Three Pounds of Flax

A monk asked Tozan, "What is Buddha?" Tozan answered, "Three pounds of flax."

Tozan was asked "what is Buddha?" while he was working. He immediately raised the bundle of flax (which weighed three pounds) that he had in his hand at the time. Many think a Buddha is some superior being, different from ordinary people. Tozan destroys this fixed image by demonstrating things as they are. Buddha is Nyorai, or Tathagata, which means "thus come." D.T. Suzuki called it "suchness" or "thusness." "What is Buddha? Three pounds of flax." The answer is immediate - no artificiality, no human thinking. All things, all beings are Buddhas themselves, true, independent, and free.


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