Tu Viện Quảng Đức105 Lynch Rd, Fawkner, Vic 3060. Australia. Tel: 9357 3544. quangduc@quangduc.com* Viện Chủ: HT Tâm Phương, Trụ Trì: TT Nguyên Tạng   

Bodhidharma (483-540 AD)

17/01/201105:34(Xem: 6131)
Bodhidharma (483-540 AD)

Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma

Born: 483 AD, India

Died: 540 AD, Shaolin Monastery, Zhengzhou, China

 

Over one thousand five hundred years ago in China, there lived an emperor named Wu. He was a great patron of Buddhism and he dearly wanted a great Buddhist teacher from India to come and spread the message of Buddhism. He set in motion elaborate work to see that Buddhism spread to the people of his land. These preparations went on for many years and the emperor waited and waited, but no teacher came.

Then one day, when the emperor was over sixty years old, a message was sent across that two great, fully enlightened teachers would cross the Himalayas and come and spread the message in China. There was great excitement and the emperor prepared a big celebration in anticipation of their arrival. After a few months of waiting, two people appeared at the border of the Chinese kingdom. They were Bodhi Dharma and one of his disciples.

Bodhidharma: Messenger to China

Bodhidharma was born a prince in the Pallava Kingdom in South India. He was the son of the king of Kanchipuram, but at an early age, he left his kingdom and princehood and became a monk. At the age of twenty-two he was fully enlightened, and that was when he was sent as a messenger to China. The moment the news of his arrival came, Emperor Wu himself came to the borders of his empire and set up a huge reception and waited.

When these monks came, weary from the long travel, Emperor Wu looked at the two of them and was greatly disappointed. He was told that an enlightened being would be coming and was expecting something, but this was a mere boy of twenty-two years. Worn by the travel of a few months in the mountains, Bodhidharma was really not looking very impressive.

The emperor was disappointed but he contained his disappointment and welcomed the two monks. He invited them into his camp and offered them a seat and food. Then, at the first opportunity he got, Emperor Wu asked Bodhi Dharma, “Can I ask you a question?”

Bodhidharma said, “By all means.”

Emperor Wu asked, “What is the source of this creation?”

Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma looked at him, laughed, and said, “What kind of foolish question is that? Ask something else.”

 

Emperor Wu was extremely offended. He had a whole list of questions to ask Bodhidharma, questions that he thought were deep and profound. He had held many debates and discussions about this particular question, and now this fool of a boy who came from nowhere just dismissed it as a foolish question. He was offended and angry but he contained himself and said, “Okay, I will ask you a second question. What is the source of my existence?”

 

Now Bodhidharma laughed even louder and said, “This is an utterly stupid question. Ask something else.” If the emperor had asked about the weather in India or about Bodhidharma’s health, Bodhidharma would have answered. But this man was asking, “What is the source of creation? What is the source of who I am?” He brushed this off.

 

It was Bodhi Dharma who brought Zen to China.

Now Emperor Wu became really angry but he contained himself and asked the third question. He made a list of all the good things that he had done in his life – how many people he had fed, how many things he had done, all the charity that he had given and finally he said, “To spread the dharma, to spread Buddha’s message, I have built so many meditation halls, hundreds of gardens, and trained thousands of translators. I have made all these arrangements. Will I get mukti?”

 

Now Bodhidharma became serious. He stood up and glared down at the emperor with his huge big eyes and said, “What? You! Mukti? You will burn in the seventh hell.”

 

What he meant was, according to the Buddhist way of life, there are seven layers of the mind. Instead of just doing what is needed, if a man does something and then keeps accounts of it, “How much I have done for somebody,” he is in the lowest level of the mind and he will inevitably suffer because he is expecting people to be nice to him in return for his deeds. If they are not nice to him, he will be mentally tortured and it will be a seventh hell.

But Emperor Wu did not understand any of this. He flew into a rage and threw Bodhidharma out of his empire. For Bodhidharma, it made no difference – in or out. It doesn’t matter whether it is a kingdom or a mountain; he carried on with his journey. But Emperor Wu missed the only opportunity of his life.

