BodhiDharma’s Awakening

BodhiDharma’s Awakening

Oil on Canvas

48in x 24in


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Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Chan Buddhism to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. In Japan, he is known as Daruma.

This painting tells the tales of BodhiDarma, 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. 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 Chan awake during zazen.

The Chinese words on the left side comes from the oldest book in the history of mankind, the Diamond Sutra. Starting from the right side “The Path is the Path, yet the path is not the Path” and “Understanding is understanding, yet Understanding is not Understanding”, in a sense it says the mind has reason, but the truth has no reason. Hence, the truth has no reason, the reasoning in your mind matters doesn’t matter anymore. Seek the truth and your path will be clear.