A monk asked Tozan, “What is the nature of Buddha?”
Tozan answered, “Three pounds of flax.”
Tozan was an enlightened Zen master, who was well aware of the nature of Buddha. His answer was fully formed and given the context is pregnant with meaning. The act that Tozan was involved in, when the question was posed by the monk, was the measurement of flax. In his enlightened state, Tozan experienced Buddha in every moment. Such is supposedly the nature of enlightenment – once you achieve it, you experience it for all the remaining moments of your existence, regardless of what you are doing at any given point of time. Tozan was in the moment, measuring flax. His mind was not elsewhere, neither in time nor in space; neither reflecting on his past nor contemplating his future.
Thus Tozan tell us that the nature of Buddha is to be completely engrossed in the present moment, not looking forward or backwards.
– Musings of the deranged bard
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