Mon Buddha Head, 7/8th Century, Burma/Myanmar
Images of Truth
Let go of the past, let go of the future, let go of the present, and cross over to the farther shore of existence. With mind wholly liberated, you shall come no more to birth and death.
The Mon kingdom ruled in what is now Myanmar, from 9th - 11th century. Buddha images of this period were made using alabaster, bronze and stone.
348. Let go of the past, let go of the future, let go of the present, and cross over to the farther shore of existence. With mind wholly liberated, you shall come no more to birth and death.
One day an eminent scholar monk called Tokusan stopped to buy some dumplings from a wayside seller. The old woman eyed his monk’s robes and the large pack on his back and asked him what he carried in it?
‘Oh”, came the reply, “It is a commentary on the Diamond sutra. The old woman asked what this commentary had to say about the sutra? Tokusan chuckled saying that it was probably a bit too advanced for her ears!
The old woman shrugged and said: “As I understand it there is a quote from the sutra that says The heart of the past has gone, the heart of the future is not yet here and the heart of the present is an illusion. If you can tell me, in that case, with which heart you will eat your snack, I will give these dumplings to you for free!”
Tokusan was astounded at this, and despite his earlier condescending attitude to her recognised that she knew a thing or two. He was also humble enough to realise that despite all his scholarly learning he had not understood the sutra’s message.
In time he went on to become a great Zen master in his own right.
Image copyright to John Eskenazi.
Images of Truth
Buddhist art and iconography
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