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 all the way back to the Gautama Buddha himself.

From bodhidharma on Wikipedia

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Compassion with the Controlling Impulse - February 4th, 2023, Afternoon

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

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

The Pivotal Business of Buddha’s House

Compassion, Bodhidharma, resistance
Jun 11 2016
No Abode Hermitage

Fayen’s Good Friendship

Perfect Wisdom, Perfect Wisdom, Soto Zen, Daily Life, Bodhidharma, resistance, Heart...
Jun 07 2014
No Abode Hermitage

Speakable and Unspeakable Names of Our Zen Family Ancestors

Perfect Wisdom, good friendship, This good friendship is the whole of the holy life, Shitou, Matzu, Yaoshan, Da-Wu, Lung-tan, Deshan, Guishan, Xiangyan SFZC lineage, Mind of No Abode


Kalyana Mitra, Shitou, Mazu, Prajna Paramita, Perfect Wisdom, resistance, Lineage,...
Mar 01 2014
No Abode Hermitage

The Bodhisattva's Mind of No Abode 

The Bodhisattva’s Mind of No Abode
Tenshin Reb Anderson
No Abode, Sept 1, 2012 AM

Fundraising, Buddha Mind, true dharma, japanese, practicing generosity, Politics,...
Sep 01 2012
No Abode Hermitage

When Dharma fills Body and Mind 

When Dharma Fills Body and Mind Tenshin Reb Anderson No Abode, July 14, 2012 AFTERNOON

Lineage, Dogen, lecture, soto, Bodhidharma, Desire
Jul 13 2012
No Abode Hermitage

Stimulating Bodhisattva's courage and entering reality 

Observe, Rinzai, Gratitude, Bodhisattva Vow, Enemies, Japan, Bodhidharma, Religion,...
Oct 15 2011
No Abode Hermitage

The Basic Practice of Stillness and Silence 

Silence, Impermanence, Attachment, Manjushri, lecture, Bodhidharma, American, Evil,...
Feb 12 2011
No Abode Hermitage

Intimacy with Birth and Death: The 39th Yearly Memorial for Suzuki Roshi 

Intimacy, Birth-and-Death, Suzuki Roshi, New Year, Priest, resistance, Chanting,...
Dec 04 2010
No Abode Hermitage

The Mind of Enlightenment 

Enthusiasm, Bodhidharma, Practice Period, Faith, Equanimity, Confession-and-...
Aug 05 2010
The Yoga Room

Training for the Selfless Heart 

Desire, Demons, Birth-and-Death, Emotions, Intimacy, Attachment, Samsara, Continuous...
Apr 22 2010
The Yoga Room

Training for the Selfless Heart 

Patience, Addiction, Bodhidharma, difficulty, Enthusiasm, Don't Know Mind,...
Apr 15 2010
The Yoga Room

Is the Bodhisattva Path Exclusive? 

Intimacy, Priest, Teacher-and-Student, Commitment, Soto Zen, Interview, soto,...
Mar 06 2010
No Abode Hermitage

The Ultimate Transcends All Argumentation

Samdhinirmochana Mahayana Sutra Chapter 2

Chapter Two, Morning
No Abode 5/23/09 AM
Trans: Karen Mueller

Non-violence, Nirvana, Bodhisattva Way, Doubt, Anger, Desire, War, Hindrances,...
May 23 2009
No Abode Hermitage

Causation and Non-Self 

causation, Birth-and-Death, Faith, Suzuki Roshi, Emotions, Manjushri, Interdependence...
Apr 16 2009
The Yoga Room

Causation and Non-Self 

causation, Attachment, Faith, War, Evil, Desire, Bodhidharma
Apr 09 2009
The Yoga Room