In this video we will be talking the story of the Pallavan prince Bodhidharman, who lived before 1500 years in current day Tamil Nadu. Bodhidharma is considered the founder of Zen Buddhism in China. While much of his biography may be the stuff of legend and his historicity is still in question, numerous early records speak of him (or someone by the name of Bodhidharma) as a wise and compassionate monk. Whether or not he was ever a living person, the legend of Bodhidharma has made him as real in the Zen tradition as anyone else.
But with many masters predating him, why is Bodhidharma considered the first ancestor of Chinese Zen. While there were many Buddhist monks from India at that time, and a lot of Buddhism in China, Bodhidharma was the first to introduce the specific teachings that defined the Zen school.
It is said that Bodhidharma was born as the third prince of an Indian kingdom. Little is known about his youth, but he eventually immigrated to China as a missionary-monk in the late fourth or early fifth century.