The Buddha and The Flower

There is a story about a flower which is well known in the Zen circles. One day the Buddha held up a flower in front of an audience of 1,250 monks and nuns.

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He did not say anything for quite a long time. The audience was perfectly silent. Everyone seemed to be thinking hard, trying to see the meaning behind the Buddha’s gesture. Then suddenly, The Buddha smiled. He smiled because someone in the audience smiled at him and at the flower. The name of that monk was Mahakashyapa. He was the only person who smiled, and the Buddha smiled back and said, “I have a treasure of insight, and I have transmitted it to Mahakashyapa.” That story has been discussed by many generations of Zen students, and people continue to look for its meaning. To me the meaning is quite simple. When someone holds up a flower and shows it to you, he wants you to see it. If you keep thinking, you miss the flower. The person who was not thinking, who was just himself, was able to encounter the flower in depth, and he smiled.

That is the problem of life. IF (emphasis mine) we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.

–Thich Nhat Hanh–

Source:  “Peace Is Every Step”

by Thich Nhat Hanh

Photography ©AmyRose

75 thoughts on “The Buddha and The Flower

  1. Lovely Amy! Oh, can I just kindly ask you if you might have a little extra time to read my little poem on my blog today, I especially thought of you when I published it (even though it is a poem for children). Lots of Love to you sweet Amy!

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      1. Only five? Oh my! Then that makes me a teenager. Besides, time doesn’t really even exist. It’s somethin’ that man thought of to keep track of things. That would make me ageless, old, but nontheless ageless and a teenager at the same time. Oops, I used that time word which isn’t even real. Hehehehehehe

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    1. Bless you, Sreejith. So many are NOT present in the moment, and it really does take discipline in order to live life in this way. It’s easy for me to be in the moment when I am in my gardens. And still, when I do find my mind wandering, I focus on the breath, or bring my attention to the immediate place. Thank you for your comment!!! (((HUGS))) Amy

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      1. You bless me with your words. When I read this, my heart just stilled. Such a powerful message in such simple words. The honor is all mine, believe me, to do what I do. This world needs so much Light and Love … every day my intention is to contribute my share. In Love and Respect, Amy

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    1. It is a practice and a discipline. Every day I find my mind wandering, and every day I bring it back to NOW, to the present. Thank you for your presence today at Petals!!!! (((HUGS))) Amy

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  2. A lovely story, Amy … I know that if I ever felt spiritual enough to want something akin to ‘belief’ in my life, it would to Buddhism I’d turn.

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    1. Thank you, Magaret Rose. I love Zen. It makes sense to me. Though Zen is a way of life, and that is all right with me. I avoid religion and have created my own way of “belief” that I am comfortable with. So glad you enjoyed this!Q!! (((HUGS)))

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  3. Beautiful story and photo Amy. Thank you. After coming across a very angry blogger just now, this brought me back to my middle ground. I think I will hold the intention of using my time on WordPress for inspiration, nourishment and reflection instead of getting overly involved in other people’s business. Val x

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    1. Val, you poor thing. I go to other blogs mainly for photography (which I am passionate about), writing, poetry, and I avoid places that hold controversy. Sometimes you just cannot avoid it, especially in life. YOU made my day, believe me, because it is my intention to have my blog to help the viewer to come back to calm, to center, to rebalance and to drink in beauty and Love. Life is too darn hard sometimes and if I can help you in any way, that is why I am here.

      BIG (((HUGS))) coming your way. Every day I post at least one photo of a flower. A flower in of itself, brings color and beauty and Love into a person’s life. Tomorrow I may be posting a tranquil stream I captured the other day. Being either flower or Nature, the whole purpose here is to uplift and encourage.

      With Love, Amy

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    1. You are SO welcome. I really do my best to match my photography to the words written. It has everything to do with form, color and mood. Bless you for being here!!! With Love, Amy

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  4. Quel magnifique texte Amy, tu as raison, celui qui ne prend pas le temps d’apprécier le temps présent, ne peut profiter de sa vie entièrement. Belle leçon de vie mon amie, je reblog, gros bisous, Gigi 🙂

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    1. Gigi, it is times like these my heart cries that I do not understand French much. I read your words, and some words I do know, yes, and others I intuited. I am honored that you appreciated this post, and I am also very touched that you followed me. Much of my work is photographs, so there won’t be words needed to understand. Merci beaucoup, mon ami. Amour, Amy

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      1. Moi j’ai utilisé le site de traduction pour comprendre ton texte, comme tu viens sur notre Blog, je vais faire l’effort de venir te commenter, désolée si mon commentaire est en français, je ne connais pas assez l’anglais pour te répondre dans ta langue. Bonne soirée, mes amitiés, Gigi 🙂

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  5. Beautiful Amy…whenever we are thinking too much, we are not ourselves…so we miss out what is really important in life, being just to smell the flower. Thanks for the sharing and have a great Friday…big hugs and love, Delvi.

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  6. “That is the problem of life. IF we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything”

    You are so right Amy… As Heraclitus said we can´t step in the same river twice , because we change as the river flows , and so does the river…
    Carpe diem is my motto though… To seize the day and to try to be as happier as possible. Beautiful post and photo, best wishes, Aquileana 😉

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  7. Such a brilliant story and metaphorical language … That’s why I always smile at you and at your charming roses,dear Amy !!! They smile at me and I smile with gratitude in return … {{{ hugs }}} and ♡ (◠‿◠✿) ♡ (◠‿◠✿)

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  8. I’ve always liked that story. My interpretation is similar to that described in this post. It’s a Taoist sort of interpretation. “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao,” that type of thing. In other words, words fail. The beauty of the flower is a reality beyond words. Buddha was trying to make this point, and only one guy figured it out, and smiled. The beauty of the flower went right to his heart. There was no need or room for words.

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    1. Tom, this is what I am truly all about. I keep saying to people that my flowers that I post here, in of themselves, have messages, and they do. They do not speak in words, but in emotion and “telepathy”. I also really thank you for the reblog. I am greatly honored. May your day BE Blessed!!! Love, Amy

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    1. Oh, Liz, now YOU have made my day! I am thrilled you feel as you do. Two other people just about said the same thing. I rely on Spirit to guide me as to what to post, and see? you just proved that what I am doing, is serving a Higher Purpose. Thank you! (((HUGS))),Amy

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      1. Liz, with precious souls who come to Petals like you, there is no way I will stop doing what I am. Bless you for saying what you did to me. Your Golden Words of encouragement are like money in the bank. When I receive the more interest I am paid (in my heart) and the better my work seems to get. Peace, Liz. And Love! Amy

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