Hot Buddha



At 7:23 am, with the temperature already in the mid-80’s and humidity over 70%, I can think of no better teaching than this one from Larry Rosenberg, the meditation master of Cambridge, Ma. Larry is a guiding teacher at theCambridge Insight Meditation Center, and he’s known for his salty, down-to-earth wisdom.

This priceless teaching appeared in a recent newsletter from CIMC:

“I was in Zen for 10 years and was given the following koan:

A student asks an ancient Chinese meditation master, “How do you practice when it’s very hot or when it’s very cold?”


Answers given over 100’s of years range from,


Kill Hot! Kill Cold!


In the summer, the Buddha sweats.

In the winter, the Buddha shivers.


When given this koan, I wondered, “What in the world are they talking about?”


After many failed and humiliating attempts to answer and not knowing the above answers, I came to an interview took out my handkerchief wiped my brow and bowed.


My teacher smiled bowed, back and said, “Very good.”


Hint: Even if I did know one of the answers mentioned above, it would not necessarily be approved of, being merely like the “punch line” to a well known joke. The teacher looks to see if you are 100% hot, intimate with hot, JUST hot!   No aggravating ideas about hot which separate us from the raw, naked experience just unpleasant sensations without torment.


This gift of dharma teaching is offered to help you live with some ease for the remainder of the summer season.”

– Larry Rosenberg, Cambridge Insight Meditation Center.

If you’d like to listen to Larry’s wonderful talk on this theme, click on:Hot Buddha, Cold Buddha.


Originally published on June 22, 2011