Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 90

Thread: Bodhidharma

  1. #1
    ngokfei Guest


    Since Shaolin is the basis for many styles taught today, I've kind of developed an interest in who he was and what he taught (MA/Chan). A friend of mine sent me the following books which I think you all would like.

    "The Bodhidharma Anthology - The Earliest Records of Zen" - Jefferey L. Broughton
    ISBN 0-52-021972-4.

    This is a translation of one of the 100's of scrolls found from the Tang dynasty that were found hidden in the Mo-Kao Grottoes of Northwest China in the town of Tun Huang.

    "Zen Buddhism: A History" Heinrich Dumoulin
    ISBN 0-02-908260-9

    A two volume set (India & CHina) & (Japan & Tibet). Good overall information on Buddhism and Bodhidharma.

    "Daruma: The Founder of Zen in Japanese Art and Popular Culture" - H. Neill McFarland
    ISBN 0-87011-817-X

    Starndard Biography but has alot of Statues, Paintings which are quite unique. Especially the one of him in a "House of Pleasure". P24/

    Do any of you have any additional books you would recommend?

    eric Hargrove

  2. #2
    Kung Lek Guest

    Buddhism in China a historical survey -
    author - Chen

    also, visit for information that you will maybe find interesting.
    They do have downloadable documents that make for a good read.


    Kung Lek

  3. #3
    beiquan Guest
    there's a translation of a few of Bodhidharma's writings that I used to have - the name escapes me but I remember that the translator's name was "Red Pine" -- catchy name.

    Also, the book "Bodhisattva Warriors" is a pretty interesting look at the roots of some of the Chinese/Japanese MA traditions in Indian Buddhism.

    there's also a great movie called "Master of Zen", directed by and starring one of Yuen Woo Ping's brothers (who I believe is actually a monk now), depicting the classic story of Bodhidharma. obviously not worthwhile from a research standpoint but it's very entertaining and not really too cheesy for an HK flick.

  4. #4
    GeneChing Guest

    books books books

    Red Pine's book is The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, if memory serves. Red Pine is a pen name - he wrote another fantastic book about meetings with Chinese Hermits under his given name, but that title escapes me. It'll come to me eventually...

    Transmissions of the Lamp (or Light) is another really important book to add. There are many translations of this - it is an important Zen text.

    Tales of the Shaolin Monastery has a few folk tales of Tamo. It's entertaining in general.

    ngokfei: All excellent recommendations - I heartily concur.

    beiquan: I thought Bodhisattva Warriors was a really odd read, not one of my favorites. And Master of Zen was totally cheesy, maybe not so of HK, but definately cheesy, especially the way Huike was depicted as so psycho. ;)

    Gene Ching
    Asst. Publisher
    Kungfu Qigong Magazine &

  5. #5
    GeneChing Guest

    Road to Heaven by Bill Porter

    Ever remember something in the middle of the night? That was Red Pine's other book, which I highly recommend despite being off topic (Shaolin is mentioned but in an unflattering way.)

    Gene Ching
    Asst. Publisher
    Kungfu Qigong Magazine &

  6. #6
    ngokfei Guest
    Thanks for the sources. "road to heaven" is a really great book, gets you really thinking. yeah the snip about shaolin is kind of a slap.

    Here's some of my other recommendations: Just got them in the Mail. Kindof cool working for a Publishing Co. Great Discounts on books. Can't Wait to see what Kodansha has.

    China "empire and Civilization" E. Shaughnessy - oxford University Press 0195216628. Worked for them recently, great intro to china.

    Chinese Gods - Keith Stevens1850284091. Got this in HK. Excellent Source book for identifying all those different temple gods, demons and dieties.

