Bodhidharma

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Bodhidharma
250px
Bodhidharma, Ukiyo-e woodblock print by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1887.
Religion Buddhism
School Chan
Senior posting
Title Chanshi
1st Chan Patriarch
Successor Huike
Religious career
Students Huike

Template:Buddhism and China Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu. In Japan, he is known as Daruma.

Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend.[1][note 1]

According to the principal Chinese sources, Bodhidharma came from the Western Regions,[4][5] which refers to Central Asia but may also include the Indian subcontinent, and was either a "Persian Central Asian"[4] or a "South Indian [...] the third son of a great Indian king."[5][note 2] Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as an ill-tempered, profusely-bearded, wide-eyed non-Chinese person. He is referred as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" (Chinese: 碧眼胡; pinyin: Bìyǎnhú) in Chan texts.[10]

Aside from the Chinese accounts, several popular traditions also exist regarding Bodhidharma's origins.[note 3]

The accounts also differ on the date of his arrival, with one early account claiming that he arrived during the Liu Song dynasty (420–479) and later accounts dating his arrival to the Liang dynasty (502–557). Bodhidharma was primarily active in the territory of the Northern Wei (386-634). Modern scholarship dates him to about the early 5th century.[15]

Bodhidharma's teachings and practice centered on meditation and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. 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 Gautama Buddha himself.[16]

Contents

Biography[edit]

Principal sources[edit]

File:Western Regions 1st century BC(en).png
The Western Regions in the first century BCE.

There are two known extant accounts written by contemporaries of Bodhidharma. According to these sources, Bodhidharma came from the Western regions,[4][5] and was either a "Persian Central Asian"[4] or a "South Indian [...] the third son of a great Indian king."[5] Later sources draw on these two sources, adding additional details, including a change to being descendent from a Brahmin king,[7][8] which accords with the reign of the Pallavas, who were Brahmins.[17]

The Western Regions was a historical name specified in the Chinese chronicles between the 3rd century BC to the 8th century AD[18] that referred to the regions west of Yumen Pass, most often Central Asia or sometimes more specifically the easternmost portion of it (e.g. Altishahr or the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang). Sometimes it was used more generally to refer to other regions to the west of China as well, such as the Indian subcontinent (as in the novel Journey to the West).

The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang[edit]

File:Central Asian Buddhist Monks.jpeg
Blue-eyed Central Asian monk teaching an East Asian monk. A fresco from the Bezeklik, dated to the 9th or 10th century; although Albert von Le Coq (1913) assumed the red-haired monk was a Tocharian,[19] modern scholarship has identified similar Caucasian figures of the same cave temple (No. 9) as ethnic Sogdians,[20] an Eastern Iranian people who inhabited Turfan as an ethnic minority community during the phases of Tang Chinese (7th-8th century) and Uyghur rule (9th-13th century).[21]

The earliest text mentioning Bodhidharma is The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (Chinese: 洛陽伽藍記 Luòyáng Qiélánjì) which was compiled in 547 by Yáng Xuànzhī (楊衒之), a writer and translator of Mahayana sutras into Chinese. Yang gave the following account:

At that time there was a monk of the Western Region named Bodhidharma, a Persian Central Asian.[note 4] 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.[4]

Tánlín – preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts[edit]

File:Bodhidharma, Porcelain, Ming Dynasty.JPG
A Dehua ware porcelain statuette of Bodhidharma from the late Ming dynasty, 17th century

The second account was written by Tánlín (曇林; 506–574). Tánlín's brief biography of the "Dharma Master" is found in his preface to the Long Scroll of the Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practices, a text traditionally attributed to Bodhidharma and the first text to identify him 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.[5]

Tánlín's account was the first to mention that Bodhidharma attracted disciples,[22] specifically mentioning Dàoyù (道育) and Dazu Huike (慧可), the latter of whom would later figure very prominently in the Bodhidharma literature. Although Tánlín has traditionally been considered a disciple of Bodhidharma, it is more likely that he was a student of Huìkě.[23]

"Chronicle of the Laṅkāvatāra Masters"[edit]

Tanlin's preface has also been preserved in Jingjue's (683-750) Lengjie Shizi ji "Chronicle of the Laṅkāvatāra Masters", which dates from 713-716.[3]/ca. 715[6] He writes,

The teacher of the Dharma, who came from South India in the Western Regions, the third son of a great Brahman king."[7]

"Further Biographies of Eminent Monks"[edit]

File:Bodhidarma.jpg
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 (1685–1768)

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:

Firstly, Dàoxuān adds more detail concerning Bodhidharma's origins, writing that he was of "South Indian Brahman stock" (南天竺婆羅門種 nán tiānzhú póluómén zhŏng).[8]

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":[24] "He first arrived at Nan-yüeh during the Sung period. From there he turned north and came to the Kingdom of Wei"[8] This implies that Bodhidharma had travelled to China by sea and that he had crossed over the Yangtze.

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 in 479.[24]

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 Dazu 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's fall, because Dazu 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 Chinese Buddhist canon stating that a Buddhist monk was among the victims at Héyīn.[25]

Later accounts[edit]

File:Bodhidharma Shaolinsi.JPG
Bodhidharma, stone carving

Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall[edit]

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,[26] thus establishing the latter as the 27th patriarch in India. After a three-year journey, Bodhidharma reached China in 527,[26] during the Liang (as opposed to the Song in Dàoxuān's text). The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall includes Bodhidharma's encounter with Emperor Wu of Liang, which was first recorded around 758 in the appendix to a text by Shenhui (神會), a disciple of Huineng.[27]

Finally, as opposed to Daoxuan's figure of "over 180 years,"[3] 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 Xióng'ĕr 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.

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",[28] 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 Western Wei.

Dàoyuán – Transmission of the Lamp[edit]

Subsequent to the Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall, the only dated addition to the biography of Bodhidharma is in the Jingde Records of the Transmission of the Lamp (景德傳燈錄 Jĭngdé chuándēng lù, published 1004 CE), by Dàoyuán (道原), in which it is stated that Bodhidharma's original name had been Bodhitāra but was changed by his master Prajñātāra.[29] The same account is given by the Japanese master Keizan's 13th century work of the same title.[30]

Popular traditions[edit]

Several contemporary popular traditions also exist regarding Bodhidharma's origins. An Indian tradition regards Bodhidharma to be the third son of a Pallava king from Kanchipuram.[11][lower-alpha 1] This is consistent with the Southeast Asian traditions which also describe Bodhidharma as a former South Indian Tamil prince who had awakened his kundalini and renounced royal life to become a monk.[13] The Tibetan version similarly characterises him as a dark-skinned siddha from South India.[14] Conversely, the Japanese tradition generally regards Bodhidharma as Persian.[web 1]

Legends about Bodhidharma[edit]

Several stories about Bodhidharma have become popular legends, which are still being used in the Ch'an, Seon and Zen-tradition.

Encounter with Emperor Xiāo Yǎn 蕭衍[edit]

The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall says that in 527, Bodhidharma visited Emperor Wu of Liang (Xiāo Yǎn 蕭衍, posthumous name Wǔdì 武帝), a fervent patron of Buddhism:

<poem>

Emperor Wu: "How much karmic merit have I earned for ordaining Buddhist monks, building monasteries, having sutras copied, and commissioning Buddha images?" Bodhidharma: "None. Good deeds done with worldly intent bring good karma, but no merit." Emperor Wu: "So what is the highest meaning of noble truth?" Bodhidharma: "There is no noble truth, there is only emptiness." Emperor Wu: "Then, who is standing before me?" Bodhidharma: "I know not, Your Majesty."[31]</poem>

This encounter was included as the first kōan of the Blue Cliff Record.

Nine years of wall-gazing[edit]

File:Bodhidharma.and.Huike-Sesshu.Toyo.jpg
Dazu Huike offering his arm to Bodhidharma. Ink painting by Sesshū Tōyō

Failing to make a favorable impression in South China, Bodhidharma is said to have travelled to the Shaolin Monastery. After either being refused entry or being ejected after a short time, he lived in a nearby cave, where he "faced a wall for nine years, not speaking for the entire time".[28]

The biographical tradition is littered with apocryphal tales about Bodhidharma's life and circumstances. In one version of the story, he is said to have fallen asleep seven years into his nine years of wall-gazing. Becoming angry with himself, he cut off his eyelids to prevent it from happening again.[32] According to the legend, as his eyelids hit the floor the first tea plants sprang up, and thereafter tea would provide a stimulant to help keep students of Chan awake during zazen.[33]

The most popular account relates that Bodhidharma was admitted into the Shaolin temple after nine years in the cave and taught there for some time. However, other versions report that he "passed away, seated upright";[28] or that he disappeared, leaving behind the Yijin Jing;[34] or that his legs atrophied after nine years of sitting,[35] which is why Daruma dolls have no legs.

