Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as the Buddha or the Gautama Buddha, was born as a prince in India sometime between the 6th and the 4th century BCE with the given name Siddhartha Gautama, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. At the age of 29, Siddhartha left the palace to find the answer to people’s sufferings. After six years of dedicated practice, he attained full enlightenment and started to teach the way of liberation for 45 years.
Before his passing, during an assembly, the Buddha held up a flower and showed it to the disciples in silence. No one understood except Maha Kasyapa, who broke out with a smile. Shakyamuni Buddha then announced to all disciples, “What I have is the treasure of the true teaching, the indescribable heart of nirvana, the formless true form. This profound teaching is to be transmitted beyond language and outside of any doctrines or rituals. This I have entrusted to Maha Kasyapa.” This story is known as “the Flower and the Smile”, which initiated the transmission of the Heart Imprint and the lineage of Chan. Maha Kasyapa then became the First Patriarch of Chan.
This is the original and authentic teaching and transmission of the Buddha right before his passing and entering the nirvana after 45 years of teaching. It is the ultimate, direct and indescribable process enabling a disciple to be completely in sync with the heart of the Buddha, and thus be enlightened in a single instance without the need of language or rituals. This heart-to-heart transmission is an unique process for the sustaining and promulgating the teaching of Chan.