Knowing the Unknown

Found this very nice Chinese film about the story of Bodhidharma:

Bodhidharma (11 parts)

The legend of Bodhidharma is a wonderful founding story for Zen a la Chan a la Dhyana a la “Jhana Buddhism”.

But in the time of scholastic (Mahayana and Theravada) frenzy it was probably very refreshing for Chinese people “new” to fashionable Buddhism to meet an accomplished meditation master.

He definitely left his impact on Mahayana Buddhism. Fortunate are Theravadins these days for they can meet and meditate under accomplished meditation teachers AND have the resources to study the original Pali Canon closer than in any century before. Hopefully they don’t do both at the same time 🙂

Enjoy the movie…

  • just ignore the few kungfu scenes
  • enjoy the very good dialogs
  • the historical settings seem quite authentic for 500 AD

If you like to dive into history and see how Buddhism went trough cycles of theoretical studies (the introduction of Abhidhamma-like stuff gave room for endless mind-boggling dialectics) and movements to revive meditation practice (in Mahayana as well as Theravada) have a look at the following links:

Yogachara school in Mahayana “Path of Practice” was one such effort

According to Manoratha­pūraṇī {Mp I, 92}, the Aṅguttara com­mentary, already at an early stage in the Sāsana history of Sri Lanka, there had been a debate be­tween those who upheld the precept and those who stood for re­alization, Nibbana Sermon 1, Ven. K. Nyanananda


pariyatti nu kho sāsanassa mÅ«laṃ, udāhu paá¹­ipattī’’ti “Is study the root of our teachings or is it practice?” That’s what the monks asked themselves, after 12 years of draught. How would you answer this question?

And finally yes…Bodhidharma didn’t have anything to do with kungfu, but then again, that made most people watch the movie, i guess 🙂

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