Huike cuts off his arm[edit]

In one legend, Bodhidharma refused to resume teaching until his would-be student, Dazu Huike, who had kept vigil for weeks in the deep snow outside of the monastery, cut off his own left arm to demonstrate sincerity.[32][note 5]

Transmission[edit]

Skin, flesh, bone, marrow[edit]

Jǐngdé Records of the Transmission of the Lamp (Jǐngdé chuándēng lù 景德传灯录) of Dàoyuán 道原, presented to the emperor in 1004, records that Bodhidharma wished to return to India and called together his disciples:

<poem>Bodhidharma asked, "Can each of you say something to demonstrate your understanding?"

Dao Fu stepped forward and said, "It is not bound by words and phrases, nor is it separate from words and phrases. This is the function of the Tao." Bodhidharma: "You have attained my skin." The nun Zong Chi[note 6][note 7] stepped up and said, "It is like a glorious glimpse of the realm of Akshobhya Buddha. Seen once, it need not be seen again." Bodhidharma; "You have attained my flesh." Dao Yu said, "The four elements are all empty. The five skandhas are without actual existence. Not a single dharma can be grasped." Bodhidharma: "You have attained my bones." Finally, Huike came forth, bowed deeply in silence and stood up straight. Bodhidharma said, "You have attained my marrow." [38]</poem>

Bodhidharma passed on the symbolic robe and bowl of dharma succession to Dazu Huike and, some texts claim, a copy of the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra.[39] Bodhidharma then either returned to India or died.

Bodhidharma at Shaolin[edit]

File:Himeji-jo-112113.jpg
Paint of Bodhidharma at Himeji Castle.

Some Chinese myths and legends describe Bodhidharma as being disturbed by the poor physical shape of the Shaolin monks,[40] after which he instructed them in techniques to maintain their physical condition as well as teaching meditation.[40] He is said to have taught a series of external exercises called the Eighteen Arhat Hands[40] and an internal practice called the Sinew Metamorphosis Classic.[41] In addition, after his departure from the temple, two manuscripts by Bodhidharma were said to be discovered inside the temple: the Yijin Jing and the Xisui Jing. Copies and translations of the Yijin Jing survive to the modern day. The Xisui Jing has been lost.[42]

Travels in Southeast Asia[edit]

According to Southeast Asian folklore, Bodhidharma travelled from Jambudvipa by sea to Palembang, Indonesia. Passing through Sumatra, Java, Bali, and Malaysia, he eventually entered China through Nanyue. In his travels through the region, Bodhidharma is said to have transmitted his knowledge of the Mahayana doctrine and the martial arts. Malay legend holds that he introduced forms to silat.[43]

Vajrayana tradition links Bodhidharma with the 11th-century south Indian monk Dampa Sangye who travelled extensively to Tibet and China spreading tantric teachings.[44]

Appearance after his death[edit]

Three years after Bodhidharma's death, Ambassador Sòngyún of northern Wei is said to have seen him walking while holding a shoe at the Pamir Heights. Sòngyún 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, Sòngyún told the emperor that he met Bodhidharma on the way. The emperor said Bodhidharma was already dead and buried and had Sòngyún arrested for lying. At Shaolin Monastery, 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."[45]

Practice and teaching[edit]

Bodhidharma is traditionally seen as introducing dhyana-practice in China.

Pointing directly to one's mind[edit]

One of the fundamental Chán texts attributed to Bodhidharma is a four-line stanza whose first two verses echo the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra's disdain for words and whose second two verses stress the importance of the insight into reality achieved through "self-realization":

<poem>A special transmission outside the scriptures

Not founded upon words and letters; By pointing directly to [one's] mind It lets one see into [one's own true] nature and [thus] attain Buddhahood.[46]</poem>

The stanza, in fact, is not Bodhidharma's, but rather dates to the year 1108.[47]

Wall-gazing[edit]

Tanlin, in the preface to Two Entrances and Four Acts, and Daoxuan, in the Further Biographies of Eminent Monks, mention a practice of Bodhidharma's termed "wall-gazing" (壁觀 bìguān). Both Tanlin[note 8] and Daoxuan[web 4] associate this "wall-gazing" with "quieting [the] mind"[22] (Chinese: 安心; pinyin: ānxīn).

In the Two Entrances and Four Acts, traditionally attributed to Bodhidharma, the term "wall-gazing" is given as follows:
Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls, the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason".[49][note 9]
Daoxuan states, "The merits of Mahāyāna wall-gazing are the highest".[50]

These are the first mentions in the historical record of what may be a type of meditation being ascribed to Bodhidharma.

Exactly what sort of practice Bodhidharma's "wall-gazing" was remains uncertain. Nearly all accounts have treated it either as an undefined variety of meditation, as Daoxuan and Dumoulin,[50] or as a variety of seated meditation akin to the zazen (Chinese: 坐禪; pinyin: zuòchán) that later became a defining characteristic of Chan. The latter interpretation is particularly common among those working from a Chan standpoint.[web 5][web 6]

There have also, however, been interpretations of "wall-gazing" as a non-meditative phenomenon.[note 10]

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra[edit]

There are early texts which explicitly associate Bodhidharma with the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. Daoxuan, for example, in a late recension of his biography of Bodhidharma's successor Huike, has the sūtra as a basic and important element of the teachings passed down by Bodhidharma:

In the beginning Dhyana Master Bodhidharma took the four-roll Laṅkā Sūtra, handed it over to Huike, and said: "When I examine the land of China, it is clear that there is only this sutra. If you rely on it to practice, you will be able to cross over the world."[36]

Another early text, the "Record of the Masters and Disciples of the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra" (Chinese: 楞伽師資記; pinyin: Léngqié Shīzī Jì) of Jìngjué (淨覺; 683–750), also mentions Bodhidharma in relation to this text. Jingjue's account also makes explicit mention of "sitting meditation" or zazen:[web 7]

For all those who sat in meditation, Master Bodhi[dharma] also offered expositions of the main portions of the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, which are collected in a volume of twelve or thirteen pages […] bearing the title of "Teaching of [Bodhi-]Dharma".[7]

In other early texts, the school that would later become known as Chan Buddhism is sometimes referred to as the "Laṅkāvatāra school" (楞伽宗 Léngqié zōng).[52]

The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, one of the Mahayana sutras, is a highly "difficult and obscure" text[53] whose basic thrust is to emphasize "the inner enlightenment that does away with all duality and is raised above all distinctions".[54] It is among the first and most important texts for East Asian Yogācāra.[55]

One of the recurrent emphases in the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra is a lack of reliance on words to effectively express reality:
If, Mahamati, you say that because of the reality of words the objects are, this talk lacks in sense. Words are not known in all the Buddha-lands; words, Mahamati, are an artificial creation. In some Buddha-lands ideas are indicated by looking steadily, in others by gestures, in still others by a frown, by the movement of the eyes, by laughing, by yawning, or by the clearing of the throat, or by recollection, or by trembling.[56]

In contrast to the ineffectiveness of words, the sūtra instead stresses the importance of the "self-realization" that is "attained by noble wisdom"[57] and occurs "when one has an insight into reality as it is":[58] "The truth is the state of self-realization and is beyond categories of discrimination".[59] The sūtra goes on to outline the ultimate effects of an experience of self-realization:

[The bodhisattva] will become thoroughly conversant with the noble truth of self-realization, will become a perfect master of his own mind, will conduct himself without effort, will be like a gem reflecting a variety of colours, will be able to assume the body of transformation, will be able to enter into the subtle minds of all beings, and, because of his firm belief in the truth of Mind-only, will, by gradually ascending the stages, become established in Buddhahood.[60]

Lineage[edit]

Construction of lineages[edit]

The idea of a patriarchal lineage in Ch'an dates back to the epitaph for Fărú (法如 638–689), a disciple of the 5th patriarch Hóngrĕn (弘忍 601–674). In the Long Scroll of the Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practices and the Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks, Daoyu and Dazu Huike are the only explicitly identified disciples of Bodhidharma. The epitaph gives a line of descent identifying Bodhidharma as the first patriarch.[61][62]

In the 6th century biographies of famous monks were collected. From this genre the typical Chan lineage was developed:

