Bodhidharma Obsidian Pendant

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Bodhidharma is credited with being the founder of the Chan/Zen School; yet little is known about him.


There are two written sources, variously copied into later texts and some oral traditional stories about him. In fact there has been some uncertainty as to his historical existence. What we do have are the elements of a tradition.


Modern scholarship places Bodhidharma as living during the 5th century C.E. His origins are disputed.


The Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang compiled in 547 C.E. states that Bodhidharma was originally a Persian from Central Asia who had travelled extensively and entered China aged 150.


Another text called ‘Two Entrances and Four Acts’ written by Tanlin and found in the Dunhuang cave system, places his origins in South India.


Later tales add details saying he was the third son of a South Indian king who rather like the Buddha renounced his privileged life and took up the black robe of the monk becoming the disciple of the 27th Indian patriarch Prajnatara.


Prajnatara was a victim of one of the occasional persecutions of Buddhism in India. He was imprisoned and finally executed but not before he managed to transmit the lineage, in the outer form of the Buddha’s robe and bowl, to Bodhidharma.


This robe and bowl was the outward evidence of the direct line of transmission of the teachings from the Buddha. As mentioned above, facts are few, but there are a number of important stories, sermons and sayings that are attached to the person called Bodhidharma which encapsulate the spirit of Chan/Zen Buddhism.


Obsidian is mostly produced in Central America and North America, is the national stone of Mexico. It is a common black gemstone and volcanic crystal, also known as Longjing and Shishengshi, usually dark. It belongs to one kind of igneous rocks, not to crystals. Crystals are crystals. Although obsidian is mainly composed of SiO 2 (SiO 2), it is a naturally formed silica. Amorphous and microcrystalline colloidal SiO 2 is not glass. Nowadays obsidian is processed into life Buddha and becomes the patron saint of people.

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