One must consider the Indian tradition of Vajramushti which is a brutal hand to hand art practiced by the warrior class, the Kshatriya, to which Bodhidharma belonged as providing a context for his teachings.
Their "wild man" antics and military prowess recall the above descriptions of Bodhidharma and Padmasambhava, with the Yamabushi retiring in a similar manner to caves for long cave meditations.
Bodhidharma soon saw that the monks were a bunch of soft lads.
Bodhidharma, who is also known as Ta-Mo, came from a royal background that valued the fighting arts.
In the Platform Sutra, however, the robe drops out as a token of transmission, replaced by the verses that have been transmitted by the patriarchs, and that serve to link Bodhidharma
and Huineng (p.
These two perspectives are mirrored in the interpretative possibilities for Dongshan's reply to the query about Bodhidharma.
Dongshan's comparison to Bodhidharma may hinge on this repellence: his teachings cannot be approached in the normal fashion.
First, he argues that the transmission of the dharma from Bodhidharma
to Faru is not supported through the inclusion of dates, places, or even the details of transmission.
La Conversion de l'orient: Une peregrination didactique de Bodhidharma
The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen.
The Bodhidharma Anthology is a collection of texts attributed to Bodhidharma, the "first patriarch" of the Ch'an lineage in China, and to his immediate disciples.
The seven texts of the Bodhidharma Anthology have previously appeared in a Japanese translation with detailed annotation by Yanagida Seizan, in a French translation with annotation and a long introduction by Bernard Faure, and in an English translation as a Master's thesis by John Jorgenson.
The brief biography of Bodhidharma, for instance, is attributed to a sixth-century monk named T'an-lin and seems to have been the chief source for the biography of Bodhidharma written in the seventh century by Tao-hsuan, Similarly, Taohsuan seems to have drawn on the letters to write his biography of Bodhidharma's disciple Hui-k'o.
These texts may be no earlier than the tentative eighth-century date of the Tun-huang manuscript, though a reference in Tao-hsuan to a "scroll of the oral injunctions" of Bodhidharma may be an allusion to one or more of these records, in which case the date of the texts could be pushed back to the mid-seventh century.
One response to this crisis, Barrett suggests, was the assertion of the notion of an already established lineage of authoritative patriarchs, in the case of Ch'an, extending unbroken back through the key figure, Bodhidharma
, to shadowy origins in India.