"Buddha's Flower Sermon "

"Toward the end of his life, the Buddha took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha’s followers sat in a small circle around him, and waited for the teaching.

But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck and pulled up a lotus flower. And he held it silently before them, its roots dripping mud and water.

The disciples were greatly confused. Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbolized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha’s teaching.

When at last the Buddha came to Mahakasyapa, the disciple smiled, bowed to the Buddha, and said, “I understand”.

And thus, a special transmission of the dharma was given to Mahakasyapa, who Zen Buddhists attribute as the first patriarch of Zen.
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