- St. Francis (Spanish, San Francisco) of Assisi
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.