a. Bodhidharma was last seen heading back to India, wearing one sandal. Why did he return to India?
b. Someone comes to you in a dream and asks you why Bodhidharma came from the West. If you don’t answer, you fail your responsibility. What will you say?
c. Bodhidharma’s relics are in front of the gate. Go get them and bring them here.
—PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 43
Why did Bodhidharma come from the West, and return to the East? Why are we born, and why do we die? Emperor Wu regretted his interview, but no one could bring Bodhidharma back. We all come and go. Jon’s talk, meditations, and student comments & stories. As recorded August 2, 2021.
PZI Zen Online: “Why did Bodhidharma come from the West?” Answer: “The Oak Tree in the garden.” David reflects on the nature of the garden, and how life is everywhere—even is this odd time of extremes. Recorded June 4th, 2020.
In the evening dharma talk John introduces us to an ancestor in the koan tradition, Dahui Zonggao 大慧宗杲 (Ta-hui Tsung-kao, Daie Soko), 1089-1163 and his disciple Wuzhuo Miaozong (無著妙宗; 1096–1170 CE), Miaozong lived during the Song dynasty and was one of the first nuns to be included in an imperially sanctioned Zen lineage history. The conversation between Dahui and Miaozong is instructive of his early method of using only the head of the koan and become one with it. His method was formulated for his culture like we are for ours.
“No merit whatsoever!” Bodhidharma responds to Emperor Wu in Case 2, in the Book of Serenity. David follows Bodhidharma’s path, and the process of practice.