Zen Koan #37: Parable of Publishing the Sutras – Buddhist Teaching on Silence and Simplicity

Zen Koan #37: Parable of Publishing the Sutras - Buddhist Teaching on Silence and Simplicity Zen Buddhism is not a religion according to the dictionary meaning of the word religion for the reason that it has no center in god, as is the case in all other religions. Rigorously verbalizing, Zen Buddhism is a system of philosophy co-ordinated with a code of morality, physical and pyretic. The goal in view is the extinction of suffering and death. To be attached to the one can either take the form of pure materialism or monotheism.

Like those who have narrow views and only optically discern what is in front of their ocular perceivers, it is a shallow and circumscribed perspective. However, for the reason that you have a concept of emptiness, your mind is still subtly present. This is for the reason that in the reality of totality, there is no gain and no loss. Many psychological traits were associated with having longer telomeres, including greater mindfulness skills, life satisfaction, and subjective happiness.

How do you return to the root? By letting go of all words, thoughts, eliminating all grasping, and rejection. If you spend your time hoping that a pleasant experience will return, or trying to avoid pain, you will become more aware of the passing of time. A tree should be watered very gradually as it is growing.

Zen Koan: “Publishing the Sutras” Parable

Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras, which at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking.

Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold, but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.

It happened that at that time the Uji Rive overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.

Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collected, to help his people. For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.

The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutras, and that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.

Buddhist Insight on Silence and Simplicity

Buddhists maintain the freedom of the individual to choose. You could look into the situation in terms of cause and effect and gain some understanding of it through simplicity. In that, way much that is to be surpassed will be transcended and good dharma that are true and superb will be established. The intention is gentle, silence, but the practice is very harsh. The British meditation teacher Christina Feldman writes in The Buddhist Path to Simplicity,

In the search for simplicity we can learn to explore the space between thoughts. Listening closely to our mind, the thoughts begin to slow down. We discover that just as the out-breath is followed by a pause before the in-breath, there is also space between the thoughts. We learn to seek the gaps – the space between sounds, between sensations, between thoughts, and to explore the nature of these gaps. The gaps are the home of the mind, the limitless silence of the mind. Thoughts arise in that silence and fall back into silence. Exploring the nature of silence we begin to understand that it is not dependent on the absence of thought but is the prevailing sound that permeates all thought. Silence is profoundly simple – resisting nothing, wanting nothing, lacking in nothing yet present and complete in all moments.

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