Mud Lotus: Wordlessness
Sunday, June 10th, 10 AM – 12 PM
ILLIO, 13 E Tulane Rd, Columbus, Ohio 43202
The way that can be told is not the eternal Way.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and Earth.
-Tao Te Ching
It is said that the Buddha once gave a sermon without a single word. Raising a flower to his students, Shakyamuni Buddha saw a smile cross the face of Mahakashyapa and he knew at least one in the audience understood.
How can a raised flower teach a whole sermon? A raised flower might communicate better than any other method because not everything that can be known, can be explained with language.
In the Zen tradition, it is said that words are like “a finger pointing at the moon.” They may lead us into direct experience with something real but are not the experience itself. Because of this, the Buddha taught in whatever language or idiom might best bring students into connection with their own truth. It is said he taught with “skillful means” adapting the message to bring the listener into a direct experience of reality.
As students of the mystery, we can look for truth everywhere, not just in the words of great teachers. As Zen-master Dogen observed, “Some have entered into the stream of the Buddha’s truth at the invitation of grass, flowers, mountains, and rivers. Some have received and maintained the stamp of Buddha by grasping soil, stones, sand, and pebbles. …the turning of the great Dharma wheel is contained in every molecule” (Shobogenzo, Ch. 1).
What can be known that cannot be said?
What can be spoken aloud about that which is beyond words?
Join us this Sunday to listen to the wordless voice of the universe, together.
*Featured image: Yosemite’s “Tunnel View” from photographer Mike Lee.