September 20-C, 2022

Heron At Sunset 01/25/2013 Detail Oil Paint Rendered — Lake Brandt Greenway, Bur-Mill Park, Greensboro, North Carolina
The heart of Buddhism is
"You have to know what I mean
before you can understand what I am saying."

It is called "Buddha Mind,"
by which Buddha communes with Buddha
by way of the connection which is there
before he speaks.

Thus, Mahākāśyapa smiled 
when the Buddha held up a lotus flower,
because his understanding was evoked
by the sight of the flower,
and it was there to be evoked
before the flower was raised.

"You have to know what I mean
before you can understand what I am saying"
is entry level stuff for all spiritual teaching.
"When the flower opens,
the bees appear,"
because the bees know what's what,
and no one has to explain it to them,
or tell them what it means that the flower is open.

Anyone who asks, "What does it mean?",
as many of Jesus' disciples did
("Lord, how can we know?"),
is to not have what it takes to understand,
because explanations and definitions
can never communicate what is beyond words.

And we are back to Heinrich Zimmer's observation
that "the best things cannot be said,"
because there are no words to say
what can only be intuited/sensed/known--
which leaves us with talking about
what cannot be said,
and getting nowhere.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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