Bodhidharma Talks

Bodhidharma was a semi-legendary Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and is regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to a 17th-century apocryphal story found in a manual called Yijin Jing, he began the physical training of the monks of Shaolin Monastery that led to the creation of Shaolin kungfu. He is known as Dámó in China and as Daruma in Japan. His name means "dharma of awakening (bodhi)" in Sanskrit.

Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend and unreliable details.

According to the principal Chinese sources, Bodhidharma came from the Western Regions, which typically refers to Central Asia but can also include the Indian subcontinent, and is described as either a "Persian Central Asian" or a "South Indian [...] the third son of a great Indian king." Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as an ill-tempered, large-nosed, profusely-bearded, wide-eyed non-Chinese person. He is referred to as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" (Chinese: 碧眼胡; pinyin: Bìyǎnhú) in Chan texts.

Aside from the Chinese accounts, several popular traditions also exist regarding Bodhidharma's origins.

The accounts also differ on the date of his arrival, with one early account claiming that he arrived during the Liu Song dynasty (420–479 CE) and later accounts dating his arrival to the Liang dynasty (502–557 CE). Bodhidharma was primarily active in the territory of the Northern Wei (386–534 CE). Modern scholarship dates him to about the early 5th century CE.

Bodhidharma's teachings and practice centered on meditation and the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall (952) identifies Bodhidharma as the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in an uninterrupted line that extends all the way back to the Gautama Buddha himself.

From bodhidharma on Wikipedia

Showing 173 talks

- Reset Search

Title Speaker


Dragons, Bodhidharma, Bell, Silence, Bowing
Jan 23 2021

Living On A Mountain

Dragons, Zoom, Bodhidharma, Lay Practice, Dharma Transmission, Ordination, Priest,...
Oct 24 2020

What Do You Call The World

Book of Serenity, Echo, Mindfulness, Six Realms, New Year, Teacher-and-Student,...
Sep 19 2020

The Three Natures

Buddha Nature, Birth-and-Death, War, Bodhisattva Way, Precepts, Dharma Transmission,...
Apr 25 2020

Choices and Preferences

Passions, Eka, Heart Sutra, uchiyama, Attachment, Bodhidharma, confusion, Describe,...
Sep 21 2019

Going Beyond

Heart Sutra, Intimacy, Impermanence, Birth-and-Death, Practice Period, Renewal,...
Aug 24 2019

Man Up A Tree, Talk 3

Serial: BZ-02686

Sesshin Day 3


Bodhisattva Vow, Vows, Gratitude, Big Mind, Describe, Ego, Renunciation, Bodhidharma...
Jun 21 2019

Man up a Tree

Renunciation, Ego, Practice Period, Buddha Nature, Don't Know Mind, Priest,...
May 18 2019

Practice Period 31st Opening Sesshin

Practice Period, Birth-and-Death, Bodhidharma, Practice Position, Bodhisattva Vow,...
May 11 2019

Cypress Tree in the Garden

Bodhidharma, Priest, Greed, Conversation, Buddha Nature, Interview, Oneness, Observe...
Mar 02 2019

Merit Gathas by Robert Aitken: The Dragon Who Never Sleeps

Serial: BZ-02651

Rohatsu Day 4


Bell, Vows, Offering, Bodhidharma, Priest-and-Lay, Buddha Mind, Soto Zen, Aspects of...
Dec 05 2018

Kyogen's Man Up in a Tree

Ego, Duality, Peace, Bodhidharma, War, Priest, Oneness, Conversation, Instruction...
Sep 29 2018

Hyakujo Sits on the Sublime Peak

Serial: BZ-02591



BCR-26, Separation, Monastic Practice, Lineage, Bodhidharma, Interview, Bowing,...
Jan 13 2018


Serial: BZ-02585

Day 3


Obstacles, Composure, Nirvana, Enemies, Big Mind, Buddha Nature, Ego, Bodhidharma,...
Dec 05 2017

