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Nenge Misho Holding A Flower A Gentle Smile Brushed In Gyosho
Nadja Van Ghelue
Painting - Ink On Rice Paper
The essence of Zen Buddhism lies in the direct transmission of Buddha Sakyamuni's enlightenment to his followers. The Japanese Zen phrase Nenge Misho or "Holding a flower, a gentle smile," embodies this direct transmission of Enlightenment from master to disciple, from mind to mind.
The beginning of this direct transmission of the Dharma is recorded in the following story:
One day Buddha Shakyamuni was staying at Mount Grdhrakuta. The whole assembly of followers was waiting for the Buddha to give a talk, but instead the Buddha turned a flower in his fingers. The whole audience kept silent and only the head disciple Mahakasyapa (Jap. Maha Kasho) smiled.
The Buddha then said:
"I have the all-pervading True Dharma, incomparable Nirvana, exquisite teaching of formless form. It does not rely on letters and is transmitted outside scriptures. I now hand it to Maha Kasho." (translation from the book 'The Gateless Barrier, Zen Comments On The Mumonkan', by Zenkei Shibayama )
I love the Zen saying Nenge Misho, because its magic expresses the beauty of awakening to the deepest truth of our being, with a flower and a smile.
The kanji for Nenge Misho are:
微 subtle, gentle
November 17th, 2014
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