PZI Teacher Archives

Bodhidharma and the Buddha-Heart Emperor and the Magical Duke (BCR1)(BS2)


Emperor Wu asked the great teacher Bodhidharma,
“What is the first principle of the holy teaching?”
Bodhidharma said, “Vast emptiness, nothing holy.”
“Who are you, standing here in front of me?” asked the Emperor.
“I don’t know,” said Bodhidharma.
The Emperor didn’t understand.
Bodhidharma crossed the river and went into the Kingdom of Wei.
Later, the Emperor asked Duke Zhi about this.
The Duke said, “Your Majesty, do you know who that was?”
“I don’t know,” said the Emperor.
“That was the bodhisattva Guanyin, bringing the mind seal of the Buddha.”
The Emperor was filled with regret and wanted to send a messenger to ask Bodhidharma to come back.
The Duke said, “There’s no point, Your Majesty.
Even if everyone in the country went after him, he wouldn’t return.”

—Blue Cliff Record Case 1 & Book of Serenity Case 2

(transl. by John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland)


Dharma Theme August 1, 2023
51 Words
Text July 26, 2023

Dahui’s Journey, Bodhidharma’s Response, & the Marvelous Duke

John Tarrant

So, if you stop being afraid, if you stop being wonderful, if you stop being charming, if we stop charming each other, we’re just here in the vastness with no agenda, and that’s the Daoism that’s at the core of Chan. Emptiness is here. That’s what I think is a good thing.

5028 Words