Preaching from the Third Seat

Gyosan dreamed he went to Maitreya's Pure Land. He arrived late, and only the third seat (a place of highest honour close to the future Buddha) was available. So he sat there. He heard the senior monk announce, "Today, the one who sits in the third seat will preach." Gyosan arose and, hitting the gavel, said, "The truth of Mahayana teaching is transcendent, above words and thought. Do you understand?'

Philosophers and theologians always analyse and argue about truth. This represents only explaining and conceptualising. The true teaching of the Mahayana school of Buddhism (to which Zen belongs) is non-attachment, transcending words and thought. Life is not a concept but an actuality - here, now. The Mahayana teaching that Gyosan preaches points to this reality. One must experience it by one's entire life.


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