Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Greatest Teaching

The following is a popular Zen story:

A renowned Zen master said that his greatest teaching was this: Buddha is your own mind. So impressed by how profound this idea was, one monk decided to leave the monastery and retreat to the wilderness to meditate on this insight. There he spent 20 years as a hermit probing the great teaching. One day he met another monk who was traveling through the forest. Quickly the hermit monk learned that the traveler also had studied under the same Zen master. “Please, tell me what you know of the master's greatest teaching.” The traveler's eyes lit up and he replied, “Ah, the master has been very clear about this. He says that his greatest teaching is this: Buddha is NOT your own mind.”

This is a great lesson.  As the Bodhidharma taught, "There is no Buddha outside of this mind."  In my interpretation of the story given above, there are two truths.  When we are not mindful, or our mind is attached to material things and desire, the Buddha is not our mind.  Likewise, when we look into our Buddha-self, we are mindful and not attached to the material reality, being free of desire and suffering; hence, "Buddha is your own mind."

(The story above, and many other Zen stories can be found on my Links page under 160 Zen Stories

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