These famous biographies were non-sectarian. The Ch'an biographical works, however, aimed to establish Ch'an as a legitimate school of Buddhism traceable to its Indian origins, and at the same time championed a particular form of Ch'an. Historical accuracy was of little concern to the compilers; old legends were repeated, new stories were invented and reiterated until they too became legends.[63]

D. T. Suzuki contends that Chan's growth in popularity during the 7th and 8th centuries attracted criticism that it had "no authorized records of its direct transmission from the founder of Buddhism" and that Chan historians made Bodhidharma the 28th patriarch of Buddhism in response to such attacks.[64]

Six patriarchs[edit]

The earliest lineages described the lineage from Bodhidharma into the 5th to 7th generation of patriarchs. Various records of different authors are known, which give a variation of transmission lines:

The Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks
Xù gāosēng zhuàn 續高僧傳
Dàoxuān 道宣
(596–667)
The Record of the Transmission of the Dharma-Jewel
Chuán fǎbǎo jì 傳法寶記
Dù Fěi 杜胐
History of Masters and Disciples of the Laṅkāvatāra-Sūtra
Léngqié shīzī jì 楞伽師資紀記
Jìngjué 淨覺
(ca. 683 – ca. 650)
Xiǎnzōngjì 显宗记 of Shénhuì 神会
1 Bodhidharma Bodhidharma Bodhidharma Bodhidharma
2 Huìkě 慧可 (487? – 593) Dàoyù 道育 Dàoyù 道育 Dàoyù 道育
Huìkě 慧可 (487? – 593) Huìkě 慧可 (487? – 593) Huìkě 慧可 (487? – 593)
3 Sēngcàn 僧璨 (d.606) Sēngcàn 僧璨 (d.606) Sēngcàn 僧璨 (d.606) Sēngcàn 僧璨 (d.606)
4 Dàoxìn 道信 (580 – 651) Dàoxìn 道信 (580 – 651) Dàoxìn 道信 (580 – 651) Dàoxìn 道信 (580 – 651)
5 Hóngrěn 弘忍 (601 – 674) Hóngrěn 弘忍 (601 – 674) Hóngrěn 弘忍 (601 – 674) Hóngrěn 弘忍 (601 – 674)
6 - Fǎrú 法如 (638–689) Shénxiù 神秀 (606? – 706) Huìnéng 慧能 (638–713)
Shénxiù 神秀 (606? – 706) 神秀 (606? – 706) Xuánzé 玄賾
7 Xuánjué 玄覺 (665–713)

Continuous lineage from Gautama Buddha[edit]

Eventually these descriptions of the lineage evolved into a continuous lineage from Śākyamuni Buddha to Bodhidharma. The idea of a line of descent from Śākyamuni Buddha is the basis for the distinctive lineage tradition of Chan Buddhism.

According to the Song of Enlightenment (證道歌 Zhèngdào gē) by Yǒngjiā Xuánjué (665-713),[65] one of the chief disciples of Huìnéng, was Bodhidharma, the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in a line of descent from Gautama Buddha via his disciple Mahākāśyapa: <poem>Mahakashyapa was the first, leading the line of transmission; Twenty-eight Fathers followed him in the West; The Lamp was then brought over the sea to this country; And Bodhidharma became the First Father here His mantle, as we all know, passed over six Fathers, And by them many minds came to see the Light.[66]</poem> The Transmission of the Light gives 28 patriarchs in this transmission:[30][67]

Template:Zen Lineage 28 Patriarchs

Modern scholarship[edit]

Bodhidharma has been the subject of critical scientific research, which has shed new light on the traditional stories about Bodhidharma.

Biography as a hagiographic process[edit]

According to John McRae, Bodhidharma has been the subject of a hagiographic process which served the needs of Chan Buddhism. According to him it is not possible to write an accurate biography of Bodhidharma:

It is ultimately impossible to reconstruct any original or accurate biography of the man whose life serves as the original trace of his hagiography – where "trace" is a term from Jacques Derrida meaning the beginningless beginning of a phenomenon, the imagined but always intellectually unattainable origin. Hence any such attempt by modern biographers to reconstruct a definitive account of Bodhidharma's life is both doomed to failure and potentially no different in intent from the hagiographical efforts of premodern writers.[68]

McRae's standpoint accords with Yanagida's standpoint: "Yanagida ascribes great historical value to the witness of the disciple T'an-lin, but at the same time acknowledges the presence of "many puzzles in the biography of Bodhidharma". Given the present state of the sources, he considers it impossible to compile a reliable account of Bodhidharma's life.[7]

Several scholars have suggested that the composed image of Bodhidharma depended on the combination of supposed historical information on various historical figures over several centuries.[69] Bodhidharma as a historical person may even never have actually existed.[70]

Origins and place of birth[edit]

Dumoulin comments on the three principal sources. The Persian heritage is doubtful, according to Dumoulin: "In the description of the Lo-yang temple, bodhidharma is called a Persian. Given the ambiguity of geographical references in writings of this period, such a statement should not be taken too seriously."[71] Dumoulin considers Tan-lin's account of Bodhidharma being "the third son of a great Brahman king" to be a later addition, and finds the exact meaning of "South Indian Brahman stock" unclear: "And when Tao-hsuan speaks of origins from South Indian Brahman stock, it is not clear whether he is referring to roots in nobility or to India in general as the land of the Brahmans."[72]

These Chinese sources lend themselves to make inferences about Bodhidharma's origins. "The third son of a Brahman king" has been speculated to mean "the third son of a Pallavine king".[11] Based on a specific pronunciation of the Chinese characters 香至 as Kang-zhi, "meaning fragrance extreme",[11] Tsutomu Kambe identifies 香至 to be Kanchipuram, an old capital town in the state Tamil Nadu, India. According to Tsutomu Kambe, "Kanchi means 'a radiant jewel' or 'a luxury belt with jewels', and puram means a town or a state in the sense of earlier times. Thus, it is understood that the '香至-Kingdom' corresponds to the old capital 'Kanchipuram'."[11]

The Pakistani scholar Ahmad Hasan Dani speculated that according to popular accounts in Pakistan's northwest, Bodhidharma may be from the region around the Peshawar valley, or possibly around modern Afghanistan's eastern border with Pakistan.[73]

Caste[edit]

In the context of the Indian caste system the mention of "Brahman king"[7] acquires a nuance. Broughton notes that "king" implies that Bodhidharma was of a member of the thondaiman caste, an shatriya caste of warriors and rulers.[26] Brahman is, in western contexts, easily understood as Brahmana or Brahmin, which means priest.

Name[edit]

According to tradition Bodhidharma was given this name by his teacher known variously as Panyatara, Prajnatara, or Prajñādhara.[74] His name prior to monkhood is said to be Jayavarman.[13]

Bodhidharma is associated with several other names, and is also known by the name Bodhitara. Faure notes that:

Bodhidharma’s name appears sometimes truncated as Bodhi, or more often as Dharma (Ta-mo). In the first case, it may be confused with another of his rivals, Bodhiruci.[75]

Tibetan sources give his name as "Bodhidharmottāra" or "Dharmottara", that is, "Highest teaching (dharma) of enlightenment".[76]

Abode in China[edit]

Buswell dates Bodhidharma abode in China approximately at the early 5th century.[77] Broughton dates Bodhidharma's presence in Luoyang to between 516 and 526, when the temple referred to—Yǒngníngsì (永寧寺), was at the height of its glory.[78] Starting in 526, Yǒngníngsì suffered damage from a series of events, ultimately leading to its destruction in 534.[79]

Shaolin boxing[edit]

Traditionally Bodhidharma is credited as founder of the martial arts at the Shaolin Temple. However, martial arts historians have shown this legend stems from a 17th-century qigong manual known as the Yijin Jing.[80]

The authenticity of the Yi Jin Jing has been discredited by some historians including Tang Hao, Xu Zhen and Matsuda Ryuchi. This argument is summarized by modern historian Lin Boyuan in his Zhongguo wushu shi:

As for the "Yi Jin Jing" (Muscle Change Classic), a spurious text attributed to Bodhidharma and included in the legend of his transmitting martial arts at the temple, it was written in the Ming dynasty, in 1624, by the Daoist priest Zining of Mt. Tiantai, and falsely attributed to Bodhidharma. Forged prefaces, attributed to the Tang general Li Jing and the Southern Song general Niu Gao were written. They say that, after Bodhidharma faced the wall for nine years at Shaolin temple, he left behind an iron chest; when the monks opened this chest they found the two books "Xi Sui Jing" (Marrow Washing Classic) and "Yi Jin Jing" within. The first book was taken by his disciple Huike, and disappeared; as for the second, "the monks selfishly coveted it, practicing the skills therein, falling into heterodox ways, and losing the correct purpose of cultivating the Real. The Shaolin monks have made some fame for themselves through their fighting skill; this is all due to having obtained this manuscript." Based on this, Bodhidharma was claimed to be the ancestor of Shaolin martial arts. This manuscript is full of errors, absurdities and fantastic claims; it cannot be taken as a legitimate source.[34]

