Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu


There is a famous quatrain attributed to Bodhidharma in his meeting with Emperor Wu.

The emperor asked Bodhidharma, the toothless old monk with big wide open eyes: "Since I ascended the throne, I have promoted the building of temples, the transcription of Sutras (scriptures), ordination of monks; 
serving and donating money to temples and preachers. What merit have I obtained? "
The Master replied, "No merit at all."
The Emperor asked: - "Why no merit?"
The Master said: - "All these things are nothing but unclean for merit reasons; at the most they ripen the meager fruit of a human rebirth or Deva (god). They are like shadows that follow the forms, lacking their own reality."

The emperor asked: - "So, what kind is the real merit?" 
The Master said: - "It is the pure, wonderful and perfect knowledge (Gyana). Its essence is emptiness. You cannot win a spiritual merit through worldly means..."

Then the emperor asked: - "What is the first principle of sacred truth?"
Bodhidharma replied: - "Vast emptiness, nothing else; absolutely nothing." 

Excerpts from: 'Bodhidharma and his spiritual legacy'
By Dokushô Villalba. 

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