Bodhidharma added a spice to Buddha’s cooking, which eventually became Zen.
Who else has thrown spice in Buddha’s pot?
The number is really vast. Buddhism in itself became a world of philosophy – not just a philosophy, but a source of many philosophies because it spread all over Asia, meeting with different cultures, different people, different philosophies.
In Tibet it came to a different kind of flowering which is rare. It is pure mysticism and is founded on a school method. Hundreds of lamaseries developed all over Tibet in the deep Himalayan mountains, where people devoted their whole lives in search of truth. It became almost a convention that every family should donate one or more members for these lamaseries, these mystery schools.
And what has happened in Tibet has not happened anywhere else. The whole country turned towards a single search devoted to a single goal. It certainly developed its own methods, the seeds of which are in Buddhism, in Gautam Buddha; but in the seeds you cannot see the flowers. When those seeds blossom, only then do you become aware of the fragrance and the color and the beauty.
Tibet has given many awakened people; and their methods are as far removed from Zen as they can be. There is no meeting ground. Their source is the same, but they developed in different atmospheres, were developed by different kinds of people, came to the same conclusion but moved on different paths – as if on one mountain you can move from different directions on different paths and still can reach to the same peak. They meet at the peak, but on the way there is no meeting, they are completely unique and separate.
In Thailand, Buddhism has taken a different form, a different shape.
In China, meeting with Tao, it absorbed completely the whole spirit of Tao.
Buddhism has a very big heart. It is not like Christianity or Mohammedanism, confined to a very limited area; it can absorb so many things, apparently looking even contradictory.
Tao has no method. Tibet is all method. Tao is no-method, simple spontaneity – living life according to nature with no fight. Every method is a fight, every method is to define yourself. Tao’s work is how to become undefined, how to become one with the whole; and absorbing Tao, Chinese Buddhism came to have a different taste, totally different.
And the same has happened in Korea, in Mongolia, in Sri Lanka, in Burma, in other small countries of Asia – because it became the religion of the whole of Asia. And it became a great religion, influencing different races, different cultures, different countries, without any fight. It is something unique in history.