Picture of Bodhidharma


It’s very unusual. It’s got long black hair and there are some Taoist terms in this. I’ve told you about the dark and the bright circle and on the extreme right it says, “Nine years he cultivated, he turned, he revolved the Tan, elixir energy. Well, this refers to the mysterious Taoist practice in the text that I’ve got. It’s got many of the same phrases in it and this is Bodhidharma as a monk in much more traditional guise but you can still see a bulb at the navel and the power comes up and you can see the dark circle of ‘I don’t know’ and within that the bright circle of realisation. You’ll notice that the figure is very bent forward and this, as a matter of fact, is characteristic of Hakuin’s paintings and also Torei’s drawings. If you look at his pictures of Daito or Ganto you’ll see that they all have this same attitude.

He (Torei ) says by this silent sitting, from this silent sitting all the glory of the Zen came to spread through China and Japan. It came from India. The Chinese phrase is: Western Heaven. Heaven is in the West, earth is in the East. This is because India is the Holy Land from which Buddhism came and is therefore heaven and earth is the land where Buddhism came to and where it spread. He says from this sitting silent the energy and the majesty and the glory have developed and come.

© Trevor Leggett

Titles in this series are:

Part 1: The Spur is addressed to a samurai who has faith

Part 2: The doctrine that everything is transient

Part 3: The facing inward of the Buddhas

Part 4: Keep up the right line of the meditation

Part 5: You practise with courage and sincerity

Part 6: The Cat and the Krait

Part 7: The Confucian and Bertrand Russell

Part 8: Picture of Bodhidharma

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