Bodhidharma Day

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  • Seishin the Elder
    • Oct 2009
    • 521

    Bodhidharma Day

    According to a calendar I've seen this Tuesday, 5 October is Bodhidharma Day. How would this day be observed?


    Seishin Kyrill
  • Shugen
    Treeleaf Unsui
    • Nov 2007
    • 4535

    Re: Bodhidharma Day

    Well, I'm not cutting off my eyelids!
    The biographical tradition is littered with apocryphal tales about Bodhidharma's life and circumstances. In one version of the story, he is said to have fallen asleep seven years into his nine years of wall-gazing. Becoming angry with himself, he cut off his eyelids to prevent it from happening again.[47] According to the legend, as his eyelids hit the floor the first tea plants sprang up; and thereafter tea would provide a stimulant to help keep students of Chán awake during meditation.[48]
    (from wikipedia)

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼


    • Taigu
      Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
      • Aug 2008
      • 2710

      Re: Bodhidharma Day

      I don't know Seishin.
      We like and we need these reminders. The historical figure of the guy is highly questionable, is reality in the field of here and now, in everyone of us, beyond any question.
      All buddhas and bodhisatvas point at this being-now.

      Maybe a big thank you. A large smile offred to people and things poping along.




      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39392

        Re: Bodhidharma Day

        A Daruma (Bodhidharma's 'nickname' in Japanese) Ditto to what Taigu wrote. That's it.

        As to ceremony and such, this is from the Japanese Soto-shu (picture from elsewhere) ...

        Memorial Service for Bodhidharma (Daruma-ki) October 5th

        Daruma-san, a round red-colored doll, is known as a good-luck talisman associated with temples and shrines. The good fortune associated with Bodhidharma (Daruma) comes from the legend that no matter how many times Bodhidharma fell down he would always get up.

        In the areas where silk worms are cultivated, there is a custom of painting in one of the eyes on the Daruma doll if the worms produce much silk thread in spring and painting in the other one of Daruma’s eyes if the worms produced much silk thread in autumn.

        Bodhidharma, the inspiration for the Daruma doll, was originally one of the ancestral teachers of The Soto Zen School. He was the first Ancestors of Zen in China and also known as Bodai Daruma Daishi.

        The red Daruma doll seen throughout Japan was originally modeled on this great teacher who sat facing a wall unflinchingly for nine years and lived to the old age of 150.

        Bodhidharma died on October 5th and this is the date on which his death is commemorated. Early autumn is the harvest time in Japan and also the time when the autumn silkworm is cultivated. For this reason, this ceremony includes our feeling of gratitude to Bodhidharma as well as a prayer for a good harvest in the next year. There is also the wish expressed that those who participate in the ceremony will enjoy a long life.

        Various ceremonies are performed, including recitation of the below.

        By the way, since we are studying this week the Precept on Preserving Life, I might mention that ... although the wearing of silk Kesa has been allowed since the earliest days of Buddhism ...

        ...there has always been some question between the raising of silk in China and Japan (sericulture), as the silk worms have traditionally been killed in the process. Some Buddhist schools refrain from it, as in this by Master Sheng-yen, who makes refraining from raising silkworms a "lessor vow" (no. 27 on this list) ...

        By Grand Master Sheng-Yen Lu (Translated by Janny Chow) The precepts in the Bodhisattva Vows are very strict and not easy to observe. Howeve...

        Gassho, Jundo

        Daruma Memorial Statement

        The pure body of the dharma realm
        fundamentally has no emerging or disappearing.
        The power of the vow of great compassion
        is manifest throughout the goings and comings of birth and death.

        We humbly beg your true compassion and attentive concern.

        Monk /Nun , Abbot of ,
        in District/City/Town/
        Village, Prefecture, Nation of Japan, who is a
        dharma descendant.

        On the fifth day of this month, we have humbly arrived at the time
        of the manifestation of nirvana by the First Ancestor in China, Great
        Master Engaku, Most Reverend Bodaidaruma. We have reverently
        prepared incense, flowers, lamps, and candles, decoction, sweets,
        tea and rare delicacies and extended them with extreme courtesy as
        offerings. Respectfully gathering the present pure assembly, we have
        also chanted the Great Buddha’s Ushnisha Heroic March Dharani of the
        Ten Thousand Practices. We offer up the excellent merit accumulated
        thereby, to requite his compassionate blessings.