    A Dictionary of Asian Mythology - David Leeming

    A Practical Guide to Budhist Meditation - Paramananda - 0760721793

    Profound Wisdom of the Hearth Sutra - Bokar Rinpoche Khemp Donyo - 0963037137

    This Wisdom of theBuddha - Abrams Discoveries - 0810928078 (great info and old paintins and statures form India's past)

    The Little Book of Zen - Barnes & Noble - 0760724938 - (Haiku, Koans, etc). Still new to me but the japanese paintings are really pretty.

    The Training of a Zen Budhist Monk - D. Suzuki
    0804830428 (What we've all been missing?)

    What the Buddha Taught (W. Rahula) - 0802130313

    Manual of Zen Buddhism (D.T. Suzuki) 0802130658

    Sacred Writtings Vol 6. buddhism(The Dhammapada)
    Book of the Month Club.

    got to read these now. :eek:

    eric Hargrove

  7. #7
    The Willow Sword Guest

    Continuing the Bodhidharma string

    DA MO (whose last name was Sardili) and who was also known as Bodhidarma, was once a prince of a small tribe in Southern India. He was of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, and was considered by many to be a Bodhisattva,or an enlightened being who renounced nirvana in order to Save others. From the fragments of historical records it is believed he was born about 483ad. IT is believed that DaMo was the second Indian Priest to be invited to China. DA MO was invited to china by emperor LIang in 527Ad. The emporer decided that he did not like DA Mo's teachings and threw him out and Da mo retreated to the Shaolin Temple. He saw that the Monks there were weak and sickly and could not stay awake during the meditation session he held. DA Mo retreated to a cave up the mpountain side from the Temple and stayed thier for nine years and during that time he created the yi gin ching muscle/tendon changing excersises.

    this excerpt was edited by me and comes from the book that Dr Yang Jwing Ming wrote on the subject. NOW here is my take on this:

    From All accounts Da Mo was NOT a myth, he was a real person who actually exisited. argueing this point is just like argueing that jesus was a myth and we have the bible and old hebrewic texts to prove otherwise. NOW: here is where i get confused: 495ad is when the shaolin temple was built,,DA Mo was born around 483a.d.,, he came to the temple in 527ad. that makes him 44 yrs old when he came to shaolin temple. That means that the shaolin temple was only open for 32 yrs from the time it was built to the time DA Mo came there. Plus the records indicate thatthe monks were weak and sickly and could not meditate properly. THEN HOW ON EARTH WAS THERE MARTIAL ARTS BEING STUDIED THERE AT THIS BEGINNING? given these dates, i conclude that the Shaolin Temple was a Buddhist order studying Buddhism and not fighting..when Da mo came and taught the excercises and the fist and palm sets, THAT IS WHEN THE MARTIAL WAYS STARTED HAPPENING AT THE TEMPLE. remember that DA mo was unorthodox in his teachings and he fought when he had to.
    to say that there was martial arts already at the temple at the time of his arrival is BS. There was not. This supports my theory that the temple became a military training center for the emperors army. we have heard the tales of the temple being destroyed several times in its history due to tyranny and new regimes,,this also supports the theory that the temple was a military training center for the emperors. as for the buddhism taught there. i believe that at first it was buddhism but them the TAoist influence took over and the temple became Taosit like all the rest with some buddhist influence. Remember that Buddhism renounces violence of any form, there is no foot notes below those doctrines that say oh yeah you can fight if this happens. All the other Budhhist temples in the world have NO FIGHTING OR MARTIAL PROGRAM AT ALL IN THEM. I believe that DA Mo is the Father of shaolin kungfu. all things afterwards developed a and were subsequently ABSORBED AND ADOPTED INTO THE FIGHTING CURRICULUM at Shaolin.
    so here it is lets discuss this: Hope GENE gets in on this thread.
    Many respects,,Willow Sword

    Whatever you think i am or want me to be,,, i am.
    oh and,,,Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you are an a$.