Master Ma is Unwell

Serial: BZ-02503

Koan Class 1

Birth-and-Death, Bodhidharma, Fox, Book of Serenity, Lineage, Buddha Mind,...
Oct 10 2016

Yunmen's Body Exposed in The Golden Wind

Serial: BZ-02467

Class Blue Cliff Record Case 27


BCR-27, Dragons, Buddha Ancestors, Birth-and-Death, Bodhidharma, New Year, Sixth...
Mar 21 2016

Blue Cliff Record 62, Book of Serenity 92

Serial: BZ-02465



BCR-62, SER-92, Buddha Mind, Bodhidharma, Book of Serenity, Ordinary Mind, Fox,...
Mar 14 2016

Yunmen's Jewel

Serial: BZ-02463

Koan Class Blue Cliff Record Case 62


BCR-62, Book of Serenity, Buddha Mind, Duality, Subject-and-Object, Soto Zen, Blue...
Mar 07 2016

Blue Cliff Record Case 53

Serial: BZ-02460


BCR-53, Buddha Nature, Don't Know Mind, Composure, Heart Sutra, Doubt, Intimacy...
Feb 27 2016

Hui Neng and the Poetry Contest

Serial: BZ-02440

Aspects of Practice


Platform Sutra, Lineage, Heart Sutra, Practice Period, Doubt, Politics, Teacher-and-...
Oct 17 2015

Nothing Holy About It

Silence, Culture, War, Bodhidharma, Bell, Tassajara, Emotions, Fox, Interdependence,...
Sep 19 2015

What Is Our Self

Continuous, Renunciation, Anger, Birth-and-Death, Doubt, Buddha Nature, Karma, Greed...
May 09 2015

Joshu's Newborn Baby

Discrimination, Buddha Nature, Ego, Don't Know Mind, Subject-and-Object, Teacher...
Aug 23 2014


Serial: BZ-02315

Working with Pain, Sesshin

Discrimination, Pain, Birth-and-Death, Attachment, Conversation, Bodhidharma, Enemies...
Jun 21 2013
Berkeley Zen Center


Serial: BZ-02314

zazen, Sesshin

Sesshin, Breath, Separation, Mundane Life, Oneness, Daily Life, Conversation, Posture...
Jun 20 2013
Berkeley Zen Center

Wu Wei - Effortless Effort

Right Effort, Discrimination, Gaining Mind, Non-discrimination, Harmonizing, Daily...
Sep 08 2012

Raihai Tokuzui

Fox, Bodhidharma, Lotus Sutra, Bowing, Lineage, Culture, Dragons, Transmission, Vows...
Sep 01 2012

Genjo Koan - Section 10B-Part-2

Serial: BZ-02249

Nishiari Bokusan commentary, Sesshin Day 4

Point of non-duality, Zazen-discrete moments in time, Time as Discontinuous


Bodhidharma, Non-duality, Time, Birth-and-Death, Karma, Discrimination, Non-duality,...
Jun 23 2012
Berkeley Zen Center

The Question of Love

Serial: BZ-02243

Zen Lesson in the Art of Leadership, Saturday Lecture

Partiality and Impartiality


Lovingkindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, Equanimity, Attachment, Big Mind,...
May 26 2012
Berkeley Zen Center

Right Communication

Precepts, Practice Period, Bodhidharma, Bodhisattva Precepts, Right Speech, Intimacy...
May 05 2012

Dogen Zenji's Fukanzazengi

Subject-and-Object, Dharma Transmission, Non-duality, Duality, Instruction, Religion...
Mar 10 2012

The Teaching Just For You

Dragons, Observe, Culture, Buddha Nature, American, Interdependence, Bodhidharma,...
Dec 09 2011

Who Am I?

Serial: BZ-02195

Abhidharma, Saturday Lecture

Who Are You? "Don't know" mind.


