Bodhidharma, also known as Da Mo in Chinese, was a Buddhist monk and the founder of the Chan or Zen school of Buddhism. He is considered to be a legendary figure in Buddhist history, and his life is shrouded in myth and legend.
According to tradition, Bodhidharma was born in the 5th or 6th century in southern India. He was a member of the Brahmin caste and was the third son of a king. When he was young, he became interested in Buddhism and studied under Prajnatara, a Buddhist master.
Bodhidharma later travelled to China, where he is said to have arrived in 520 CE, during the Liang Dynasty. He was reportedly welcomed by Emperor Wu, who asked him about the merits of his Buddhist practices. Bodhidharma is said to have responded by stating that there were no merits and that the emperor’s mind was clouded by delusions!! 😉
After leaving the emperor’s court, Bodhidharma travelled to the Shaolin Monastery in Henan Province, where he is said to have meditated for nine years facing a wall in a cave. During this time, he is said to have developed a new form of Buddhism, which combined elements of Indian Buddhism with Taoist philosophy.
Bodhidharma is credited with introducing meditation and martial arts to the Shaolin Monastery, which later became famous for its Shaolin Kung Fu. He is also said to have trained the monks in physical exercises to improve their health and strengthen their bodies.
According to legend, Bodhidharma died at the age of 150 in the Shaolin Monastery. His teachings became the foundation for the Chan or Zen school of Buddhism, which spread throughout China and eventually influenced the development of Japanese Zen.
Today, Bodhidharma is revered as a spiritual master and is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of Buddhism. His life and teachings continue to inspire people around the world to seek enlightenment and inner peace through meditation and spiritual practice.
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