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Chapter 10: Open the Door

When Bodhidharma became enlightened he was sitting near a wall, his back to the wall. Immediately he turned and faced the wall. For nine years he would not sit in any other way. Whenever he would sit, he would face the wall. If somebody was there - an inquirer, a seeker - he would have to ask his questions from the back.

People asked, “What foolish posture have you chosen? There have been many buddhas in the world, but nobody has sat facing the wall. Why are you sitting this way? Why are you so crazy?”

Bodhidharma said, “As far as I know, all the buddhas have been facing walls” - because wherever you look, there is a wall. That’s not the point.

Bodhidharma would say, “They all have faced walls, but they were a little more polite.” He would say, “I’m not so polite, that’s all. I don’t bother a bit what you think of me. I will turn my face towards you only when I see that someone is there who can understand me.”

For nine years he faced the wall. Then one man came. The man said, “Turn towards me otherwise I will kill myself” - he had a sword in his hand. Still Bodhidharma would not turn. He cut off his hand and said, “Look, the hand is gone. The second thing will be the head.”

Then Bodhidharma turned. He said, “Wait! So you have come” - because only those who are ready to behead themselves can understand.

Enough for today.