Tuesday, 29 November 2011

7th sense bodhidharma

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century AD. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch'an (Sanskrit: Dhyāna, Japanese: Zen) to China, and regarded as the first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan.
Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend.[1] There are three principal sources for Bodhidharma's biography[2]: Yáng Xuànzhī's (Yang Hsüan-chih) The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547), Tánlín's preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts (6th century CE), and Dàoxuān's (Tao-hsuan) Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (7th century CE).
These sources vary on their account of Bodhidharma being either "from Persia" (547 CE), "a Brahman monk from South India" (645 CE), "the third son of a Brahman king of South India" (ca. 715 CE).[1] Some traditions specifically describe Bodhidharma to be the third son of a Pallavine king from Kanchipuram.[3][4]
The accounts also differ on the date of his arrival, with one early account claiming that he arrived during the Liú Sòng Dynasty (420–479) and later accounts dating his arrival to the Liáng Dynasty (502–557). Bodhidharma was primarily active in the lands of the Northern Wèi Dynasty (386–534). Modern scholarship dates him to about the early 5th century.[5]
Several stories about Bodhidharma have become popular legends, which are still being used in the Ch'an and Zen-tradition.
Bodhidharma's teachings and practice centered on meditation and the Lankavatara Sutra.
The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall (952) identifies Bodhidharma as the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in an uninterrupted line that extends all the way back to the Buddha himself.
Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as a rather ill-tempered, profusely bearded and wide-eyed barbarian. He is described as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" in Chinese texts.[6]

Yáng Xuànzhī (Yang Hsüan-chih) - The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang

A Dehua ware porcelain statuette of Bodhidharma, from the late Ming Dynasty, 17th century
The earliest text on Bodhidharma, is a contemporary account by Yáng Xuànzhī (Yang-Hsuan-chih 楊衒之), a writer and translator of Mahāyāna Buddhist texts into the Chinese language. He compiled in 547 The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (洛陽伽藍記 Luòyáng Qiélánjì), was compiled in by Yáng Xuànzhī. He gives the following account:
At that time there was a monk of the Western Region named Bodhidharma, a Persian Central Asian. He traveled from the wild borderlands to China. Seeing the golden disks [on the pole on top of Yǒngníng's stupa] reflecting in the sun, the rays of light illuminating the surface of the clouds, the jewel-bells on the stupa blowing in the wind, the echoes reverberating beyond the heavens, he sang its praises. He exclaimed: "Truly this is the work of spirits." He said: "I am 150 years old, and I have passed through numerous countries. There is virtually no country I have not visited. Even the distant Buddha-realms lack this." He chanted homage and placed his palms together in salutation for days on end.[7]
Dumouling gives another translation of the same text:
In those days there was a Sramana Bodhidharma from the western regions, originally a man from Persia. He came from rugged countries and was staying in the Middle Land. When he beheld how the golden dome sparkled in the sun, how its light reflected upon the surface of the clouds, how the precious bell housed the wind within itself, and how its voice rang beyond the heavens, he sang a hymn of praise: "Truly how wonderful it all is!". He said that he was 150 years old and had travelled all countries and had visited all regions, but that nothing in Jambudvipa was comparable with the beauty of this temple, that is surpassed all others, and that there was nothing like it anywhere. With hands clasped, he daily invoked devotedly the name of Buddha.[8]

[edit] T'an-lín's preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts

The second account was written by T'an-lín (曇林; 506–574). T'an-lín's brief biography of the "Dharma Master" is found in his preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts, a text traditionally attributed to Bodhidharma, and the first text to identify Bodhidharma as South Indian:
The Dharma Master was a South Indian of the Western Region. He was the third son of a great Indian king. His ambition lay in the Mahayana path, and so he put aside his white layman's robe for the black robe of a monk [...] Lamenting the decline of the true teaching in the outlands, he subsequently crossed distant mountains and seas, traveling about propagating the teaching in Han and Wei.[9]
T'an-lín's account was the first to mention that Bodhidharma attracted disciples,[10] specifically mentioning Dàoyù (道育) and Huìkě (慧可), the latter of whom would later figure very prominently in the Bodhidharma literature.
T'an-lín has traditionally been considered a disciple of Bodhidharma, but it is more likely that he was a student of Huìkě, who in turn was a student of Bodhidharma.[11]

