Books on Bodhidharma:
The White Lotus (in English)
Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master (in English)
I have a very soft corner in my heart for Bodhidharma. That makes it a very special occasion to speak about him. Perhaps he is the only man whom I have loved so deeply that speaking on him I will be almost speaking on myself.
– Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master, Chapter #1
I AM ECSTATIC because just the name of Bodhidharma is psychedelic to me. In the long evolution of human consciousness there has never been such an outlandish Buddha as Bodhidharma — very rare, very unique, exotic.
There have been many buddhas in the world, but Bodhidharma stands out like Everest. His way of being, living, and expressing the truth is simply his; it is incomparable.
– The White Lotus, Chapter #1
Bodhidharma reached China. He was one of the greatest buddhas of all the ages. After Gautam Buddha, Bodhidharma seems to be the most precious person in the Buddhist heritage.
– The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 12, Chapter #10
Bodhidharma is one of the greatest enlightened men who has ever existed, and one of the most unique amongst all the enlightened men. In many ways he surpasses his own master, Gautam Buddha.
– From Bondage to Freedom, Chapter #7
I also forgot THE NOTES OF THE DISCIPLES OF BODHIDHARMA. When I talk of Gautam Buddha I always forget Bodhidharma, perhaps because I feel as if I have included him in his master, Buddha. But no, that is not right; Bodhidharma stands on his own. He was a great disciple, so great that even the master could be jealous of him. He himself did not write a word, but a few of his disciples, unknown because they did not mention their names, wrote some notes of Bodhidharma’s words. These notes, though few, are as precious as the Kohinoor. The word Kohinoor, do you know, means the light of the world. Noor means the light, kohi means of the world. If I had to describe anything as Kohinoor, yes, I would indicate towards those few notes by the anonymous disciples of Bodhidharma.
– Books I Have Loved, Chapter #2
But who are they to decide how an enlightened or illuminated person should speak? Have they known Bodhidharma? Have they seen his picture? They will immediately conclude that an enlightened or illuminated person cannot look like that. He looks ferocious! His eyes are those of a lion in the forest, and the way he looks at you is such that it seems he will jump from the picture and kill you instantly. That’s how he was! But forget Bodhidharma, because now fourteen centuries have passed.
I knew Bodhidharma personally. I traveled with the man for at least three months. He loved me just as I loved him. You will be curious to know why he loved me. He loved me because I never asked him any question. He said to me, “You are the first person I have met who does not ask a question — and I only get bored with all the questions. You are the only person who does not bore me.”
I said, “There is a reason.”
He said, “What is that?”
I said, “I only answer. I never question. If you have any question you can ask me. If you don’t have a question then keep your mouth shut.”
We both laughed, because we both belonged to the same category of insanity. He asked me to continue the journey with him, but I said, “Excuse me, I have to go my own way, and from this point it separates from yours.”
He could not believe it. He had never invited anyone before. This was the man who had even refused Emperor Wu — the greatest emperor of those days, with the greatest empire — as if he was a beggar. Bodhidharma could not believe his eyes, that I could refuse him.
I said, “Now you know how it feels to be refused. I wanted to give you a taste of it. Goodbye.” But that was fourteen centuries ago.
– Glimpses of a Golden Childhood, Chapter #6