17 Apr The Flower Sermon
(Excerpt from the Introduction of Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, expounded by Master Shen-Long, pg.18)
The First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism is Mahakasyapa.
In regards to Mahakasyapa, we all know the gong-an (a study case used in Zen practice) of the ‘Flower Sermon’, an assembly at Vulture Peak where Shakyamuni Buddha silently held up a white flower and just admired it in his hand. The Buddha expounds teachings to millions of humans and devas, however this time he does not open his mouth to speak a word. There was no realization, only Mahakasyapa breaks into a faint smile, and then Shakyamuni Buddha affirmed him by saying:
“The true Dharma eye of mine which thoroughly sees the hidden truth in all; this great enlightenment state is the indescribable Buddha mind of nirvana–this I entrust to you.”
This is the gong-an of the Zen School, a gong-an for all eternity–‘the Flower Sermon’, lies in its unspoken meaning as all is understood, and no words
Then what is Mahakasyapa’s moment of enlightenment?
That is only for both Mahakasyapa and Shakyamuni Buddha to know. This is the attainment state of Tathagata.
禪宗第一代祖師摩訶迦釋,我們都知道「拈花微笑」這公案,靈鷲山一會,拈花微笑,釋迦摩尼佛僧眾說法, 人天百萬, 佛並沒有開一個口, 說一個字,只有大迦釋尊者,破顏微笑。世尊說: 『吾有正法眼藏, 涅槃妙心, 今付諸於你。』
這是禪宗公案, 千古公案 – 「拈花微笑」,意在不言之中。