fifth-century Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma is credited with
bringing Zen to China. Although the tradition that traces its ancestry
back to him did not flourish until nearly two hundred years after his
death, today millions of Zen Buddhists and students of kung fu claim him
as their spiritual father.
While others viewed Zen practice as a
purification of the mind or a stage on the way to perfect
enlightenment, Bodhidharma equated Zen with buddhahood and believed that
it had a place in everyday life. Instead of telling his disciples to
purify their minds, he pointed them to rock walls, to the movements of
tigers and cranes, to a hollow reed floating across the Yangtze.
bilingual edition presents four teachings in their
entirety. "Outline of Practice" describes the four all-inclusive habits
that lead to enlightenment, the "Bloodstream Sermon" exhorts students to
seek the Buddha by seeing their own nature, the "Wake-up Sermon" holds up detachment as the essence of the Way, and the "Breakthrough Sermon"
defends his premise that the most essential method for reaching
enlightenment is beholding the mind. The original Chinese text,
presented on facing pages, is taken from a Ch'ing dynasty woodblock