No Beard

Wakuan complained when he saw a picture of bearded Bodhidharma, "Why hasn't that fellow a beard?"

Bodhidharma, the Hindu who brought Zen to China from India in the sixth century, is always depicted with a heavy beard. When we say "Bodhidharma" we immediately conceptualise him. If we say "Buddha" we conceptualise the Buddha. If we say "Christ" we conceptualise Christ. We make ourselves victims of concepts. By refuting appearance, Wakuan invites us to go beyond the duality of beard and no-beard and see the real Bodhidharma.


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