Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma — the legendary Indian monk, the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism, the founder of Chan-Buddhism doctrine, (Zen Buddhism, the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism).

In chan-buddhism he is considered to be the first patriarch of Chan school. According to the legend, he was originally from South India, belonged to the Brahmin varna or Ksatriyas, came from a royal family, was the third successor of the king. Having left the family, embraced Mahayana Buddhism wing and became a missionary monk.

Arrived to China (Guangzhou) by sea at the end of the dynasty Liu Song (420 — 479), other versions — in 520 or 527. Between 516 — 526 went to Loyan, where in the Yunninsy monastery he had been preaching Buddhism. Then, went to the Shaolinsy monastery, on the Songshan Mount, where he had spent nine years in «continuous contemplating a stone wall in the sitting meditation «(zuo chan bi guan), therefore coevals called him «a Brahmin, contemplating a wall «(bi guan polomen). In total, spent more than 40 years in northern China, spreading the word about «enlightenment» and transmitting esoteric methods of Buddhist practice of psycho.

He was highly respected by Chinese monks as «meditation mentor» and an expert in the Buddhist canon. Had many disciples and followers, the most known of them were Huike, Tan Lin, Tao Yu and others.

Huike was appointed as his successor and the second Chan patriarch. «Lankavatarasutra» in four juans («scrolls») was given to him for distribution as the main Chan school canon. Along with the interpretation of this and other Mahayana sutras (mainly in the Yogacara tradition), Bodhidharma had developed the doctrine of «two ways and four methods» to achieve «enlightenment.»

The first «path» — «getting into the principle» (zhu li) meant to realize that all living beings have the same initially «pure» nature, just superficially «clouded» by ignorance, so it is necessary to reject all the false views and go back to the «true reality» ( chjen zhu) through the practice of «wall contemplation «(bi guan).

The second «path» — «entry into the practice» ( Zhu Shea) implied an adept to acquire «four methods»:

- willing to accept all the grief and sorrow, not showing hatred towards the one who causes you harm;
- to follow the law of causality and be content with one’s destiny, easily perceiving happiness and unhappiness, purchase and loss;
- to get rid of passions and not to aspire for anything;
- to be in accordance with the Dharma, Buddha teaching.

He is credited with development of four fundamental principles in Zen Buddhism:

«A special transmission outside the teaching»;
«Not to lean on words and texts»;
«Direct reference to the person’s consciousness»;
«Contemplating one’s nature, to become a Buddha.»