The oldest available copy was published in 1827.[81] The composition of the text itself has been dated to 1624.[34] Even then, the association of Bodhidharma with martial arts only became widespread as a result of the 1904–1907 serialization of the novel The Travels of Lao Ts'an in Illustrated Fiction Magazine:[82]

One of the most recently invented and familiar of the Shaolin historical narratives is a story that claims that the Indian monk Bodhidharma, the supposed founder of Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhism, introduced boxing into the monastery as a form of exercise around a.d. 525. This story first appeared in a popular novel, The Travels of Lao T’san, published as a series in a literary magazine in 1907. This story was quickly picked up by others and spread rapidly through publication in a popular contemporary boxing manual, Secrets of Shaolin Boxing Methods, and the first Chinese physical culture history published in 1919. As a result, it has enjoyed vast oral circulation and is one of the most "sacred" of the narratives shared within Chinese and Chinese-derived martial arts. That this story is clearly a twentieth-century invention is confirmed by writings going back at least 250 years earlier, which mention both Bodhidharma and martial arts but make no connection between the two.[83]

Works attributed to Bodhidharma[edit]

  • Two Entrances and Four Practices,《二入四行論》
  • The Bloodstream sermon《血脈論》
  • Dharma Teaching of Pacifying the Mind《安心法門》
  • Treatise on Realizing the Nature《悟性論》
  • Bodhidharma Treatise《達摩論》
  • Refuting Signs Treatise 《破相論》(a.k.a. Contemplation of Mind Treatise《觀心論》)
  • Two Types of Entrance《二種入》

See also[edit]


Various possible birthplaces for Bodhidharma are mentioned in a variety of sources. They come down to either South India or Central Asia.

File:Central Asian Buddhist Monks.jpeg
Blue-eyed Central Asian Buddhist monk, with an East Asian colleague, Tarim Basin, 9th-10th century.

South Indian possibilities are:

  1. A "persistent tradition"[84] sees Bodhidharma as "the third son of a Pallavine king from Kanchipuram",[84] in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, South-South East India.
  2. Another Indian traditions describes him as being born in the historic city of Vanchi, capital of the ancient Chera Kingdom. The location of Vanchi is generally considered at Mahodayapuram (also called Thiru-vanchi-kulam) near the ancient port city of Muziris, municipality Kodungallur, state of Kerala, South West India.
  3. A third Indian possibility is Kochi. Kochi is part of the Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala, South-South West India.
  4. A fourth Indian Possibility is Nagarjunakonda.
  5. Sri Lanka is also mentioned as a possible birthplace.

Central Asian possibilities are:

  1. Persia
  2. Iraq
  3. Afghanistan
  4. The Tarim Basin
  5. Kingdom of Khotan
  6. Tocharians

All of these Central Asian regions were at the time Iranian language speaking, with their Buddhist forms following the Greco-Buddhist traditions then at their height under the Iranian-language speaking Buddhist Central Asian Kushan Empire, also known as Bactria. (See Silk Road transmission of Buddhism and Persian Buddhism.) Determining the specific modern 'nationality' of origin of the Bodhidharma legends within this then common-cultural, Iranian language region, is somewhat anachronistic. Except for Persia, the listed Central Asian possibilities are not explicitly mentioned in the principal sources for Bodhidharma's biography, but are more or less frequently mentioned on the web and in written documents.

Principal sources for Bodhidharma's biography[edit]

File:Bodhidarma.jpg
Bodhidharma, painted by Hakuin

There are three principal sources for Bodhidharma's biography:[85]

  1. Yáng Xuànzhī's (Yang Hsüan-chih) The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547)
  2. Tánlín's preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts (6th century CE), which is also preserved in Ching-chüeh's Chronicle of the Lankavatar Masters (713-716)[86]
  3. Dàoxuān's (Tao-hsuan) Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (7th century CE).

Yáng Xuànzhī's (Yang Hsüan-chih) The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547)[edit]

The earliest text mentioning Bodhidharma is The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (洛陽伽藍記 Luòyáng Qiélánjì) which is compiled in 547 by Yáng Xuànzhī (Yang-Hsuan-chih 楊衒之), a writer and translator of Mahāyāna Buddhist texts into the Chinese language.

Dumoulin translates:

the Sramana Bodhidharma from the western regions, originally a man from Persia"[85]

According to McRae's translation, Bodhidharma is from Persia[6]

T'an-lín's preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts (6th century CE)[edit]

Broughton translates:

The Dharma Master was a South Indian of the Western Region. He was the third son of a great Indian king.[5]

Dumoulin translates:

The teacher of the Dharma, who came from South India in the Western Regions, the third son of a great Brahman king"[87]

Ching-chüeh - Chronicle of the Lankavatara Masters[edit]

Tanlin's preface has also been preserved in Ching-chüeh's (683–750) Leng-ch'ieh shih-tzu chi (Chronicle of the Lankavatara Masters), which dates from 713–716.[86]/ca. 715[6]

Dumoulin translates:

The teacher of the Dharma, who came from South India in the Western Regions, the third son of a great Brahman king.[87]

McRae translates:

[T]he third son of a Brahman king of South India" [6]

Dàoxuān's (Tao-hsuan) Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (7th century CE)[edit]

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.

Dumoulin translates:

Bodhidharma, of South Indian Brahman stock[88]

McRae translates:

[A] Brahman monk from South India"[6]

The same account appears in the Ch'üan fa pao chi, an 8th-century text which narrates the traditional Chán-lineage.[89]

Modern scholarship[edit]

Bodhidharma has been the subject of critical scientific research, which has shed new light on the traditional stories about Bodhidharma.

Biography as a hagiographic process[edit]

According to John McRae, Bodhidharma has been the subject of a hagiographic process which served the needs of the Chinese Ch'an movement. According to him it is not possible to write an accurate biography of Bodhidharma:

It is ultimately impossible to reconstruct any original or accurate biography of the man whose life serves as the original trace of his hagiography - where "trace" is a term from Jacques Derrida meaning the beginningless beginning of a phenomenon, the imagined but always intellectually unattainable origin. Hence any such attempt by modern biographers to reconstruct a definitive account of Bodhidharma's life is both doomed to failure and potentially no different in intent from the hagiographical efforts of premodern writers"[68]

McRae's standpoint accords with Yanagida's standpoint:

Yanagida ascribes great historical value to the witness of the disciple T'an-lin, but at the same time acknowledges the presence of "many puzzles in the biography of Bodhidharma". Given the present state of the sources, he considers it impossible to compile a reliable account of Bodhidharma's life.[87]

Origins and place of birth[edit]

Dumoulin comments on the three principal sources. The Persian heritage is doubtful, according to Dumoulin:

In the description of the Louyang temple, Bodhidharma is called a Persian. Given the ambiguity of geographical references in writings of this period, such a statement should not be taken too seriously".[90]

Dumoulin considers Tan-lin's account of Bodhidharma being "the third son of a great Brahman king" to be a later addition:

T'an-lin's account of the third son of a great Brahman king is certainly to be understood as a later addition[91]

Dumoulin finds the exact meaning of "South Indian Brahman stock" unclear:

And when Tao-hsuan speaks of origins from South Indian Brahman stock, it is not clear whether he is referring to roots in nobility or to India in general as the land of the Brahmans.[91]

Maritime or overland transmission[edit]

Since the Book of Later Han present two accounts of how Buddhism entered Han China, generations of scholars have debated whether monks first arrived via the maritime or overland routes of the Silk Road.

The maritime route hypothesis, favored by Liang Qichao and Paul Pelliot, proposed that Buddhism was originally introduced in southern China, the Yangtze River and Huai River region, where King Ying of Chu was worshipping Laozi and Buddha c. 65 CE. The overland route hypothesis, favored by Tang Yongtong, proposed that Buddhism disseminated eastward through Yuezhi and was originally practiced in western China, at the Han capital Luoyang where Emperor Ming established the White Horse Temple c. 68 CE.

