Bodhidharma is named as the 26th Zen Patriarch in the line emanating from Gautam Buddha. However, as Osho says, he shows even “higher flights” than Buddha – who would not accept any female disciples – as his master was the enlightened woman, Pragyatara.
Extract: From Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
I have a very soft corner in my heart for Bodhidharma. That makes it a very special occasion to speak about him. Perhaps he is the only man whom I have loved so deeply that speaking on him I will be almost speaking on myself. That also creates a great complexity, because he never wrote anything in his life. No enlightened being has ever written. Bodhidharma is not an exception, but by tradition these three books that we are going to discuss are attributed to Bodhidharma.
The scholars reason that because there is no contrary evidence – and for almost one thousand years, these books have been attributed to Bodhidharma – there is no reason why we should not accept them. I am not a scholar, and there are certainly fragments which must have been spoken by Bodhidharma, but these are not books written by him. These are notes by his disciples. It was an ancient tradition that when a disciple takes notes from the master he does not put his own name on those notes, because nothing of it belongs to him; it has come from the master.
But knowing Bodhidharma as intimately as I know him…. There are so many fallacies which are possible only if somebody else was taking notes and his own mind entered into it; he has interpreted Bodhidharma – and with not much understanding.
Before we enter into these sutras, a few things about Bodhidharma will be good to know. That will give you the flavor of the man and a way to understand what belongs to him in these books and what does not belong to him. It is going to be a very strange commentary.
Bodhidharma was born fourteen centuries ago as a son of a king in the south of
All true seekers in fact, have been fighting against death. Bertrand Russell has made a statement that if there were no death, there would be no religion. There is some truth in it. I will not agree totally, because religion is a vast continent. It is not only death, it is also the search for bliss, it is also the search for truth, it is also the search for the meaning of life; it is many more things. But certainly Bertrand Russell is right: if there were no death, very few, very rare people would be interested in religion. Death is the great incentive.
Chapter 1 To Seek Nothing Is Bliss
Chapter 2 A Pilgrimage to Your Own Being
Chapter 3 Beyond This Nature There’s No Buddha
Chapter 4 Buddhas Don’t Practice Nonsense
Chapter 5 Suchness Is Our Self-Nature
Chapter 6 Understanding Comes In Mid-sentence
Chapter 7 Get Ready and Claim Your Inheritance
Chapter 8 Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong
Chapter 9 The Antidote to the Poisons of Your Life
Chapter 10 Not to Be in the Mind Is Everything
Chapter 11 Mind Is the Greatest Enemy of Man
Chapter 12 Every Suffering Is a Buddha-seed
Chapter 13 Mind Is the Bondage
Chapter 14 To Face a Buddha Is Dangerous
Chapter 15 Breakthrough to Buddhahood
Chapter 16 The Courage to Say “I Don’t Know”
Chapter 17 Take the Risk Wholesale
Chapter 18 Wakefulness Is Awareness
Chapter 19 Relish the Mystery in the Depths of Your Heart
Chapter 20 Less Than an Eye Blink Away