 

Bodhidharma: The first Zen master

It was Bodhidharma who brought Zen to China. Gautama the Buddha taught Dhyan or meditation. Hundreds of years later, Bodhidharma transported Dhyan to China where it became Chan. This Chan went further down to Indonesia, Japan, and other far east Asian countries, where it became Zen.

Bodhidharma went into the mountains where he gathered a few disciples, and they would meditate in the mountain caves

After he was sent out of the empire by Emperor Wu, Bodhidharma went into the mountains. There he gathered a few disciples, and they would meditate in the mountain caves. For a meditator, the biggest enemy is sleep. The legend says that Bodhi Dharma once fell asleep while in meditation and was so furious that he cut off his eyelids. His eyelids fell to the ground and became the first tea plant. Tea was thereafter supplied to the monks as a protection against sleep.

Where does this legend come from? The hill that Bodhidharma resided in after his encounter with the emperor was known as Tai or Chai. When they went there, the monks probably found certain leaves which Bodhidharma discovered could be boiled in water and drunk to stay awake. They could then sit and meditate the whole night; and that was how tea or chai was discovered.

Bodhidharma, Chinese Putidamo, Japanese Daruma, (flourished 6th century CE), Buddhist monk who, according to tradition, is credited with establishing the Zen branch of Mahayana Buddhism.

 

The accounts of Bodhidharma’s life are largely legendary, and historical sources are practically nonexistent. Two very brief contemporary accounts disagree on his age (one claiming that he was 150 years old, the other depicting him as much younger) and nationality (one identifies him as Persian, the other as South Indian). The first biography of Bodhidharma was a brief text written by the Chinese monk Daoxuan (flourished 7th century) about a century after Bodhidharma’s death. As his legend grew, Bodhidharma was credited with the teaching that meditation was a return to the Buddha’s precepts. He was also credited with aiding the monks of Shaolin Monastery—famous for their prowess in the martial arts—in meditation and training. During the Tang dynasty (618–907), he came to be regarded as the first patriarch of the tradition that was subsequently known as Chan in China, Zen in Japan, Sŏn in Korean, and Thien in Vietnam. Those names correspond to the pronunciation of the Sanskrit word dhyana (“meditation”) in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, respectively. Bodhidharma was also considered to be the 28th Indian patriarch in a direct line of transmission from the Buddha.

Most traditional accounts state that Bodhidharma was a South Indian dhyana master, possibly a Brahman, who traveled to China perhaps in the late 5th century. About 520 he was granted an interview with the Nan (Southern) Liang emperor Wudi, who was noted for his good works. According to a famous story about their meeting, the emperor inquired how much merit (positive karma) he had accrued by building Buddhist monasteries and temples. To the emperor’s dismay, Bodhidharma stated that good works performed with the intention of accumulating merit were without value, as they would result in favourable rebirths but would not bring about enlightenment. Another story states that, soon after meeting the emperor, Bodhidharma went to a monastery in Luoyang, where he spent nine years staring at a cave wall in intense concentration. Still another states that, in a fit of anger after repeatedly falling asleep while attempting to practice meditation, he cut off his eyelids. (This is one reason why he was often portrayed in art with an intense wide-eyed stare.) Upon touching the ground, they sprung up as the first tea plant. The first two of these legends are like others that seem intended to offer instruction in religious truths or in the importance of concentration in religious practice. The third provided a folkloric basis for the traditional practice among Zen monks of drinking strong tea in order to stay awake during meditation. It also provided an account of the introduction of tea into East Asia.

 

Appearance after his Death

Three years after Bodhidharma's Death, Ambassador Song Yun of northern Wei is said to have seen him walking while holding a shoe at the Pamir Heights.

Song Yun asked Bodhidharma where he was going, to which Bodhidharma replied "I am going home".

When asked why he was holding his shoe, Bodhidharma answered "You will know when you reach Shaolin Monastery.

Don't mention that you saw me or you will meet with disaster".

After arriving at the palace, Song Yun told the emperor that he met Bodhidharma on the way.

The emperor said Bodhidharma was already dead and buried, and had Song Yun arrested for lying.

At the Shaolin Temple, the Monks informed them that Bodhidharma was dead and had been buried in a hill behind the temple.

