Despite being orthodox Buddhism, albeit present in an unorthodox manner, the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, seldom appears in our koan curriculum. In fact, one can go for years without hearing anything about the Buddha’s life prior to his Awakening. In this talk Paul Maloney, roshi gives a brief overview of the various practices that the Bodhisattva Siddhartha undertook, over several years, until he found the middle way. He then isolated himself in a forest, spread his robe on the ground, and sat down, vowing not to stand up until he either died or found Nibbana. It was this practice that culminated in the Awakening that transformed him into the Buddha of the present age.
This teisho was given on day 2 of the Rohatsu sesshin in December 2018 – to celebrate the Buddha’s awakening.