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Thread: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

  1. #1

    1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    We now make the jump from India to China, and to the world ... beyond all borders ...

    Quite a story is told of Bodhidharma ... who we actually have very little reliable information about (assuming he existed at all). Of course, the "reality" may not be the real reality of it all.

    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Phi ... adigm.html

    Whether "legend" or not (as with so many of the Indian ancestors we have encountered to this point) the true "jewel" in not necessarily one visible to the ordinary eye.

    Cook at 147
    Hixon at 134 (his points are a bit more straightforward than Keizan-Cook perhaps)

  2. #2
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    Regarding Keizan, even without reading the Faure essay I think I would have recognized this as a made up political story. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. I had been looking forward to Bodhidharma's story here, but now having read it I find I preferred dragons and tree fungus and homeless guys wandering around yelling at people, etc. better. That being said, however, it doesn't really matter much at all because of what we talked about in the lineage thread that started this whole episode of the book club. Thinking thusly, going back to Hixon's last chapter on Prajnatara,
    Looking back along the flowing steam of living Buddha's, we see only pure essence. This entire sacred history is just you and me in the companionship of nonduality. [emphasis mine]

  3. #3

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    All is being said right in the first section (case) of Keizan/Cook, "the true nature of things is the greatest". Honestly, what if not our true nature we're after when entering this path. True nature we approach day by day when following the path. Having found our true nature we're truly at home.
    _()_
    Peter

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    Hixon:
    Since this chapter has a lot of material covering the global spreading of the Dharma I cant help but think that if this book were written at a later date(copyright 1995) that there surely would have been some mention of Treeleaf. If at least not by name, than by deed of transmitting the Dharma via the internet, also known as the "virtual world". Until something else comes along to replace the web, it seems as though this is the final frontier for transmission. Surely Hixon would have taken this into account had Treeleaf existed at the time of his writing!

    Gassho

  5. #5

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    I first became acquainted with the name Bodhidharma via the Chinese Martial Arts. As the story goes Bodhidharma found the monks at the Shaolin monastery in such poor health he taught them various exercises. I was even taught an exercise program which was attributed to Bodhidharma . After a considerable amount of time in the marital arts I realized how much myth and storytelling was involved. Faure's mention of Foucault seemed particularly relevant to the issue of Bodhidharma :

    The author is the principle of thrift in the proliferation of meaning....[He] is not an indefinite source of significations which fill the work; he is a certain functional principle by which, in our culture, on limits, excludes and chooses; in short, by which on impedes the free circulation, the free manipulation, the free composition, decomposition and re-composition of fictions.
    Much of Faure's reading seemed relevant to not only the issue of history, but also how we construct notions "identity" for ourselves and others.

    But anyway on to Bodhidharma.... Two passages stuck out for me. The first paragraph of Keizan:

    Venerable Prajnatara, asked, 'What among all things is formless?" The master replied "Non-arising is formless." The patriarch asked, "What among all things is the greatest?" the master replied, "The [true] nature of things is the greatest."
    As Peter stated above, true nature is key to the Way.

    The other passage was Hixon's response to "Why did Bodhidarma travel to the West?" Stating how "the Great Dharma of Bodhi, the radical teaching of perpetual awakeness" travels but remains still. Hixon goes on by stating:

    This is not an existentialist journey, made poignant by doubt, disciplined by dread. This is the blissful, timeless journey of spontaneous transmission. The inevitable journey. The flowing breath of humanity. The full flowering of humanity
    For me Zen has, at times, and existential feel to it and I seem to recall some really old Sit-along by Jundo in which he draws some comparisons between the two. Nevertheless, Zen differs in holding such potential for optimism and joy.

    Gassho,
    Jisen/BrianW

  6. #6

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    Quote Originally Posted by JRBrisson
    Hixon:
    Since this chapter has a lot of material covering the global spreading of the Dharma I cant help but think that if this book were written at a later date(copyright 1995) that there surely would have been some mention of Treeleaf. If at least not by name, than by deed of transmitting the Dharma via the internet, also known as the "virtual world". Until something else comes along to replace the web, it seems as though this is the final frontier for transmission. Surely Hixon would have taken this into account had Treeleaf existed at the time of his writing!

    Gassho
    Ha!

    Oh, we are in there, ya just have to look closely ... from beginning to end.

    And all the Ancestors are in us too. are us ... have been all along. :wink:

    Gassho, J

  7. #7

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    The Great Way was acknowledged in China and the treasure of Mind appeared. Bodhidarma accomplished his assigned task. How or when he got there is not important. We can say the results are real to this day. Gassho Zak

  8. #8

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    Hiyas
    Im adding a me too, a bit to Alanla's point about a politically driven bit. Still interesting and I think, as said above, if it were written today... there would still be a need for some political drive behind it as it was then, it still happens now Bodhidharma was sharp as a tack and a solid intellectual understanding of key teachings, and even though sharp, by sitting he realized and was realized by these teachings. Rather than simply understanding he experienced them through practice and shared that practice in the east. Factual account or political story...here we are

    Gassho
    Shohei

  9. #9

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    Such a pity I've been missing these debates. Fortunately I now have more free time and can join again.

    I always imagined Bodhidharma as a sort of Jesus christ spreading zen around China, so I was surprised to realize that he mostly did zazen and just trusted to pass the Dharma to one person, and when he was sure of that, he just died. I guess it is a narrative form to give more importance to the concept of transmission of the light.
    It is also curious how the text doesn't describe at all the famous meeting between the Emperor and Bodhidharma. Did the author didn't include it because he considered it mythical? Or because it was so well known that there was no need to include it?

    Gassho

    Rimon

  10. #10

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    Quote Originally Posted by Rimon
    Such a pity I've been missing these debates. Fortunately I now have more free time and can join again.

    I always imagined Bodhidharma as a sort of Jesus christ spreading zen around China, so I was surprised to realize that he mostly did zazen and just trusted to pass the Dharma to one person, and when he was sure of that, he just died. I guess it is a narrative form to give more importance to the concept of transmission of the light.
    It is also curious how the text doesn't describe at all the famous meeting between the Emperor and Bodhidharma. Did the author didn't include it because he considered it mythical? Or because it was so well known that there was no need to include it?

    Gassho

    Rimon
    Hi Rimon,

    That is a story added only in some versions as the legend developed over time. Read a bit more here (pages 238-9)

    http://books.google.com/books?id=x2Z...r%20wu&f=false

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-18-2013 at 02:18 AM.

  11. #11

    Re: 1/7 TRANSMISSION of the LIGHT: to Bodhidharma

    Very interesting to see the political and power struggle connotations behind the story. The book Fathering your father: the Zen of fabrication in Tang Buddhism looks like worth reading to see the real story behind the hagiography.

    Thank you Jundo

    Rimon

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