Skandas, Bodhidharma, Big Mind, Karma, Bodhidharma, Discrimination, Buddha Mind,...
Jul 30 2011
Berkeley Zen Center

Dharma Transmission

Serial: BZ-02188

Teacher/Disciple Relationship, Sesshin Day 4

Lineage, Transmission, Dogen, Transmission, Branching Streams, Buddha Ancestors,...
Jun 18 2011
Berkeley Zen Center

Suzuki Roshi's Eko Lecture

Serial: BZ-02186

Encoragement of Practice, Sesshin Day 2

Chanting, Eko, Offering, Echo, Offering, Funeral, Chanting, Religion, Priest,...
Jun 16 2011
Berkeley Zen Center

Zazenshin Class

Transmission, Discrimination, Culture, Book of Serenity, Fundraising, Instruction,...
Jun 02 2011

Daitzu Jisho Buddha

Serial: BZ-02180

Zazen, Saturday Lecture

Ordinary Mind, Gaining Idea, Perfect Wisdom, Bodhidharma, Intuition, resistance, Hate...
May 28 2011
Berkeley Zen Center

You Can't Make a Date with Enlightenment

Serial: BZ-02149

Not Always So, Rohatsu Day 7

Sangha, Duality, Intuition, Composure, Buddha Nature, Humility, Continuous, Daily...
Dec 11 2010
Berkeley Zen Center

Commentary on True Concentration

Serial: BZ-02148

Not Always So, Rohatsu Day 6

Suzuki Roshi, Zazen, Mudra, Posture, Concentration, Four Noble Truths, Posture,...
Dec 10 2010
Berkeley Zen Center

Empty Mindfulness

Mindfulness, Big Mind, Aspects of Practice, Instruction, Buddha Mind, Bodhidharma,...
Oct 09 2010

Lay Ordination and Bodhisattva Precepts

Serial: BZ-02106

Saturday Lecture

Precepts, Evil, Gratitude, Lineage, Conversation, Priest, Bodhidharma, Equanimity,...
Jun 19 2010
Berkeley Zen Center


Sanctuary, Book of Serenity, Five Ranks, Silence, Buddha Nature, Interdependence,...
May 01 2010

What the Holy Ones Did Not Preach

Serial: BZ-02078

Essence of Mind, One-Day Sitting

BCR-28, First Principle, Intuition, Don't Know Mind, Passions, Buddha Mind,...
Jan 24 2010
Berkeley Zen Center

The Advantage of New Years

New Year, Happiness, Bodhidharma, Emotions, Impermanence, Precepts, Culture, Fox,...
Jan 02 2010

Zazen to Become a Buddha

Serial: BZ-02022

Sitting for 10 Kalpas and Not Attaining Buddha, Saturday Lecture

Bodhisattva, MM-9, Karma, Bodhisattva Way, Lotus Sutra, Peace, Bodhidharma, Big Mind...
Mar 28 2009
Berkeley Zen Center

Bicycle Wheel Dharma, Serial No. 01089

Birth-and-Death, Ordinary Mind, Ego, Obstacles, Composure, Soto Zen, Daily Life,...
Jan 31 2009
Berkeley Zen Center

Platform Sutra: Serial No. 01077

Serial: BZ-01077

Rohatsu Day 1, side B

Buddha Nature, Platform Sutra, Don't Know Mind, Lay, Buddha Ancestors, Evil,...
Dec 07 2008
Berkeley Zen Center

Traditional Zen Spirit

Right Effort, Monkey Mind, Posture, Buddha Nature, Karma, Practice Period, Teacher-...
Nov 01 2008

The Brain and Enlightenment

Enlightenment, Dependent Origination, Monkey Mind, Peace, Bodhisattva Vow, Subject-...
Aug 02 2008
Berkeley Zen Center

March 15th, 2008, Serial No. 01120

Don't Know Mind, Emotions, Vows, Precepts, Culture, Anger, Forgiveness,...
Mar 15 2008