Bodhidharma: The founder of Zen Buddhism in China


Bodhidharma was a legendary Buddhist monk. He was born as a prince in a Southern Indian Kingdom but he soon discarded his palace life to embrace the study of Buddhism. As a travelling master, he journeyed to China where he gained powerful disciples and founded Zen. He is also known as the first Kung-Fu master at the Shaolin temple. He was also the doctor of Ayurvedic medicine. He popularized meditation and introduced green tea to China. 
His exact birth date is not known. He was active during the first half of the 6th century AD and he was born in the South Indian kingdom of Pallava corresponding to the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. 
Bodhidharma  introduced for the first time particular teachings which defined the Zen school. At the age of 22, he was completely enlightened, and that was when he was sent to China as a messenger. 
Gautama, the Buddha taught meditation or Dhyan.  Hundreds years later, Bodhidharma spread Dhyan to China where it became Chan. This Chan went further down to Japan, Indonesia, and other far east Asian countries, where it became Zen.
Bodhidharma went into the mountains for the purpose of meditation. There he met a few disciples, and they all would meditate in the mountain caves. For a meditator, the biggest disturbance is sleep. According to the The legend, Bodhi Dharma once fell asleep while he was meditating. He became so upset that he cut off his eyelids. His eyelids dropped to the ground and became the first tea plant. Tea was thereafter distributed to the monks as a shield against sleep.
The hill that Bodhidharma resided in was known as Tai or Chai. The monks later found specific leaves which were discovered by Bodhidharma that could be boiled in water and drunk to stay awake and alert. They could then meditate without any disturbance. This was how tea or chai was discovered. 


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