Bodhidharma Talks

Bodhidharma was a semi-legendary Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and is regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to a 17th-century apocryphal story found in a manual called Yijin Jing, he began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu. He is known as Dámó in China and as Daruma in Japan. His name means "dharma of awakening (bodhi)" in Sanskrit.

Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend and unreliable details.

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

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

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 CE) and later accounts dating his arrival to the Liang dynasty (502–557 CE). Bodhidharma was primarily active in the territory of the Northern Wei (386–534 CE). Modern scholarship dates him to about the early 5th century CE.

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 back to the Gautama Buddha himself.

From bodhidharma on Wikipedia

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Zen Meditation on the Great Flower Adornment Scripture, Class 5

In this series of meetings, we will study and see how Zen is the key unlocking the innumerable meanings of this oceanic scripture. We will also explore how the sutra opens and illuminates our simple...

#YRB-2023-Fall, Demons, Faith, Lotus Sutra, Bodhidharma, Enlightenment
Oct 31 2023
5 of 8
The Yoga Room

Zen Meditation on the Great Flower Adornment Scripture, Class 4

In this series of meetings, we will study and see how Zen is the key unlocking the innumerable meanings of this oceanic scripture. We will also explore how the sutra opens and illuminates our simple...

#YRB-2023-Fall, Faith, Lotus Sutra, Demons, Bodhidharma, Enlightenment
Oct 24 2023
4 of 8
The Yoga Room

Compassion with the Controlling Impulse

Emphasizing compassion and de-emphasizing trying to control. Compassion with the impulse to try to control. Being careful without trying to control. Impartiality towards the outcome; for example,...

Compassion, control, impartiality, non-grasping, loving-kindness, Bodhidharma, Avalokiteshvara,...
Feb 04 2023
No Abode Hermitage

Protecting and Liberating All Beings

A residential weekend retreat at Mount Madonna.

#MtMadonna-2021-Fall, Compassion, Paramitas, Intimacy, Observe, Zazen, Bodhidharma,...
Nov 19 2021
Mount Madonna Center

Ten Vows, Ten Practices, and Ten Cakes

Discrimination, Bowing, Japan, Bell, Attachment, Priest, Dragons, Doubt, Bodhidharma...
Mar 07 2020
No Abode Hermitage

Buddha Activity

The work of buddhas — buddha activity — is realizing intimacy and liberation in conversation together with all beings. In this series of meetings we will contemplate what it is to fully engage with...

YRB-2019-Spring, cognitive process, Silence, Faith, Suzuki Roshi, unconscious process...
Apr 02 2019
The Yoga Room

Silent Sitting & Social Action

Zen students often ask how our practice of silence and stillness relates to injustice and our environmental crisis. In this class we explore this question and study the intimate interplay of...

YRB-2018-Fall, Silence, Bodhidharma, cognitive process, Observe, Fundraising, Lay,...
Nov 13 2018
5 of 7
The Yoga Room

Bodhidharma Listening to the Cries of the World

Avalokiteshvara's eyes of compassion observing all sentient beings; Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu, facing the wall for nine years; the Sixth Ancestor's training;

Buddha Ancestors, Consciousness, Compassion, Bodhisattva, Bodhidharma, cognitive...
Mar 03 2018
No Abode Hermitage

The Pivotal Business of Buddha’s House

Compassion, Bodhidharma, resistance
Jun 11 2016
No Abode Hermitage

Fayen’s Good Friendship

Perfect Wisdom, Perfect Wisdom, Avalokiteshvara, Bodhidharma, Blue Cliff Record,...
Jun 07 2014
No Abode Hermitage

The Mind of Enlightenment 

Silence, Lotus Sutra, Dogen, Bodhidharma
Aug 19 2010
The Yoga Room

The Mind of Enlightenment 

Enthusiasm, Bodhidharma, Equanimity, Practice Period, Faith
Aug 05 2010
The Yoga Room

Training for the Selfless Heart 

Bodhidharma, Addiction, difficulty, Enthusiasm, Bodhisattva Way
Apr 15 2010
The Yoga Room