Silver Bowl Heaped with Snow

A monk asked Haryo, "Just what is this Deva Religion?" Haryo replied, "Snow is heaped inside the silver bowl."

"Deva Religion" identifies the teaching of Kana-deva, the fifteenth patriarch following the Buddha, who stressed the Buddha Mind or Void. This teaching described reality as: essence, manifestation, function. The monk's question in this koan can be read as: "What is Zen?" Snow heaped inside a silver bowl, a white heron in the bright moonlight - they look alike; they are hard to distinguish from each other, but they are different. Each has its own life. Zen could be described, also, as essence, manifestation, and function. But if one sees only this aspect, one does not see Zen. Yet, each is Zen. The universal is particular, the particular is universal. Eternity is moment: the eternal moment. Love is universal but expressed in concrete acts. Zen is the totality of life. But each act of living is the absolute total life itself.


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