Wu tried to persuade him to come to the palace. He said, “That is not my place; you can see I am wild, I do things I myself don’t know beforehand. I live moment to moment spontaneously, I am very unpredictable. I may create unnecessary trouble for you, your court, your people; I am not meant for palaces, just let me live in my wildness.”
He lived on this mountain whose name was Tai…. The second legend is that Bodhidharma was the first man who created tea – the name ‘tea’ comes from the name Tai, because it was created on the mountain Tai. And all the words for tea in any language, are derived from the same source, tai. In English it is tea, in Hindi it is chai. That Chinese word tai can also be pronounced as cha. The Marathi word is exactly cha.
The way Bodhidharma created tea cannot be historical but is significant. He was meditating almost all the time, and sometimes in the night he would start falling asleep. So, just not to fall asleep, just to teach a lesson to his eyes, he took out all his eyebrow hairs and threw them in the temple ground. The story is that out of those eyebrows, the tea bushes grew. Those were the first tea bushes. That’s why when you drink tea, you cannot sleep. And in Buddhism it became a routine that for meditation, tea is immensely helpful. So the whole Buddhist world drinks tea as part of meditation, because it keeps you alert and awake.
Although there were two million Buddhist monks in China, Bodhidharma could find only four worthy to be accepted as his disciples. He was really very choosy. It took him almost nine years to find his first disciple, Hui Ko.
For nine years – and that is a historical fact, because there are ancientmost references, almost contemporary to Bodhidharma which all mention that fact although others may not be mentioned – for nine years, after sending Wu back to the palace, he sat before the temple wall, facing the wall. He made it a great meditation. He would just simply go on looking at the wall. Now, looking at the wall for a long time, you cannot think. Slowly, slowly, just like the wall, your mind screen also becomes empty.
And there was a second reason. He declared, “Unless somebody who deserves to be my disciple comes, I will not look at the audience.”
People used to come and they would sit behind him. It was a strange situation. Nobody had spoken in this way; he would speak to the wall. People would be sitting behind him but he would not face the audience, because he said, “The audience hurts me more, because it is just like a wall. Nobody understands, and to look at human beings in such an ignorant state hurts deeply. But to look at the wall, there is no question; a wall, after all is a wall. It cannot hear, so there is no need to be hurt. I will turn to face the audience only if somebody proves by his action that he is ready to be my disciple.”
Nine years passed. People could not find what to do – what action would satisfy him. They could not figure it out. Then came this young man, Hui Ko. He cut off one of his hands with the sword, and threw the hand before Bodhidharma and said, “This is the beginning. Either you turn, or my head will be falling before you. I am going to cut my head too.”