The grave was exhumed and was found to contain a single shoe. The Monks then said "Master has gone back home" and prostrated three Times:

For nine years he had remained and nobody knew him;

Carrying a shoe in hand he went home quietly, without ceremony.

Bodhidharma133.jpg

Gửi ý kiến của bạn
Tắt
Telex
VNI
Tên của bạn
Email của bạn
27/12/2010(Xem: 2999)
The mental exercise known as meditation is found in all religious systems. Prayer is a form of discursive meditation, and in Hinduism the reciting of slokas and mantras is employed to tranquilize the mind to a state of receptivity. In most of these systems the goal is identified with the particular psychic results that ensue, sometimes very quickly; and the visions that come in the semi-trance state, or the sounds that are heard, are considered to be the end-result of the exercise. This is not the case in the forms of meditation practiced in Buddhism.
26/12/2010(Xem: 2951)
To study the effect of Vipassana on the work environment, we interviewed people who had attended a ten-day Vipassana course. A questionnaire was given to them. Their colleagues were also interviewed to find out their views about the results of Vipassana
25/12/2010(Xem: 2548)
With the growing complexities of business especially industrial business-the use of meditation techniques has become popular during the last few years. However, they have been used mainly as stress relieving techniques for executives subjected to the tensions of achieving targets.
25/12/2010(Xem: 2313)
The opening Passage from the Mahaasatipa.t.thaana Sutta: "This is the only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the disappearance of pain and grief, for reaching the Noble Path, for the realization of Nibbaana, namely, the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.
23/12/2010(Xem: 2274)
In the world today, there is much confusion, ignorance and controversy about psychiatry, meditation and the relationship between the two. Health professionals and mental health professionals are not even clear about the scope of their own field of expertise. Neither do they have a clear understanding of exactly what meditation is. It is little wonder, then, that the common man is puzzled.
11/12/2010(Xem: 2187)
My dear friends, suppose someone is holding a pebble and throws it in the air and the pebble begins to fall down into a river. After the pebble touches the surface of the water, it allows itself to sink slowly into the river. It will reach the bed of the river without any effort. Once the pebble is at the bottom of the river, it continues to rest. It allows the water to pass by.
09/12/2010(Xem: 2697)
The first course of Vipassana conducted by Goenkaji in a prison was in I975 at the Central Jail Rajasthan. When I was the Home Secretary of that state, I had myself undertaken a Vipassanacourse, and experienced a profound change in myself.
06/12/2010(Xem: 2774)
With the growing complexities of business especially industrial business-the use of meditation techniques has become popular during the last few years. However, they have been used mainly as stress relieving techniques for executives subjected to the tensions of achieving targets.
05/12/2010(Xem: 2619)
Vipassana meditation is a scientific technique of self-exploration: a system of self-transformation by self-observation, a healing by observation of and participation in the universal laws of nature. Its theoretical basis, health potential and practical applications are discussed and reviewed in this paper.
02/12/2010(Xem: 2727)
The practice of mindfulness/ awareness meditation is common to all Buddhist traditions. Beyond that, it is common to, inherent in, all human beings.
facebook youtube google-plus linkedin twitter blog
Nguyện đem công đức này, trang nghiêm Phật Tịnh Độ, trên đền bốn ơn nặng, dưới cứu khổ ba đường,
nếu có người thấy nghe, đều phát lòng Bồ Đề, hết một báo thân này, sinh qua cõi Cực Lạc.

May the Merit and virtue,accrued from this work, adorn the Buddhas pureland,
Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below,
may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma,
the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Quang Duc Buddhist Welfare Association of Victoria
Tu Viện Quảng Đức | Quang Duc Monastery
Senior Venerable Thich Tam Phuong | Senior Venerable Thich Nguyen Tang
Address: Quang Duc Monastery, 105 Lynch Road, Fawkner, Vic.3060 Australia
Tel: 61.03.9357 3544 ; Fax: 61.03.9357 3600
Website: http://www.quangduc.com ; http://www.tuvienquangduc.com.au (old)
Xin gửi Xin gửi bài mới và ý kiến đóng góp đến Ban Biên Tập qua địa chỉ:
quangduc@quangduc.com , tvquangduc@bigpond.com
VISITOR
102,424,346