We celebrated the Festival Ceremony for Great Master Bodhidharma this morning. On these occasions we sing a fairly long litany in which the fundamental teachings of the Bodhisattva we are remembering are described. The following quote comes at the end of The Litany of Bodhidharma Bodhisattva, on page six. And that’s the shortened version. The line that stood out was the one about why stay troubled….and that what we have been singing is just the barest outline of the teachings!
Go beyond the mundane
And attest to That which is saintly.
It is before your very eyes,
Not off in the distance.
Awakening is but an instant away;
Why stay troubled until your hair has turned grey?
Would that I had explained for you the subtle mysteries
of the gate to the Dharma in depth
Rather than discussed the mind in barest outline,
detailing but such a scant portion of the reason for which we train.
Some of you may be familiar with the translation of The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine (North Point Press, 1987). Here are some quotes from that translation.
If you should follow the above link do take care to avoid mental gymnastics, if you tend towards that activity. Teachings speak to the depths and it is there one needs to listen and read.
2 thoughts on “Teachings of Bodhidharma Bodhisattva – Festival Ceremony Day”
I read recently something along the lines of “do not think about anything more deeply than is necessary”. Of course, being me, I then mulled that over for days!
Great Master Bodhidharma always looks to me someone who would not suffer fools gladly – a blow or a roar maybe.
The British Museum has a fine image http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_image.aspx?image=ps203559.jpg&retpage=16350
It looks like it’s not possible to post a link the tidy way in the comments, i.e. without showing the long URL. I see you tried to do that. So I went to the BM site and find a scroll of Bodhidharma. Hope that’s the image you were pointing to. It’s one familiar to me at least.
Suffer fools gladly? There is just no knowing what Bodhidharma was actually like. My guess is that over the years images of him have become hightly stylised showing him as, frankly, a monk you might want to avoid! We have a statue of Bodhidharma at Throssel, you may remember it, which tells a very different story. Unfortunately I don’t have an image on my computer otherwise I’d post it.
Good to hear from you Walter. It’s been ages. Well over a year since we met at the British Library in London.