His name comes up in mentions of Zen's misty past, but without any writings or authentication, modern authors have often referred to Bodhidharma as semi-legendary. In 1935, DT Suzuki had rummaged through a number of newly discovered Zen texts dating back over a thousand years, but not until recently did scholars agree that some may contain the words of Bodhidharma himself. Now Jeffrey Broughton has brushed off the dust for the English reading world. In question and answer style anticipating later Zen classics such as the Lin-Chi Lu
(Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi
), Bodhidharma fields questions from his students on dharma, the mind, and reality. Vintage Zen iconoclasm permeates every line as dharmas are dispensed with and scriptures shot down. A rock painted with a Buddhist image is still just a rock. Just so, reality is just reality. A previously unknown student of Bodhidharma, Master Yuan shows himself to be a worthy adept, equal to the more well-known Hui-ko, who also appears. The actual Bodhidharma texts are quite brief, with the bulk of this work consisting of Broughton's scholarly introduction, commentary, appendices, and translations of related finds. --Brian Bruya, Amazon.com
About the Author
Jeffrey L. Broughton is Professor of Religious Studies at California State University, Long Beach.