Spiritual Survival Kit


A lighter, some rice,

the Buddha lifts a flower–

smiles Enlightenment.

According to a classic text attributed to Japanese Soto Zen Master Keizan Jokin (1268-1325), The Transmission of the Light (Denkoroku), one day the Buddha silently raised a lotus blossom and blinked his eyes. At this, Mahakasyapa smiled. The Buddha said, “I have the treasury of the eye of truth, the ineffable mind of Nirvana. These I entrust to Kasyapa.”

–from The Disciple Kasyapa

Two Leelas of the Transmission of Enlightenment from Divine Distraction, pages 144-45, by James Steinberg

In the early spring of 1974, when I had been associated with the Way of the Heart for less than a year, I was Blessed to sit with Him, along with seven or eight of His other devotees, in Temple Eleutherios at The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary. It was a period in which His devotees regularly asked questions of Da Avabhasa, and He, seated on His Chair, a small dais at the front of the room, was Graciously responding. I was seated on the floor perhaps ten feet from Him. I was curious about a famous traditional story of the Buddha’s Transmission, and so I asked: ‘Is it possible that the Buddha could have Enlightened Kashyapa only by holding up a flower?’

It was a simple moment, probably not even noticed by most of the other devotees in room, during this rather wild period in the history of our Communion. Heart-Master Da Gave me a big smile, and His eyes then got very large. That is all I remember–until about a minute later when my mind returned. Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda was no longer looking at me.

It took me a moment to piece to together what had just happened. First I remembered that I was a person, and then that l was sitting there in the Temple at The Mountain Of Attention, and then finally I remembered that I had asked Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda a question about whether the Buddha could have Enlightened Kashyapa by his glance alone.

Da Avabhasa’s Glance had plunged me instantaneously into samadhi. Sri Gurudev had answered my question by Granting His Enlightened Transmission directly! Unlike Kashyapa in the traditional story, I was not then prepared to make my Sat-Guru’s Transmission the basis of my moment to moment practice. But I had been clearly shown that Heart-Master Da’s Glance Transmits the Enlightened Disposition beyond any limitation of the body-mind.

Some years later, in the summer of 1980, I happened to mention Kashyapa once again to Heart-Master Da. Sri Gurudev and a few of His other devotees had gathered in a small room in Bright Behind Me, which at that time was Heart-Master Da’s Residence at the Mountain Of Attention. Some remark reminded me of the story, and I blurted out, ‘Master Da, that is like the time the Buddha Enlightened Kashyapa.’ Heart-Master Da Love-Ananda was looking at another part of the room. He turned His head toward me and, smiling looked me in the eyes. Again, a few moments later, when my mind returned, I realized that Sri Da Avabhasa’s Truth had been made directly Obvious to me by His Gaze alone.