00242 The Story of the First Zen Patriarch -- Mahakasyapa
00242 The Story of the First Zen Patriarch -- Mahakasyapa
No. 00242
Category / Between Master and Disciples-story
Event date / 19870705
Place / Taipei,Formosa
Language / Chinese
Time (mins) / 69
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  • Summary
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Supreme Master tells a story of the first Zen Patriarch Mahakasyapa, one of the ten great disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha. Without him compiling and organizing the scriptures, there would be no Buddhism today, and we would not know who Shakyamuni were. We should be grateful to him and Ananda because we are in deep debt to them. That’s why we are telling the stories about them, and hopefully we will make up our minds to start spiritual practice through these stories.

One day, Shakyamuni Buddha was holding a lotus in his hand in an assembly in Vulture Peak. At that time, none of the public knew what this gesture meant. Only Mahakasyapa smiled knowingly. Why? What did Shakyamuni passed on to Mahakasyapa? What was in Buddha’s mind when he passed it only on to Mahakasyapa, instead of others? What was the difference of the level of Mahakasyapa from that of the Buddha? Shakyamuni Buddha recited a poem for Mahakasyapa: ‘This method is not a method; it is one without form. Yet even a formless method is a method.’ Why was this ‘formless method’impossble for the non-initiates to understand?