  8. #8
    Crimson Phoenix Guest
    Indeed, Dr Yang has always pointed that in his opinion, Damo never brought any gong fu to Shaolin (he also doubt Damo ever had true martial skills)...he "just" brought the two well known classics to the monks which seemed to have a poor health since they focused on training the mind while leaving physical training aside...
    An increasing number of reknowned practicionners of or historians (Adam Hsu, Kang Ge Wu, and many more) now believe that Shaolin absorbed techniques from all over the place (mainly laymen seeking temporary shelter) and never had a style of their own (except cudgel play and staff techniques, some say)...
    Very interesting topic indeed...

  9. #9
    Daelomin Guest
    Of course there could have been martial arts in shaolin before Tamo, its just that the majority of monks did not practice it and thus were in bad shape. I think it is very likely that there were people who knew martial arts in the tempel before Tamo came there, but it just wasn´t that popular (because of shaolin being a buddhist order). I think that many former soldiers was present at shaolin at this time and had some skills in combat. I belive that Tamo brought qigong to shaolin and that way raised the martial arts there to another level, the internal level. Eventually martial arts became more popular within the monks and the former soldiers started to teach the other monks and the martial art skills from the battlefield mixed with Tamos qigong and became shaolin kung fu. Tamo was a man of peace, a buddhist, he didn´t know martial arts. I think that martial arts came to the temple with former soldiers, not with a holy man.

  10. #10
    r.(shaolin) Guest
    First of all Hsu and Kang Ge Wu are not coming from the same place. Hsu has no academic credentials.
    He's been grinding that same ax for years – that Shaolin martial art, as as such, did not exist. This is coming from someone who does not practice S haolin martial arts : - ) Hsu's basic point has been that Shaolin martial arts were from " mainly laymen seeking temporary shelter." It is now as it was then, an uniformed opinion and one with which I strongly disagree with.
    Professor Kang Gewu on the oth er hand has academic credentials. Everything I've read he's written, is very supportive of the existence of Shaolin martial arts methods and their existence. The Shaolin Monastery is unique in that it had Imperial right to train in military methods. Although most weapons methods were brought in from outside these were not accepted in an arbitrary or indiscriminate way but there were evaluated for effectiveness, were redesign to comply to Shaolin martial arts fundamentals and generally were sy nthesized. To say that because the majority of martial methods at Shaolin were not the original creations of Shaolin monks it therefore did not have its own martial 'style'; is nonsensical.

  11. #11
    BAI HE Guest


    The Buddhists were none violent. When face with agression they merely " Refused the intent of violence" upon their being being.


  12. #12
    reemul Guest

    before Dharma

    The Mohist were there before dharma, and they were a military class. So the MA were there before dharma. The Taoist did not practice it at the time. They didn't have much need to defend themselves because the Mohist did it for them.

    Dharma was born of the Warrior class however he did not teach MA to the inhabitants at Shaolin, and throught Shaolin history the Shaolin have never attributed MA training to Dharma. There are some Shaolin systems that attribute MA to the Mohist presence.

  13. #13
    r.(shaolin) Guest

    Could you explain yourself a bit. I'm not quite following your point.
    You say "They didn't have much need to defend themselves because the Mohist did it for them"
    Are we to assume that it is your understanding that monks of Shaolin Monastery didn't practiced martial arts? Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming and Ching Dynasty historical documents apparently prove otherwise. This is not to say that a Mohist martial tradition did not exist in the region and that is
    it may well have had a connection to Shaolin Monastery at one point in its rather long and
    eventful history.


  14. #14
    reemul Guest

    Before it was shaolin

    I was referring to a time frame that predates Dharma and the Shaolin temple. Before it was Shaolin temple it was a Taoist monastary and the Taoist did not practice MA. The Mohist did. Both the Taoist and Mohist became part of the entity known as Shaolin and it is more plausible that the mohist sparked the institutionalization of the MA at Shaolin.

  15. #15
    Scott R. Brown Guest

    I find your information facinating. Would you please list your sources, so that I may research further.

    Thank you,


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts