Chapter 2: A Pilgrimage to Your Own Being
Feeling uneasy, the disciple makes some additions on his own part. Now if a man reads these sutras without having a taste of meditation, he is bound to be in confusion, and he is bound to be misled by the additions. The disciple is mixing, and polluting the pure crystal clear water of Bodhidharma with all kinds of crap, because he cannot tolerate such a crystal clear approach, so refined.
Although there have been many enlightened people in the lineage of Gautam Buddha, Bodhidharma became the most famous. He is not the founder of Zen Buddhism; the founder of Zen is Mahakashyapa. But even Mahakashyapa has faded. Bodhidharma is not the founder but he has become the most important enlightened person after Gautam Buddha just because of his outrageousness, his non-compromising approach. He is not going to console anybody; he is simply going to say the truth. Whether it hurts you or heals you it is up to you, but he is not going to add a single word just to console you, because every consolation is putting you into sleep. Every consolation is a kind of opium.
Bodhidharma is absolutely strict. That’s why he is painted as a ferocious looking man. It does not mean that he was like that. He was a prince, and I don’t think that the way he has been painted down the centuries is his actual photograph. It is rather the experience of those who had to deal with him - he was ferocious. And he was ferocious because he would not say any consolatory words, he would simply say the naked truth. If it hurts you, good. Perhaps you need to be hurt and only that will awaken you. You don’t need any consolation, because that will put you into a deeper sleep.
Bodhidharma is unique, and I can understand why his disciple could not understand. That must have been the case with many people who heard him. At the last moment when he wanted to choose a successor - he had chosen only four disciples, and from four he was going to choose one successor. He was really strict; perhaps the most strict master the world has ever known, but the most compassionate, because his strictness is nothing but his compassion.