12 April 2006


            Why The Buddha Smiles

            Shen Hsiu the senior monk rises from meditation
            And writes this on the monastery wall:

              The body is the tree of enlightenment
              The mind is the bright mirror that stands before it
              Take care to wipe it constantly
              Let not the dust settle

            Hui Neng the kitchen boy rises from his sleep
            reads the wall and in reply he writes:

              There never was a tree of enlightenment
              Nor any bright mirror standing
              Since all is empty
              Where is dust to settle?
    posted by Gilbert at Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    7 Comments:

    Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

    More on Hui Neng & Shen Hsiu
    here.

    April 12, 2006  
    Blogger dreamer idiot said...

    Read the notes, Wow

    Pardon my ignorance, but is nothingness the enlightened state mainly for Zen Buddhism, while the popular form of Buddhism practised has enlightenment in a different form?

    April 12, 2006  
    Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

    Ah no, BLISS is the enlightened state, arising out of the awareness of NOTHING ...

    I think that Zen Buddhism and mainstream Buddhism have a consensus on that ...

    the differences are in the way they get there ... Zen has that special element of attempting to shake up your conception of "reality" with its mindbending surprises like -

    "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

    April 13, 2006  
    Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

    Actually I conceived of yet another stanza for the poem, but I excluded it, because it's not true to the original story.

    This additional piece of enlightenment from yours truly. :P

    "Since all is empty
    Then what is the meaning of dust?"

    April 13, 2006  
    Blogger M.G. said...

    The characteristic of impermanance makes all phenomenons to be fast-changing; but definitely not annihilistic.

    Dust or not, simply due to one's perception.

    Disciples of Lord Buddha should understand that the buddhist life is more than just chanting or prostrating. But to affect change in our perception in life and a spiritually and morally upright lifestyle.

    "To see problems as the cultivation of Bodhi"

    April 13, 2006  
    Blogger prayingbudda said...

    i don't know what it is about your poems that never fail to make me smile. there's just this element of complexity that you're able to bring out through the simplicity of each poem. it was truly my privilege to learn about your blog.

    April 13, 2006  
    Blogger Gilbert Koh said...

    Thank you, budda. Hope you come back often and enjoy more poems.

    April 16, 2006  

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