For example, he was the first one in history to be outrageous. Buddha is very cultured; obviously – he is a prince, trained in the manners of the court. He cannot be outrageous. Mahakashyap is a silent master; the question of being outrageous does not arise. Bodhidharma is very outrageous, very straightforward. Whatever he says hits the person almost like a sword. Naturally he also could not transform many people.
People were afraid of him, even emperors were afraid. They wanted to see the man; they had heard so much about him. His ways and methods were unique, and those who had been courageous enough to remain with him changed totally into a new form of humanity. The man suddenly became famous. But side by side, a fear was created in people who wanted to see him, meet him, because nobody knew what he would do, how he would act. He is the most unpredictable master ever.
After Bodhidharma there have been many other patriarchs, but Bodhidharma is the last Indian patriarch of Zen. He crossed the Himalayas and went to China. Asked where he was going, he said, “In search of lions. I cannot work with cowards.” And he was right: the country was full of cowardly foxes.
China was still a fresh land, just turned towards Buddhism. Even the Emperor Wu, who must have been at that time the greatest emperor in the world, because he ruled over the whole of China, was waiting with eagerness to meet Bodhidharma.
He had met many humble, meek, beautiful, nice Buddhist monks. He had heard stories about Bodhidharma – stories were coming ahead of him, that he was not a meek person, not a humble person, neither egoistic nor arrogant; that he was a very simple and sincere person, but he did not go in a roundabout way, he went directly to the point. He functioned like a surgeon – even though it hurt, he could remove cancers from people’s psyches.
Wu had come to receive him at the border. He presented himself and told Bodhidharma, “I have opened all my treasures for Gautam Buddha. There are thousands of monks, hundreds of monasteries, temples, sculptures, thousands of translators working on every word of Buddha’s to translate them into Chinese. What will be my reward?”
Bodhidharma looked at him with his very stern eyes and said, “Reward? – you will fall into the seventh hell.”
Wu was crestfallen. He could not believe it; what kind of man was this? Still, he was a man of great patience, and knowing about Bodhidharma, he said, “I have not done anything wrong. Why should I fall into the seventh hell?”
Bodhidharma said, “It is not a question of doing wrong or right; you have done it with a wrong motive – you want a reward. There is a desire to be rewarded; you are still childish. Can’t you do something as a reward in itself? If you cannot do something as a reward in itself, forget all about religion.
“If the reward is in the future, the monks who have been telling you that you will reach to the seventh heaven have been befooling you, cheating you; or perhaps they themselves are fools. Religion has nothing to do with the future. Its whole concern is this moment, lived in its totality. And it brings its own reward. If you have really loved Buddha, then whatever you have done, you should have enjoyed. You have already received the reward.