The historian Rong Xinjiang reexamined the overland and maritime hypotheses through a multi-disciplinary review of recent discoveries and research, including the Gandhāran Buddhist Texts, and concluded:

The view that Buddhism was transmitted to China by the sea route comparatively lacks convincing and supporting materials, and some arguments are not sufficiently rigorous [...] the most plausible theory is that Buddhism started from the Greater Yuezhi of northwest India (present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan) and took the land roads to reach Han China. After entering into China, Buddhism blended with early Daoism and Chinese traditional esoteric arts and its iconography received blind worship.[web 8]

South India[edit]

Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, South East India[edit]

Kanchipuram is a city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, South-South East India.

Kanchipuram was a major seat of Tamil, Sanskrit, and Telugu learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Buddhist scholars such as Dignaga, Buddhaghosa, and Dhammapala lived here.

Kanchipuram was the capital of the Pallavas rulers from the 7th to 9th centuries. From the 4th to the 9th century CE the Pallavas ruled over south-east India. They had maritime contacts with far-off destinations such as China, Siam and Fiji, through their chief Port Mamallapuram.

Web sources[edit]

Several webpages have been given as reference for Kanchipuram and the Pallavine dynasty, or were found by a Google-search. None of them gives references to original source-material which would date this tradition to a historical source. [Kanchipuram 1] [Kanchipuram 2] [Kanchipuram 3] [Kanchipuram 4] [Kanchipuram 5]

Tsutomu Kambe[edit]

Tsutomu Kambe does give a further elaboration on Kanchipuram and the Pallavine dynasty:

According to Chinese records, Bodhidharma was born in a kingdom of South India. Documents published just after Tang dynasty (ending in 907) describe that the name of the Kingdom is expressed with two Chinese characters ‟香至‟. There are four states which are called as South India. No historical record is found in which state the 香至 is located. At this time when interest in Zen Buddhism is increasing throughout the world, the birthplace of this pivotal master would be a great concern. Not only scholars but also those interested in Buddhism would welcome this missing piece of information where in India is the Kingdom 香至.

The Chinese name 香至 means “fragrance extreme”. At the time of Tang dynasty, it is likely that 香至 is pronounced as Kang-zhi. In 2007 by examining various documents, the author happened to come across the identification of 香至 to be Kanchipuram, an old capital town in the state Tamil-Nadu. Further investigation revealed that Kanchi means „a radiant jewel‟ or „a luxury belt with jewels‟, and puram means a town or a state in the sense of earlier times. Thus, it is understood that the ‟香至-Kingdom‟ corresponds to the old capital „Kanchipuram‟, located at a distance about eighty kilometers from the city Chennai in South India. It was a capital of Pallava Dynasty at the time when Bodhidharma was living. Currently, it is a sacred town of Hinduism. Historical remains related to Buddhism found in that region are very limited in number. In the Chennai Museum, however, one can see an image of standing Buddha (more than 2m height) excavated in a Hindu temple of Kanchipuram in the early times of 20th century. This image of dignity is reminiscent of the glorious times when Buddhism had flourished in this region where it was discovered.[92]

Unfortunately, Tsutomu Kambe is thrifty in further information on his sources. The "various documents" in which "the author happened to come across the identification of 香至 to be Kanchipuram" are not being identified.

Only one true reference is being made by Tsutome Kambe regarding the biography of Bodhidharma. In part I Tsutome Kambe condenses the information about Bodhidharma:

Bodhidharma was born as the third son of a South Indian King according to Chinese historical documents. It is speculated that the kingdom was Pallava, its capital city being Kanchipuram near Chennai. He was named Bodhitara and his surname was Kshatriya (the class of kings and warriors). [1][92]

So, according to Tsutomu Kambe the Pallava kingdom is a speculation on "South Indian king".

Written sources[edit]

The Pallava dynasty and Kancipuram are also often mentioned in modern written sources.

Zvelebil[edit]

Zvelebil states:

Persistent tradition tells us that the 'first Zen patriarch' Bodhidharma (ca. 470–532) was an Indian monk, the son of South Indian ruler, a king of Kanchipuram, and that he appeared one day at the southern Chinese port city of Canton around 520 A.D. whence he traveled to see Emperor Wu of the Liang dynasty. This tradition points to Bodhidharma as a member of the ruling class of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas, the contemporary of Skandavarman IV or Nandivarman I.

It is well known that Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital, was one of the most important strongholds of Indian Buddhism. An ancient Prakrit charter (the British Museum plates of Queen Carudevi) mentions among very early Pallavas two kings called Buddhavarman and Buddhayankura, obviously Buddhists, belonging probably to the 4th century A.D. Another Buddhavarman belongs to ca. 540–560 A.D. The well-known commentator Buddhaghosa lived in Kanchipuram probably in late 5th century A.D. The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Hsian Tsang who visited South India in the 7th century A.D. tells us that there were about a hundred Buddhist monasteries in the city with more than 10,000 monks, and he also refers to Kanchih-pu-lo as the birth-place of Dharmapala, the reputed author of treatises on etymology, logic and Buddhist metaphysics. Undoubtedly, the Zen tradition of a South Indian Buddhist monk coming possibly from Kanchipuram to China in the early 6th century may be regarded as trustworthy. If Bodhidharma was a Tamil-speaking South Indian (whether Brahmin (sic), as one version has it, or a prince), the popular saying of one hand producing no sound might have belonged to his linguistic competence.[93]

Zvelebil mentions "persistent tradition", but does not give a reference to the source for Kanchipuram. Zvelebil calls the Kanchipuram-origin "possibly", not certain. Zvelebil makes clear that Kanchipuram was an important Buddhist centre in the 4th to 7th century. This does not prove that Bodhidharma came from Kanchipuram. The reverse is also possible: since Kanchipuram was an important Buddhist centre, it seemed likely to Chinese authors that Bodhidharma came from this place. According to Yanagida and McRae, the traditions about Bodhidharma are doubtful.[87][68]

Vanchi or Thiru-vanchi-kulam, near Muziris in Kodungallur, Kerala, South West India[edit]

Vanchi, capital of the ancient chera kingdom was located near the ancient port city of Muziris. Muziris was an ancient sea-port in Southwestern India on the Periyar River 3.2 km from its mouth. In a flood of the Periyar in 1341 CE, Muziris was destroyed and the centre of commerce was shifted to other areas. Modern state of Kerala, which forms most of the ancient Chera kingdom is very much known for preserving its ancient martial traditions like Kalarippayattu.

Web sources[edit]

Several webpages have been given as reference for Muzirisor Kodungallur, or were found by a Google-search. None of them gives references to original source-material which would date this tradition to a historical source. [Muziris 1] [Muziris 2] [Muziris 3]

The main reasoning for Kodungallar goes as follows:

The Bodhidharma anthology by Broughton starts with the para that he was the 3rd son of a prominent South Indian King from the Western region. With that one could assume that he originated from Kodungallur (Muziris) and probably not Kanchipuram. Could he have been a Perumal who became a Buddhist and went on a pilgrimage? Much of the problem may have been due to Bodhidharma being confused with Boshisena since it appears that Bodhisena was a Brahmin (sic) from Kanchipuarm. The confusion over Tamil was due to the Pallava fact and of course the reason for Bodhidharma sailing out of Muziris or Quilon is because Buddhism was widespread in Kerala at that time (except for the Kanchipuram pocket).[Muziris 1]

Written sources[edit]

No written sources are known which mention Muziris, Kodungallar to be the birthplace of Bodhidharma.

Kochi, Kerala, South West India[edit]

Kochi is part of the Ernakulam district in the state of Kerala, South-South West India. Kochi is often called by the name Ernakulam, which refers to the western part of the mainland Kochi.

In 1102 CE, after the fall of the Kulasekhara Empire, Kochi became the seat of the Kingdom of Cochin, which traced its lineage to the Kulasekhara Empire. The King of Kochi had authority over the region encompassing the present city of Kochi and adjoining areas. Kochi rose to significance as a trading centre after the port at Kodungallur (Cranganore) was destroyed by massive flooding of the river Periyar in 1341.

Web sources[edit]

One webpage has been given as reference for Kanchipuram and the Pallavine dynasty, or was found by a Google-search. It does not give references to original source-material which would date this tradition to a historical source.

But then Kanchi is not Westerly in India. Is it perhaps Kochi? Calicut was ‘Kuli’ to the Chinese. Cochin was Ko-Chih. Nevertheless, almost all indicators point towards Kanchipuram rather than Kodungaloor or Muziris. From many accounts Bodhidharma was a studious child who studied under his Guru Pragnattara. Hence it is very unlikely that Bodhidharma had serious martial arts training in Kanchipuram to have transferred it to the pupils in Shaolin, since they already had a fair exposure to martial arts for many decades. It could of course be that he taught them valuable breathing exercises, silambam stick fighting and forms of Yoga.[Kochi 1]

Written sources[edit]

No written sources are known which mention Kochi to be the birthplace of Bodhidharma.

