On a particular day, Gautama came and sat on the dais. Hundreds of disciples were waiting for him to speak. There was one person in this group who was known as Mahakashyap. The rest of the community there had decided that he was crazy because he never comes and listens to Gautama Buddha’s talks, he never meditates or does anything. He simply sits under a tree like a fool. He is not a smart spiritual man, he simply sits there. Everyone had just given him up as a fool to whom you cannot teach anything.
On this day, Gautama came and sat. He had a flower in his hand. He just went on looking at the flower. People were waiting for him to speak, but he was so engrossed in the flower that he never said a word. Minutes went into hours but he was simply looking at the flower. He never bothered to speak. Suddenly Mahakashyap broke into laughter. He laughed uproariously. Then Gautama looked at Mahakashyap and the rest of the crowd and said, “What I can give in words, I have given you; what I cannot give in words, I have given it to Mahakashyap.” That was the beginning of Zen. There is no science, teaching, scripture, method or practice. You simply sit and wait. When it happens, it happens to you.
Zen is a crazy way, but a very wonderful way because there is absolutely no bondage anywhere. But if Zen has to happen, there has to be a Mahakashyap, there has to be someone who is in that level of perception; otherwise it does not happen.
What happened between Buddha and Mahakashyap is the first recorded moment of what we refer to as Zen in the world. It could have happened so many times before but it did not become a spiritual path as such.
Peace and Love, Jim