Practice at Ordinary Mind Zendo. Foregrounding expression over training. Barry Magid December 6th 2014

On December 8th, when the Crown Prince Shakyamuni was nineteen years of age, he decided to make some excursions from his home, wondering what he might see. In the course of taking walks through the four gates he saw four things: an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and an ascetic which deeply stirred him. He said to himself, "Old age, sickness, and death, must ultimately be rejected." In the middle of that night a heavenly being named Pure Dwelling appeared at the Crown Prince's window, saluted him, and said "The time for your renunciation is at hand. You must leave your home." Hearing this, the Crown Prince was overwhelmed with joy and crossed the boundary of the castle to Kashir Mountains to seek the way of freedom from suffering.

For the first three years he studied the samadhi of non-action but he found it no good and gave it up. For the next three years he studied the samadhi of non-thinking but this too was no good and he gave it up. Then he went to Gaya Mountain and spent the next six years practicing ascetic disciplines together with many heretics wearing sackcloth and eating but a little rye each day. It is said in a sutra that by having no intention and no action he was able to subdue many heretics, and when wrong teachings existed he was able to show many skillful means, allowing people to develop different ideas and awaken to enlightenment.

Now it is said that on December 8th, at that moment of dawn when the morning star arose, the Bodhisattva became a Buddha, teacher of gods and men. He was thirty years of age.

The Transmission of the Lamp

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