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The birth of Zen



There is a story from the life of Buddha and Mahakashyap. It pertains to the birth of Zen. One day, Buddha came to the evening sermon with a flower in his hand. It was a special flower, a very rare flower that had bloomed out of season. And the person who found it, turned down the king and the chief minister of the kingdom so that he could give it to Buddha. 

Buddha brought the flower to the sermon and instead of speaking, stayed silent. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 2 hours ... even the senior students became confused and frustrated. People who had come to see him from far and wide were confused beyond measure. Why does Buddha not speak? What should we do? Should we speak up? Should we ask him if he does not want to speak today? 

Buddha kept of looking at the flower. And suddenly a loud laughter was heard ... it was Mahakashyap. He understood that Buddha had been teaching them all to find wisdom in silence, but when he demonstrated it, everyone got frustrated. The paradox made him laugh out loud. Buddha then invited Mahakashyap to the fore of the gathering and gave him the flower. Zen, was born in laughter, and Mahakashyap became its first steward. 

The story of Mahakashyap's enlightenment is also interesting and like the birth of Zen, it too occurred in laughter. 

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