        The preceding is humbly considered.

        A prince of South India, his bearing was as imposing as a king. /
        Elucidating the priceless, precious pearl at a young age, he was
        recognized as a vessel of the dharma. / The first ancestor in the Land
        of the East, his overwhelming influence swept gallantly over the
        realm. / Transmitting the seal of the buddha-mind that is without
        letters, he was greeted by Kannon.

        We see directly:

        From a distance of one hundred thousand leagues, never shirking the
        perilous waves of the vast ocean, he came on a special mission, bearing
        the teacher’s mandate. / In the twenty-eighth generation, he secretly
        transmitted the bright flame of a solitary lamp, fully expressing the
        true teaching in a manner silent and intimate.

        The stories of crossing the Yangzi River on a single reed and
        the exchange in the Liang court have been looked back upon and
        remembered from a thousand ages past./ After nine years at Shaoshi
        and the wonderful achievement of the snowy courtyard, he accepted
        a single worthy disciple.

        We truly know:

        A single commandment is reflected for a thousand autumns. His
        overflowing virtue and warm generosity give abundant assistance
        to hundreds of thousands of millions of patchrobed monks. / One
        flower blossoms with five petals, the sweet smell of its extraordinary
        fragrance pervading monasteries in the three thousand worlds.

        We humbly pray:

        May the great vow have power, and the Zen tradition spread vast
        and wide. We shall revere his benevolent virtue for inexhaustible
        ages yet to come. / May Daruma’s true compassion be unobstructed,
        and the way of the ancestors luminous. / May it proclaim and spread
        the brilliance of our lineage for trillions of years.

        Humbly stated.

        Accommodated by the first ancestor, attested by the line of

        Humbly stated on October 5,
        Last edited by Jundo; 10-06-2013, 02:15 PM.


        • Seishin the Elder
          • Oct 2009
          • 521

          Re: Bodhidharma Day

          Thanks for all the information. I figured that by now this would have become some sort of "good luck" ceremony in Japan, but I just wondered if there was any simple serious remembrance of one of our "supposed" spiritual ancestors.

          Perhaps it is well enough to have such a day set aside so we can pause in our schedule just to offer a deep and sincere Gassho to all those who have preceded us on the path making our way more clear. I will not be painting eyes on a rolly-poly statue, nor will I be cutting off my eyelids; but I may stop, and drink a cup or tea in thanks to Bodhidharma and all the teachers, real or imagined, passed on or living, in Tsukuba or Osaka.

          Deep Gassho,

          Seishin Kyrill


          • Engyo
            • Aug 2010
            • 356

            Re: Bodhidharma Day

            A Zen story paraphrased:
            A general asked the priest of Jômyô-ji temple to borrow an ink drawing of Honored Bodhidharma to use as protective charm with his battle armor.
            Priest (shouting): "Honored General!"
            General: "Yes?"
            Priest: "Who is it that said, 'Yes?' Honored Bodhidharma is there. Do not go seeking for another!"
            The general had a realization.



            For sure Bodhidharma is not here:

            "Triad Toys is proud to debut the much anticipated Legends line with Bodhi Dharma. The Legends series is Triad’s unique take on mythical and legendary heroes. This product line is one of our longest running passion projects that we want to see produced. Every character is envisioned with the same style and quality you’ve come to love about Triad Toys. No detail is left out of this figure – his clothes are meticulously designed with multiple layers and choice fabrics, he comes with four (4) pairs of hands for all the kung-fu poses you can possibly imagine, his headsculpt is wildly imaginative and hand-painted to perfection, his weapon utilizes the ATAC system and converts into five different weapons! To guarantee the highest level of detail and collectability, Dharma is a limited production of only 400 pieces worldwide!"


            • Taigu
              Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
              • Aug 2008
              • 2710

              Re: Bodhidharma Day

              A good one Don, but where was the "Yes" coming from?