Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dharma for the Deaf ("The Flower Sermon")

Students at the sign language class have undergone a transformation. Before the end of each session, students chant Buddhist sutras in sign language (Sin Chew Daily).

KUALA LUMPUR () - In the silent world, due to the lack of verbal communication, the deaf and mute are usually isolated from society, even in their own families. Nevertheless, students from an organization known as "Dharma for the Deaf" aim to inform the public that through visual language and actions the deaf and mute are not a weak community but have the ability to help those who are unfortunate too. These students are not well educated nor do they have high-income jobs; they may come from impoverished families. However, they are willing to spend their time on charity in a bid to raise funds for those who are needy. More>>

“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”
- St. Francis (Spanish, San Francisco) of Assisi

The Flower Sermon
Famous (apocryphal) Mahayana work
Toward the end of his life, the Buddha reputedly took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha’s disciples sat in a small circle around him and waited for the instruction.

But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck of the pond and pulled up a lotus flower. He held it silently before them, its roots dripping with mud and water.

The disciples were very confused. The Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each one of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound on the meaning of the flower: what it symbolized and how it fit into the body of the Buddha’s teaching.

When at last the Buddha came to Mahakasyapa (Maha Kassapa), the disciple suddenly understood. He smiled and began to laugh. The Buddha handed the lotus to Mahakasyapa and spoke:

“What can be said I have said to you,” smiled the Buddha, “and what cannot be said, I have given to Mahakashyapa.” Mahakashyapa became something of a successor from that day forward.

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