Lesson
3

Bodhidharma

4 of 8

Transmission

After teaching for nine years Bodhidharma decided to return to his home in India. Before departing he asked his disciples to tell of their attainments.

Daofu: "My present view is that we should neither be attached to letters, nor be apart from letters, and to allow the Way to function freely."

Bodhidharma: "You have attained my skin."

Nun Zongchi: "My view is that it is like the joy of seeing Akshobhya Buddha's land just once and not again."

Bodhidharma: "You have attained my flesh."

Daoyu: "The four great elements are originally empty and the five skandhas do not exist. Therefore, I see nothing to be attained."

Bodhidharma: "You have attained my bones."

Finally Huike came forward, made a full bow, stood up, and returned to where he was.

Bodhidharma said, "You have attained my marrow."

Thus, it is said, he transmitted the Dharma and robe to Huike. Upon transmitting the Dharma to Huike, Bodhidharma is said to have told Huike:

After two hundred years it will be time to stop transmitting the robe. Then the Dharma will be spread all over the world. But although many people will know of the Tao, few will practice it; and although there will be many who preach the Principle, few will penetrate it. More than a thousand, or ten thousand, people will concur with the innermost [teaching] and bear private witness. When you expound the truth, do not slight the man who is not yet enlightened. Should his essential nature suddenly turn, he would be equal in original enlightenment. Listen to my poem:

Originally I came to this land
To rescue deluded people by transmitting the Dharma.
One flower will open with five petals
And the fruit will ripen by itself.