Nagarjunakonda, Andhra Pradesh, South East India[edit]

Nagarjunakonda is "a historical Buddhist town" in Andhra Pradesh, South-East India.

Websources[edit]

Two web sources are being mentioned for Nagarjunakonda.

Mention is being made of Bodhidharma practicing martial arts at Nagarjunakonda:

“The young Bodhidharma was shown as practicing martial arts in Kanchi town, whereas my research shows that he practiced at the ‘Sri Parvata' (Nagarjunakonda) area in Andhra Pradesh. Bodhidharma, who attained the ‘vajra kaya' status, which means that he was immune to diseases and poisons, had to be away from the bustling metropolis like Kanchi town to attain this state,” the researcher maintained.[Nagarjunakonda 1]

I.K. Sarma mentions South east India, without specifically mentioning Nagarjunakonda:

In particular, this famous Chinese traveller makes mention of a Stupa, hundred feet high, built by Mauryan emperor at Kanchi and tradition assigns another Dharma soka Maharajavihara at Kaverippumpattinam (Dt. Thanjavur). A Buddhist temple specially meant for visiting Chinese monks existed during the time of Pallava King Narasimhavarman - II (695–722) at Nagapatinam. These were witness of a seaborne cultural exchange between Buddhist China-India and Ceylon. It might be noted that Bodhidharma, the well-known founder of Chan sect who lived at the ‘Sheaolin temple (Mount - Songshan, Province Henan) hailed from this part of India. So also, Dinnaga (5th century), the founder of medieval Nyaya school, hailed from Kanchi, a centre for Pali-Buddhism. It appears then that South East India with its long coastal line and convenient anchorages has been in contact with China and South East Asian centres during the early centuries of the Christian era.[Nagarjunakonda 2]

Written sources[edit]

One written sources makes a passing mention of Nagarjunakonda to be the birthplace of Bodhidharma.

Gridley[edit]

Gridley writes:

At Nagarjunakonda (not far, it should be mentioned from Bodhidharma' s possible birthplace), two Pratykea Buddhas pull "their shawls up over their ears["].[94]

So, according to Gridley, Nagarjunakonda is not Bodhidharma's birthplace.

Sri Lanka[edit]

File:Map of Sri Lanka.png
South-India and Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an independent state located south-east of the Indian sub-continent. Its history has been closely linked to that of the Indian sub-continent. Theravada-buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka from India. Sri Lanka is inhabited by a variety of ethnic and cultural diverse groups.

Web sources[edit]

One webpage has been given as reference for Kanchipuram and the Pallavine dynasty, or was found by a Google-search. It does not give references to original source-material which would date this tradition to a historical source. [SriLanka 1]

Written sources[edit]

No written sources are known which mention Sri Lanka to be the birthplace of Bodhidharma.

"Western regions" (Sassanid Empire)[edit]

File:Central Asian Buddhist Monks.jpeg
Blue-eyed Central Asian monk teaching East-Asian monk. Bezeklik, Eastern Tarim Basin, China, 9th–10th century.

The "western regions" refers to North-west India and the Sassanid Empire, including Persia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

North-west India was controlled by the Seleucid Empire until 305 BCE, the Maurya Empire, the Kushan Empire, and the Sassanid Empire.

Tradition has Bodhidharma depicted as a "blue-eyed Barbarian".[95] Due to Caucasian migrations, blue eyes were not uncommon in Central Asia. This depiction may refer to the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism from north-west India and Central Asia to China. But it may also refer to Central Asia, including the Tarim Basin, the Kingdom of Khotan, and the Tocharians.

Silk Road Transmission[edit]

File:Silk route copy.jpg
Silk Road extending from Europe through Egypt, Somalia, the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Java-Indonesia, and Vietnam until it reaches China. The land routes are red, and the water routes are blue.

Via the Silk Road Buddhism was brought over land to China from north-west India, a stronghold of Mahayana-Buddhism. The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism is most commonly thought to have started in the late 2nd or the 1st century CE.

The first documented translation efforts by Buddhist monks in China (all foreigners) were in the 2nd century CE, possibly as a consequence of the expansion of the Kushan Empire into the Chinese territory of the Tarim Basin.

From the 4th century onward, with Faxian's pilgrimage to India (395–414), and later Xuanzang (629–644), Chinese pilgrims too started to travel by themselves to northern India, their source of Buddhism, in order to get improved access to original scriptures. The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism began to decline around the 7th century with the rise of Islam in Central Asia.

Web sources[edit]

Not investigated yet. [SilkRoad 1]

Written sources[edit]

Not investigated yet.

North-west India[edit]

Maurya Empire[edit]

File:Maurya Dynasty in 265 BCE.jpg
The Maurya Empire under Emperor Aśoka was the world's first major Buddhist state. It established free hospitals and free education and promoted human rights.

The Maurya Empire was an empire in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC. The Empire was founded in 322 BC by Chandragupta Maurya, who had overthrown the Nanda Dynasty and rapidly expanded his power westwards across central and western India taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal westward by Alexander the Great's Greek and Persian armies. By 320 BC the empire had fully occupied Northwestern India, defeating and conquering the satraps left by Alexander.

The Empire was expanded into India's central and southern regions by the emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara, but it excluded a small portion of unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga (modern Orissa), till it was conquered by Ashoka. Its decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BC with the foundation of the Shunga dynasty in Magadha.

Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism has been said to have been the foundation of the reign of social and political peace and non-violence across all of India. Ashoka sponsored the spreading of Buddhist ideals into Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Mediterranean Europe.

The Arthashastra and the Edicts of Ashoka are the primary sources of written records of Mauryan times. The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath, has been made the national emblem of India.

Kushan Empire[edit]

File:Kushanmap.jpg
Kushan territories (full line) and maximum extent of Kushan dominions under Kanishka (dotted line), according to the Rabatak inscription

In the middle of the 2nd century CE, the Kushan empire under king Kaniṣka expanded into Central Asia and went as far as taking control of Kashgar, Khotan and Yarkand, in the Tarim Basin, modern Xinjiang. As a consequence, cultural exchanges greatly increased, and Central Asian Buddhist missionaries became active shortly after in the Chinese capital cities of Loyang and sometimes Nanjing, where they particularly distinguished themselves by their translation work. They promoted both Hīnayāna and Mahāyāna scriptures. Thirty-seven of these early translators of Buddhist texts are known.

The empire declined from the 3rd century and fell to the Sassanid Empire and Gupta Empire.

Web sources[edit]
File:SilkRoadPeoples.jpg
Peoples of the Silk Road. Mogao Caves, Dunhuang, China, 9th century

The Kushan Empire was the site of Greco-Buddhism:

Greco-Buddhism, sometimes spelled Græco-Buddhism, is the cultural syncretism between the culture of Classical Greece and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to 800 years in Central Asia in the area corresponding to modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan, between the 4th century BC and the 5th century AD. Greco-Buddhism influenced the artistic (and, possibly, conceptual) development of Buddhism, and in particular Mahayana Buddhism, before it was adopted by Central and Northeastern Asia from the 1st century AD, ultimately spreading to China, Korea and Japan.[Kushan 1]

Asanga and Vasubandhu, who developed the Yogacara, came from Gandhara, an area of the kushan Empire.[Kushan 1]

Written sources[edit]

Not investigated yet.

Sassanid Empire[edit]

Persia[edit]

Persian, present-day Iran, at the time of Bodhidharma was part of the Sassanid Empire, which succeeded the Kushan Empire in this region. It was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from AD 224 to AD 651. The Sassanid era, during Late Antiquity, is considered to have been one of Persia's/Iran's most important and influential historical periods. The Sassanids' cultural influence extended far beyond the empire's territorial borders, reaching as far as Western Europe, Africa, China and India.

