball of string?”

The Zen master replied, “Mind is a labyrinth and to enter in without a string, is to be lost forever. It is wise to carry string.”

The hermit asked the master; “Is your Zen, better than mine?”

Even though the gate was opened, the Zen master walked out into the storm, though his belly sorely missed the rice he might have eaten.

Nansen Cuts the Cat in Two

Nansen saw the monks of the eastern and western halls fighting over a cat. He seized the cat and told the monks: “If any of you say a good word, you can save the cat.”

No one answered. So Nansen boldly cut the cat in two pieces.

That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him about this. Joshu removed his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked out.

Nansen said: “If you had been there, you could have saved the cat.”

 

    Mumon’s comment: Why did Joshu put his sandals on his head? If anyone answers this question, he will understand exactly how Nansen enforced the edict. If not, he should watch his own head.

 

Had Joshu been there,

He would have enforced the edict oppositely.

Joshu snatches the sword

And Nansen begs for his life.

Meeting A Zen Master On The Road

Goso said: “When you meet a Zen master on the road you cannot talk to him, you cannot face him with silence. What are you going to do?”

Mumon’s comment: In such a case, if you can answer him intimately, your realization will be beautiful, but if you cannot, you should look about without seeing anything.

 

Meeting a Zen master on the road,

Face him neither with words nor silence.

Give him an uppercut

And you will be called one who understands Zen.

 

Bodhidharma Pacifies the Mind

Bodhidharma sits facing the wall. His future successor stands in the snow and presents his severed arm to Bodhidharma. He cries: “My mind is not pacified. Master, pacify my mind.”

Bodhidharma says: “If you bring me that mind, I will pacify it for you.”

The successor says: “When I search my mind I cannot hold it.”

Bodhidharma says: “Then your mind is pacified already.”

 

 

Mumon’s comment: That broken-toothed old Hindu, Bodhidharma, came thousands of miles over the sea from India to China as if he had something wonderful. He is like raising waves without wind. After he remained years in China he had only one disciple and that one lost his arm and was deformed. Alas, ever since he has had brainless disciples.

 

        Why did Bodhidharma come to China?

        For years monks have discussed this.

        All the troubles that have followed since

        Came from that teacher and disciple.

A Philosopher Asks Buddha

A philosopher asked Buddha: “Without words, without the wordless, will you tell me truth?”

The Buddha kept silence.

The philosopher bowed and thanked the Buddha, saying: “With your loving kindness I have cleared away my delusions and entered the true path.”

After the philosopher had gone, Ananda asked the Buddha what he had attained.

The Buddha replied: “A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.”

Mumon’s comment: Ananda was the disciple of the Buddha. Even so, his opinion did not surpass that of outsiders. I want to ask you monks: How much difference is there between disciples and outsiders?

 

        To tread the sharp edge of a sword,

        To run on smooth-frozen ice,

        One needs no footsteps to follow.

        Walk over the cliffs with hands free.