It's all "silent transmission"
"The Flower Sermon," Mahākāśyapa, and you
Unique to Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism is the legend of a “silent transmission” of wisdom (prajñā) passed wordlessly from Gautama Buddha to his disciple, Mahākāśyapa. The story of the Buddha’s “Flower Sermon” seems first to have appeared in the eleventh century, during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), to substantiate the distinctive nature of the Chinese Ch’an tradition. According to the tale, one day the Buddha, in lieu of a spoken instruction, merely holds up a white flower (some say it was a lotus) before the company of his disciples (sangha). Only one disciple – Mahākāśyapa – “gets it,” and he smiles at the Buddha in acknowledgment. A “transmission” has occurred, without words, from master to pupil. Something has been communicated, some realization that cannot be articulated without, in the process, contaminating its purity. In Buddhist terminology, what has been encountered is an awareness of tathātā (“thusness” or “suchness”), which transcends the subject-object divide and cannot be reduced to concepts and words. It is essentially nonverbal. The Buddha affirms this silent transmission by pronouncing:
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