Bodhidharma's Sermons

Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby Dexing » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:24 am

Most of Bodhidharma's sermons are like a conversation between him and a student. But neither the English nor the Chinese translations name this student. It just says "student:" and "Bodhidharma", or "question:" and "answer:".

How much do we know about the background and setting of Bodhidharma's sermons? Sutras we have usually start off with an introduction of the setting and characters. Bodhidharma's teachings just jump straight into dialogue, without addressing names as Shakyamuni addressed his disciples often by name. That's really all that's necessary, but I was just interested.

Was he speaking with Huike, another disciple of his, or was he just bringing up common questions he knew people would have and answering them in advance? Some translations read in this way, without the lines being attributed to "student" and "Bodhidharma".

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Re: Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby Huifeng » Wed Feb 03, 2010 4:50 am

Dexing wrote:Most of Bodhidharma's sermons are like a conversation between him and a student. But neither the English nor the Chinese translations name this student. It just says "student:" and "Bodhidharma", or "question:" and "answer:".

How much do we know about the background and setting of Bodhidharma's sermons? Sutras we have usually start off with an introduction of the setting and characters. Bodhidharma's teachings just jump straight into dialogue, without addressing names as Shakyamuni addressed his disciples often by name. That's really all that's necessary, but I was just interested.

Was he speaking with Huike, another disciple of his, or was he just bringing up common questions he knew people would have and answering them in advance? Some translations read in this way, without the lines being attributed to "student" and "Bodhidharma".

:namaste:


You have two questions, here, one about the "background and setting", and the other about the audience.

Since these are actual kinds of historical questions, maybe you can clarify what you mean by "Bodhidharma's Sermons"? Which texts in particular?

And, have you read Broughton's book on this subject? Much good information can be found within.
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Re: Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby Dexing » Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:08 pm

For example, the Bloodstream Sermon begins with Bodhidharma making a simple statement, then "Student" asks a question and there begins the dialogue out of nowhere.

In the Breakthrough Sermon "Student" asks a question first, and then Bodhidharma responds.

I haven't read the book, but thanks for the suggestion.

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Re: Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby Huifeng » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:06 am

Dexing wrote:For example, the Bloodstream Sermon begins with Bodhidharma making a simple statement, then "Student" asks a question and there begins the dialogue out of nowhere.

In the Breakthrough Sermon "Student" asks a question first, and then Bodhidharma responds.

I haven't read the book, but thanks for the suggestion.

:namaste:


Cutting an pasting here (Orsborn 2008: 1):

Additionally there is a vast range of texts attributed to Bodhidharma, such as the Bodhidharma Treatise《達摩論》, Treatise of Two Entrances and Four Practices《二入四行論》also known as the Six Aspects of [Mount] Shaoshi《少室六門》2 with its six teachings on Verses on the Hṛdaya Sūtra《心經頌》, Refuting Signs Treatise 《破相論》(also known as the Contemplation of Mind Treatise《觀心論》), Two Types of Entrance《二種入》, Dharma Teaching of Pacifying the Mind《安心法門》, Treatise on Realizing the Nature《悟性論》and Treatise on the Blood Pulse《血脈論》. Of the Six Aspects, most scholars are in consensus that there is considerable evidence to conclude that several of these are the work of later authors, and it seems that only the third Aspect, the Two Types of Entrance, is originally by Bodhidharma. Of this, the Entrance by Principle is representative of essentials of the Laṅkā Masters, and was later elucidated in Hongren’s Supreme Vehicle《最上乘》treatise (Broughton 1999: 7, 120n10; Dumoulin 1993: 32; Yinshun 1971: intro; FGBD 1381).

For instance, some of those six texts contain material from translations which were only made in the Tang, well before the time of Bodhidharma.

Of course, this doesn't mean that we can't use these as texts for instruction and practice. But just that when we ask some historical questions about it, eg. who was the audience?, we need to keep such points in mind. :)
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Re: Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby Dexing » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:05 pm

Huifeng wrote:For instance, some of those six texts contain material from translations which were only made in the Tang, well before the time of Bodhidharma.


Tang Dynasty? You mean after Bodhidharma?

Thanks for the direction. I shall research more.
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Re: Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby Huifeng » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:51 am

Dexing wrote:
Huifeng wrote:For instance, some of those six texts contain material from translations which were only made in the Tang, well before the time of Bodhidharma.


Tang Dynasty? You mean after Bodhidharma?

Thanks for the direction. I shall research more.
:namaste:


Yes, Tang Dynasty, after Bodhidharma's time.

For example, from memory, that manuscript with six "teachings of Bodhidharma" uses Xuanzang's translation of the Heart Sutra. Oops, that's only about 100 years too late.

That sort of thing. Please feel free to check my references given above.
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Re: Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby Dexing » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:14 am

Ha, yes.

I like "Damo's" style and the Heart Sutra. Now I can read the 《心经颂》. Thanks for opening this up.

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Re: Bodhidharma's Sermons

Postby mtran » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:47 am

After reading this tread, I decided to make a breif comment about the Bloodstream Sermon. There is no date for this sermon and no author to it. It is probably written in the Tang period or early Northern Sung period, by my research. Bodhidharma is a mystical figure that might have existed in the 5th/6th century. Bodhidharma has never written anything in his life. He has various students besides Huiko, the one-arm student, so please don't confused him. But Huiko was not the only student. Again, the Bloomstream Sermon, Breakthrough Sermon, and Wake-Up Sermon were written centuries after Bodhidhama's inferred existence. Approximately 90% of Bodhidharma's story are arguably fictional by scholars, who researched him.
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