In the Zen/Chan Buddhist tradition, there is an emphasis on cultivating and transmitting of Mind beyond forms. In the actual happening of such incidences, the knowledge/experience/realization of the teacher is transmitted directly to the student without the aid of words. Such was the attempt of the Buddha when asked by his prominent disciple Subhuti in this part of the Diamond Sutra.
Subhuti asked, for those who make their intention to realize full enlightenment, how to subdue their mind? and where to abide? The Buddha replied, the mind should thus abide and be subdued. . However, Subhuti did not receive (the non-verbal transmission of the Mind), and followed up saying that he was ready to hear further (the teachings).
In another occasion, in the beginning of another Buddha’s assembly, when everyone was waiting for, and anticipating the Buddha to start speaking, the Buddha raised his hand holding a lotus flower. Everyone was confused, but the first Patriarch of Zen/Chan Buddhism, Mahakasyapa, smile back to the Buddha. Such was the first incidence of Zen/Chan’s direct transmission of Mind.
The Zen/Chan non-verbal transmission, therefore, represents the final stroke of awakening often after prolonged period of study, preparation, and practice. It is not to be imitated by beginning practitioners, nor can be it imitated successfully. There is so much truth words and teachings can convey, and beyond that, lies upon the blessings of oneself, the teacher and the universe.
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SUBHUTI’S REQUEST, TWO
At the time, the elder Subhuti who was in the assembly, rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt upon his right knee, respectfully joined the palms of his hands and said to the Buddha: “It is very rare, O World Honoured One! how well the Tathagata protects and thinks of all Bodhisattvas; how well He instructs all the Bodhisattvas. O World Honoured One, when virtuous men or women develop the supreme-enlightenment mind, how should their minds abide and how should they be subdued?”
The Buddha said: “Excellent, excellent, Subhuti! “As you say, the Tathagata protects, cherishes and instructs Bodhisattvas so well. Now listen attentively and I will tell you how the minds of virtuous men and women, who develop the supreme enlightenment mind, should thus abide and be subdued.”
(Subhuti replied:) “Oh yes, World Honored One, I shall be glad to hear (your instruction).”