Web sources[edit]

Persia is often mentioned on the web, also due to copies of the Wikipedia-article [Persia 1] [Persia 2] on Bodhidharma and the mention of Persia by Yáng Xuànzhī. But there are also web-sources which see a link between Bodhidharma, Persia ,[Persia 3] [Persia 4] [web 9] and Zoroastrism. [Persia 5]

Written sources[edit]

Persia is mentioned by Yáng Xuànzhī's (Yang Hsüan-chih) in his The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547):

the Sramana Bodhidharma from the western regions, originally a man from Persia"[85]
Tojo[edit]

Tojo relies on Yáng Xuànzhī. According to Tojo,

Most Japanese scholars and Buddhist monks think he is a Persian. In Japan, even in popular books and internet articles he is introduced as a Persian.[96]

Tojo links Bodhidharma to the origins of Mahayana-buddhism in Central Asia:

Those who want to have a definite lineage of Zen Buddhism tend to stick to Indic origin theory. But this theory is highly dubious. For there is no room for doubt that Mahāyāna Buddhism including Zen was developed in Central Asia and there is no evidence to show its close link to South India.[97]

Tojo sees similarities between the wanderings of Bodhidharma and "Persian sufis (wandering dervishes)",[98] and the martial arts and monk-warriors in the Šaolin temple, and "Believers of Roman Mithraism [who] were mainly military people".[99]

Jorgensen[edit]

According to Jorgensen, the mentioning by Yáng Xuànzhī of Bodhidharma as Persian is mistaken, since Sassanian was not Buddhist. Johnston supposes that Yáng Xuànzhī mistook the name of the south-Indian Pallava dynasty for the name of the Sassanian Pahlava dynasty.[17]

Afghanistan[edit]

Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The territory that now forms Afghanistan has been an ancient focal point of the Silk Road and human migration. Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation from as far back as 50,000 BC. Urban civilization may have begun in the area as early as 3,000 to 2,000 BC.

The Seleucid Empire controlled the area until 305 BCE when they gave much of it to the Indian Maurya Empire as part of an alliance treaty. The Mauryans brought Buddhism from India and controlled the area south of the Hindu Kush until about 185 BCE when they were overthrown. Their decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, leading to the Hellenistic reconquest of the region by the Greco-Bactrians.

Web sources[edit]

No web sources are known which mention Afghanistan to be the birth-country of Bodhidharma.

Written sources[edit]

Some written sources are known which mention Afghanistan to be the birth-country of Bodhidharma.

Pia & Brian Ruhe[edit]

Pia & Brian Ruhe mention Afghanisatn as one of the possible birth-countries of Bodhidharma, but don't give further references for this possibility:

Around 500 A.D. the biggest hero of Zen Buddhism arrived in China - Bodhidharma. Most Zen Buddhists prefer to say that he came from a Brahmin (sic) family in southern India but the historic accounts are hopelessly at odds, one saying that Bodhidharma came from Afghanistan[100]
Richard Burnett Carter[edit]

Richard Burnett Carter too mentions afghanisatn without giving further references:

[...] the monk Bodhidharma came from... (probably Afghanisatn, since he is credited with blue eyes and red hair)[101]

Iraq[edit]

Iraq is a country in Western Asia. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run through the center of Iraq, flowing from northwest to southeast. Historically, Iraq was known in Europe by the Greek toponym 'Mesopotamia' (Land between the rivers). Iraq has been home to continuous successive civilizations since the 6th millennium BC. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is often referred to as the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of writing, law and the wheel.

Web sources[edit]

No web sources are known which mention Iraq to be the birth-country of Bodhidharma.

Written sources[edit]

No written sources are known which mention Iraq to be the birth-country of Bodhidharma.

Central Asia[edit]

Tradition has Bodhidharma depicted as a "blue-eyed Barbarian".[95] Due to Caucasian migrations, blue eyes were not uncommon in Central Asia. This depiction may refer to the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism from north-west India and Central Asia to China. But it may also refer to Central Asia, including the Tarim Basin, the Kingdom of Khotan, and the Tocharians.

Tarim Basin[edit]

File:Tarimrivermap.png
The Tarim Basin, 2008

The Tarim Basin is a large endorheic basin occupying an area of about 906,500 km2 (350,000 sq mi). It is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China's far west. The ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan was located in the Tarim Basin. It played a role in the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism to China.

Part of the population of Khotan may have been blue-eyed, due to Caucasian migrations.[citation needed]


Kingdom of Khotan[edit]

The Kingdom of Khotan was an ancient Buddhist kingdom that was located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the southern edge of the Taklamakan Desert in the Tarim basin. The area lies in present-day Xinjiang, China.

The first habitants of the area were Indo-Europeans (either Persian or Indian) from the west, and Chinese from the east.

Tocharians[edit]

File:QizilDonors.jpg
Tocharian donors., 6th century AD fresco from the Kizil Caves

The Tocharians were speakers of Tocharian languages in the Tarim Basin (modern Xinjiang, China). The Indo-European language of the Tocharians was supplanted by the Turkic languages of the Uyghur tribes about 800 AD.

The Tocharians, living along the Silk Road, had contacts with the Chinese, Persians, Indian and Turkic tribes. They adopted Buddhism, which, like their alphabet, came from northern India in the 1st century of the 1st millennium, through the proselytism of Kushan monks. The Kushans and the Tocharians seem to have played a part in the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism to China. Many apparently also practised some variant of Manichaeanism

The Tarim Basin mummies (1800 BC) have been found in the same general geographical area as the Tocharian texts and frescoes from the Tarim Basin (3rd to 9th centuries AD), and are both connected to an Indo-European origin and point to Caucasoid types with light eyes and hair color. However it is unknown whether the mummies and frescoes are connected.

Web sources[edit]

Not investigated yet.

Written sources[edit]

Not investigated yet.


References[edit]

Book references[edit]

  1. McRae 2003.
  2. Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 85-90.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 88.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Broughton 1999, p. 54–55.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Broughton 1999, p. 8.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 McRae 2003, p. 26.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 89.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 87.
  9. Broughton 1999, p. 54-55.
  10. Soothill 1995.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Kambe & (year unknown).
  12. Zvelebil 1987, p. 125-126.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Anand Krishna (2005). Bodhidharma: Kata Awal adalah Kata Akhir (in Indonesian). Gramedia Pustaka Utama. ISBN 9792217711. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Edou 1996.
  15. Macmillan (publisher) 2003, p. 57, 130.
  16. Philippe Cornu, Dictionnaire enclyclopédique du Bouddhisme
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Jorgensen 2000, p. 159.
  18. Tikhvinskiĭ, Sergeĭ Leonidovich and Leonard Sergeevich Perelomov (1981). China and her neighbours, from ancient times to the Middle Ages: a collection of essays. Progress Publishers. p. 124. 
  19. von Le Coq, Albert. (1913). Chotscho: Facsimile-Wiedergaben der Wichtigeren Funde der Ersten Königlich Preussischen Expedition nach Turfan in Ost-Turkistan. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen), im Auftrage der Gernalverwaltung der Königlichen Museen aus Mitteln des Baessler-Institutes, Tafel 19. (Accessed 3 September 2016).
  20. Gasparini, Mariachiara. "A Mathematic Expression of Art: Sino-Iranian and Uighur Textile Interactions and the Turfan Textile Collection in Berlin," in Rudolf G. Wagner and Monica Juneja (eds), Transcultural Studies, Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg, No 1 (2014), pp 134-163. ISSN 2191-6411. See also endnote #32. (Accessed 3 September 2016.)
  21. Hansen, Valerie (2012), The Silk Road: A New History, Oxford University Press, p. 98, ISBN 978-0-19-993921-3.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Broughton 1999, p. 9.
  23. Broughton 1999, p. 53.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Broughton 1999, p. 56.
  25. Broughton 1999, p. 139.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Broughton 1999, p. 2.
  27. McRae 2000.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Lin 1996, p. 182.
  29. Broughton 1999, p. 119.
  30. 30.0 30.1 Cook 2003.
  31. Broughton 1999, pp. 2–3.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Maguire 2001, p. 58.
  33. Watts 1962, p. 106.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Lin 1996, p. 183.
  35. Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 86.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Broughton 1999, p. 62.
  37. Broughton 1999, p. 132.
  38. Ferguson, pp 16-17
  39. Faure 1986, p. 187-198.
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Garfinkel 2006, p. 186.
  41. Wong 2001, p. Chapter 3.
  42. Haines 1995, p. Chapter 3.
  43. Shaikh Awab 2006.
  44. Edou 1996, p. 32, p.181 n.20.
  45. Watts 1958, p. 32.
  46. Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 85.
  47. Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 102.
  48. Broughton 1999, pp. 9, 66.
  49. Red Pine 1989, p. 3, emphasis added.
  50. 50.0 50.1 Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 96.
  51. Broughton 1999, p. 67–68.
  52. Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 52.
  53. Suzuki 1932, Preface.
  54. Kohn 1991, p. 125.
  55. Sutton 1991, p. 1.
  56. Suzuki 1932, XLII.
  57. Suzuki 1932, XI(a).
  58. Suzuki 1932, XVI.
  59. Suzuki 1932, IX.
  60. Suzuki 1932, VIII.
  61. Dumoulin 1993, p. 37.
  62. Cole 2009, p. 73–114.
  63. Yampolski 2003, p. 5-6.
  64. Suzuki 1949, p. 168.
  65. Chang 1967.
  66. Suzuki 1948, p. 50.
  67. Diener 1991, p. 266.
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 McRae 2003, p. 24.
  69. McRae 2003, p. 25.
  70. Chaline 2003, pp. 26–27.
  71. Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 89-90.
  72. Dumoulin, Heisig & Knitter 2005, p. 90.
  73. See Dani, AH, 'Some Early Buddhist Texts from Taxila and Peshawar Valley', Paper, Lahore SAS, 1983; and 'Short History of Pakistan' Vol 1, original 1967, rev ed 1992, and 'History of the Northern Areas of Pakistan' ed Lahore: Sang e Meel, 2001
  74. Eitel 1904.
  75. Faure 1986.
  76. Goodman 1992, p. 65.
  77. Buswell & unknown, pp. 57, 130.
  78. Broughton 1999, p. 55.
  79. Broughton 1999, p. 138.
  80. Shahar 2008, pp. 165–173.
  81. Ryuchi 1986.
  82. Henning 1994.
  83. Henning 2001, p. 129.
  84. 84.0 84.1 Zvelebil 1987, p. 125.
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 Dumoulin 2005, pp. 85–90.
  86. 86.0 86.1 Dumoulin 2005, p. 88.
  87. 87.0 87.1 87.2 87.3 Dumoulin 2005, p. 89.
  88. Dumoulin 2005, p. 87.
  89. Yampolski 2013, p. 7.
  90. Dumoulin 2005, pp. 89–90.
  91. 91.0 91.1 Dumoulin 2005, p. 90.
  92. 92.0 92.1 Kambe & Year unknown.
  93. Zvelebil 1987, pp. 125–126.
  94. Gridley 1994, p. 107.
  95. 95.0 95.1 Soothill and Hodous 1995.
  96. Tojo 2010, p. 9.
  97. Tojo 2010, p. 10.
  98. Tojo 2010, p. 12.
  99. Tojo 2010, p. 12-13.
  100. Ruhe 2005, p. 76.
  101. Carter 2010, p. 112.

