As words and translations and historical research merge there are many theories on the origin of Zen. I have found one that seems to be so simple yet complex that it is no wonder a flower and a smile are the essence of Zen.
Like all vital traditions, the origins of the School of Zen are shrouded in myth and legend. The whole movement is alleged to have taken its start from Buddha himself. Buddha Shakyamuni was lecturing to a great multitude gathered on Lin-shan or Spirit Mountain. After his lecture, he picked up a flower and held it before his audience without speaking a word. Quite mystified, the whole assembly remained silent, pondering as to what Shakyamuni wished to convey by this unexpected action. Only the Venerable Kashyapa broke into an understanding smile. Shakyamuni was pleased and declared, “I have the secret of the right Dharma-Eye, the ineffably subtle insight into Nirvana which opens the door of mystic vision of the Formless Form, not depending upon words and letters, but transmitted outside of all scriptures.
It is fitting that Zen should have begun with a flower and a smile. This episode, you may say, is too beautiful to be true. Yet it is too beautiful not to be true. The life of Zen does not depend upon historical truth. Whoever has invented the story has caught the very spirit of Zen—a flower that smiles evoking a smile that flowers. Research credits: thezensite.com
So there you have it! Is it any wonder why we are drawn to the beauty of a flower. The answer my friend is not written in the wind …it is just a flower and a smile.
QUOTE:” Flowers are silent, Silence is silent, The mind is a silent flower, The silent flower of the world opens.” —Ikkyu Zenji
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Zen is the Japanese form of the Sanskrit word dhyana, “meditation,” and is a school of Buddhism which has had significant impact in Japan and Europe and America. Founded in China in the 6th century C.E. as the Ch’an school of Mahayana Buddhism, it was exported to Japan in the 12th century C.E. and gradually developed its own unique, indigenous character. The Indian scholar/monk Bodhidharma is traditionally attributed with transferring the tradition from India to China.
The essence of Bodhidharma’s teachings is that one does not need to study sacred texts, worship deities, or do elaborate religious rituals to achieve enlightenment. Rather, one needs to break through the boundaries of conventional thought using meditation and experience the world as it truly is in the moment. Zen maintains that this was the way the Buddha himself attained enlightenment. Zen teaches that all humans have the capacity to attain enlightenment because we all have an inherent Buddha-nature; indeed, we are all already enlightened beings, but our true potential has been clouded by ignorance. Research credits: patheos.com
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Photos of flowers. make a flower collage…and then smile
ZENTRAVELER SAYS: You be the flower grasshopper…now lets see your Zen smile!
From here to Infinity and Beyond is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on. Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free?