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poetry

Spiritual Survival Kit

Spring-Vinca

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.