Web references[edit]

Websites[edit]

South India[edit]

Websites mentioning Kanchipuram[edit]

Websites mentioning Muziris[edit]

Websites mentioning Kochi[edit]

Websites mentioning Nagarjunakonda[edit]

Websites mentioning Sri Lanka[edit]

Western Regions and Silk Road Transmission[edit]

Websites mentioning Silk Road Transmission[edit]

Websites mentioning Kushan Empire[edit]

Websites mentioning Persia[edit]

Websites mentioning Afghanistan[edit]

Websites mentioning Iraq[edit]

Websites mentioning Tarim Basin[edit]

Websites mentioning Kingdom of Khotan[edit]

Websites mentioning Tocharians[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Broughton, Jeffrey L. (1999), The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen, Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-21972-4 
  • Carter, Richard Burnett (2010), The Language of Zen: Heart Speaking to Heart, Sterling Ethos, ISBN 978-1-4027-4701-4 
  • Dumoulin, Heinrich (2005), Zen Buddhism: A History. Volume: India and China, Bloomington: World Wisdom, ISBN 0-941532-89-5 
  • Gridley, Marilyn Leidig (1993), Chinese Buddhist sculpture under the Liao: free standing works in situ and selected examples from public collections, International Academy of Indian Culture and Aditya Prakashan 
  • Jorgensen, John (2000), "Bodhidharma", in Johnston, William M., Encyclopedia of Monasticism: A-L, Taylor & Francis 
  • Kambe, Tsutomu (n.d.), Bodhidharma (around 440? - 528?). A collection of stories from Chinese literature (PDF) 
  • McRae, John (2003), Seeing through Zen. Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism, Bloomington, IN: The University Press Group Ltd, ISBN 978-0-520-23798-8 
  • Ruhe, Pia & Brian (2005), Freeing the Buddha. Diversity on a sacred Path - Large scale concerns, Buddhist Spectrum Study Group, ISBN 978-0-9683951-1-0 
  • Soothill, William Edward; Hodous, Lewis (1995), A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, London: RoutledgeCurzon 
  • Tojo, Masato (2010), Zen Buddhism and Persian Culture. An Investigation on the Influence Influence of Simorghiansian Culture on Zen Buddhism 
  • Yampolsky, Phillip B. (2013), The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Columbia University Press 
  • Zvelebil, K.V. (1987), "The Sound of the One Hand", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 107 (1): 125–126 
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Further reading[edit]

  • Mcrae, John (2003), Seeing through Zen. Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism. The University Press Group Ltd . ISBN 978-0-520-23798-8

Notes[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 See also South India, Dravidian peoples, Tamil people and Tamil nationalism for backgrounds on the Tamil identity.
  1. There are three principal sources for Bodhidharma's biography:[2]
    • Yáng Xuànzhī's The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547);
    • Tánlín's preface to the Two Entrances and Four Acts (6th century CE), which is also preserved in Ching-chüeh's Chronicle of the Lankavatar Masters (713-716);[3]
    • Dàoxuān's Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (7th century CE).
  2. The origins which are mentioned in these sources are:
    • "[A] monk of the Western Region named Bodhidharma, a Persian Central Asian"[4] c.q. "from Persia"[6] (Buddhist monasteries, 547);
    • "[A] South Indian of the Western Region. He was the third son of a great Indian king."[5] (Tanlin, 6th century CE);
    • "[W]ho came from South India in the Western Regions, the third son of a great Brahman king"[7] c.q. "the third son of a Brahman of South India" [6] (Lankavatara Masters, 713-716[3]/ca. 715[6]);
    • "[O]f South Indian Brahman stock"[8] c.q. "a Brahman monk from South India"[6] (Further Biographies, 645).
    Broughton further notes: "The guide's Bodhidharma is an Iranian, not an Indian. There is, however, nothing implausible about an early sixth-century Iranian Buddhist master who made his way to North China via the fabled Silk Road. This scenario is, in fact, more likely than a South Indian master who made his way by the sea route."[9]
  3. An Indian tradition regards Bodhidharma to be the third son of a Tamil Pallava king from Kanchipuram.[11][12][lower-alpha 1] The Tibetan and Southeast traditions consistently regard Bodhidharma as South Indian,[13] the former in particular characterising him as a dark-skinned Dravidian.[14] Conversely, the Japanese tradition generally regards Bodhidharma to be from Persia.[web 1]
  4. According to Jorgensen, the mentioning by Yáng Xuànzhī of Bodhidharma as Persian is mistaken, since the Sassanian realm was not Buddhist. Johnston supposes that Yáng Xuànzhī mistook the name of the south-Indian Pallava dynasty for the name of the Sassanian Pahlavi dynasty;[17] however, Persian Buddhists did exist within the Sassanian realm, particularly in the formerly Greco-Buddhist east, see Persian Buddhism.
  5. Dàoxuān records that Huìkě's arm was cut off by bandits.[36]
  6. Various names are given for this nun. Zōngzhǐ is also known by her title Soji, and by Myoren, her nun name. In the Jǐngdé Records of the Transmission of the Lamp, Dharani repeats the words said by the nun Yuanji in the Two Entrances and Four Acts, possibly identifying the two with each other .[37] Heng-Ching Shih states that according to the Jǐngdé chuándēng lù 景德传灯录 the first `bhikṣuni` mentioned in the Chán literature was a disciple of the First Chan Patriarch, Bodhidharma, known as Zōngzhǐ 宗旨 [early-mid 6th century][web 2]
  7. In the Shōbōgenzō 正法眼蔵 chapter called Katto ("Twining Vines") by Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 (1200–1253), she is named as one of Bodhidharma's four Dharma heirs. Although the First Patriarch's line continued through another of the four, Dogen emphasizes that each of them had a complete understanding of the teaching.[web 3]
  8. [48] translates 壁觀 as "wall-examining".
  9. [22] offers a more literal rendering of the key phrase 凝住壁觀 (níngzhù bìguān) as "[who] in a coagulated state abides in wall-examining".
  10. viz., [51] where a Tibetan Buddhist interpretation of "wall-gazing" as being akin to Dzogchen is offered.

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

Published sources[edit]

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Web sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Buddhist titles
Preceded by
Prajñādhara
Lineage of Zen Buddhist patriarchs Succeeded by
Huike

Template:Chinese Buddhist Pantheon Template:Buddhist Pantheon

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