Archive for November, 2010

Nobody knows the real heir of Buddha

November 7, 2010

Buddha comes one day with a flower in his hand, and sits silently. Minutes pass; then the hour is passing and everybody is worried, uncomfortable, uneasy: “Why is he not speaking?” He has never done that before. And he goes on looking at the flower as if he has completely forgotten the thousands of people who have gathered to listen to him. And then one disciple, Mahakashyap, starts laughing, a belly laugh. Amidst that hushed silence his laughter spreads. Buddha looks at him. He calls him close, gives him the flower and says, “Whatsoever I could say through words I have told to you, and whatsoever I cannot say through the words, I transfer it to Mahakashyap” — to a laughing Mahakashyap. To laughter Buddha gives his heritage? But Mahakashyap disappears. Those serious people who could not understand became the mamipulators. When Buddha is gone, nobody hears anything about Mahakashyap. But what happened to Mahakashyap, to whom Buddha had given the most secret message: that which cannot be delivered through words, that which can only be delivered and received in silence and laughter, that which can only be given by tremendous silence to tremendous laughter? What happened to Mahakashyap? In Buddhist scriptures, nothing is mentioned — only this solitary anecdote, that’s all. When Buddha is gone, Mahakashyap is forgotten; then serious long-faces start organizing. Who will listen to the laughter? And Mahakashyap will recede back. Why bother? — these serious people are fighting so much that a man who loves laughing will get out of this mad mob of competitors: “Who is going to be the head of the Buddha sangha, of the Order of Buddha?” — and politics enters, and fighting, and voting, and everything. Mahakashyap is simply lost. Where did he die? — nobody knows. Nobody knows the real heir of Buddha. Many centuries, almost six centuries pass; then another man, Bodhidharma, reaches China. Again Mahakashyap’s name is heard, because Bodhidharma says, “I’m not a follower of the organized Buddhist religion. I have received my message through a direct line of Masters. It started with Buddha giving a flower to Mahakashyapa, and I am the sixth.” Who were the other
four in between? — but it became a secret thing. When mad people become too ambitious and politics becomes strong, laughter goes secret. It becomes a private, intimate relationship. Silently, Mahakashyap must have delivered his message to somebody, and then he to somebody else, and he to Bodhidharma.