When the Great Brahma Heaven King presented Sakayamuni Buddha with a golden lotus, Buddha assembled his disciples on Vulture Peak. Without a word, Buddha raised the golden lotus, poised in between the thumb and forefinger. Among the hundreds and thousands of men and gods, only Mahakasyapa smiled in response.
Buddha said, "I have the Right Dharma-Eye Treasury, the wondrous mind of nirvana, the reality beyond appearance, The Dharma-door of mind to mind transmission has been entrusted to Kasyapa." In the Surangama Sutra, the Buddha said about Kasyapa's enlightened mind: "There is Mahakasyapa in this assembly, dwelling in the samadhi of cessation, having obtained the stillness of a Sound Hearer. He has long since ceased using the mind-organ, and yet he has a perfectly clear knowledge which is not due to the mental process of thinking."
Thus is the Zen mind.
Mahakasyapa (The Venerable Kasyapa, which also means 'light drinking clan', because his body emanated such a light that it almost always drinks up all other light) was the eldest of the Buddha's disciples and the first patriach in Buddhism.
I love the story of Mahakasyapa, particularly the one where, when asked to marry, he said, "The woman I marry must shine with golden light. Unless you find such a woman, I won't marry." Eventually, this woman came along, and they did get married. With good karma, their bodies were luminous with golden light, and they carried and investigated the Way together, until Mahakasyapa left home to become a monk. His wife also became a nun, who would then be known as Purple and Golden Light.
Mystery and knowing in silence. How beautiful! I was guided today to share this story from the sutra. May you be able to listen to the unspoken undercurrent of awakening.
Every time you think you have understood zen, you open up your palm and you won't find it there.
SHUNYATA ➰ NO·THINGNESS ➰