[edit] Later accounts

[edit] Dàoxuān (Tao-hsuan) - Further Biographies of Eminent Monks

In the 7th-century historical work Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (續高僧傳 Xù gāosēng zhuàn), Dàoxuān (道宣; 596-667) possibly drew on Tanlin's preface as a basic source, but made several significant additions:
This Japanese scroll calligraphy of Bodhidharma reads “Zen points directly to the human heart, see into your nature and become Buddha”. It was created by Hakuin Ekaku (1685 to 1768)
Firstly, Dàoxuān adds more detail concerning Bodhidharma's origins, writing that he was of "South Indian Brahmin stock" (南天竺婆羅門種 nán tiānzhú póluómén zhŏng).[12]
Secondly, more detail is provided concerning Bodhidharma's journeys. Tanlin's original is imprecise about Bodhidharma's travels, saying only that he "crossed distant mountains and seas" before arriving in Wei. Dàoxuān's account, however, implies "a specific itinerary":[13] "He first arrived at Nan-yüeh during the Sung period. From there he turned north and came to the Kingdom of Wei".[12] This implies that Bodhidharma had travelled to China by sea, and that he had crossed over the Yangtze River.
Thirdly, Dàoxuān suggests a date for Bodhidharma's arrival in China. He writes that Bodhidharma makes landfall in the time of the Song, thus making his arrival no later than the time of the Song's fall to the Southern Qi Dynasty in 479.[13]
Finally, Dàoxuān provides information concerning Bodhidharma's death. Bodhidharma, he writes, died at the banks of the Luo River, where he was interred by his disciple Huike, possibly in a cave. According to Dàoxuān's chronology, Bodhidharma's death must have occurred prior to 534, the date of the Northern Wei Dynasty's fall, because Huike subsequently leaves Luoyang for Ye. Furthermore, citing the shore of the Luo River as the place of death might possibly suggest that Bodhidharma died in the mass executions at Heyin 河陰 in 528. Supporting this possibility is a report in the Taishō shinshū daizōkyō stating that a Buddhist monk was among the victims at Héyīn.[14]

[edit] Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall

In the Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall (祖堂集 Zǔtángjí) of 952, the elements of the traditional Bodhidharma story are in place. Bodhidharma is said to have been a disciple of Prajñātāra,[15] thus establishing the latter as the 27th patriarch in India. After a three-year journey, Bodhidharma reaches China in 527[15] during the Liang Dynasty (as opposed to the Song period of the 5th century, as in Dàoxuān). The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall includes Bodhidharma's encounter with Emperor Wu, which was first recorded around 758 in the appendix to a text by Shen-hui (神會), a disciple of Huineng.[16]
Finally, as opposed to Daoxuan's figure of "over 150 years,"[17] the Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall states that Bodhidharma died at the age of 150. He was then buried on Mount Xiong'er (熊耳山 Xióngĕr Shān) to the west of Luoyang. However, three years after the burial, in the Pamir Mountains, Sòngyún (宋雲)—an official of one of the later Wei kingdoms—encountered Bodhidharma, who claimed to be returning to India and was carrying a single sandal. Bodhidharma predicted the death of Songyun's ruler, a prediction which was borne out upon the latter's return. Bodhidharma's tomb was then opened, and only a single sandal was found inside.
Insofar as, according to the Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall, Bodhidharma left the Liang court in 527 and relocated to Mount Song near Luoyang and the Shaolin Monastery, where he "faced a wall for nine years, not speaking for the entire time",[18] his date of death can have been no earlier than 536. Moreover, his encounter with the Wei official indicates a date of death no later than 554, three years before the fall of the last Wei kingdom.

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