Bodhidharma, also known as the "First Patriarch," was a Buddhist monk credited with bringing Chang Buddhism (also known as Zen Buddhism) to China. He is said to have lived in the 5th or 6th century AD and is revered as his spiritual master in both China and Japan.
Bodhidharma was born in India, a Brahmin he belonged to the caste. He became a Buddhist monk and studied under the famous Indian monk Pragnatara. According to legend, Pragnatara passed on the Buddha's teachings to Bodhidharma and instructed him to spread the teachings throughout China. Bodhidharma is said to have traveled to China and settled in the Shaolin Temple, where he taught Chang Buddhism to the local monks. He is also credited with developing the martial arts practices still taught in the Shaolin Temple today.
Bodhidharma is best known for emphasizing his meditation practice as a means of attaining his enlightenment. He taught that meditation is the direct path to enlightenment and that enlightenment can be achieved in this lifetime by devoting yourself to the practice of meditation.
Bodhidharma's teachings had a great influence on Chinese Buddhism, and his emphasis on meditation and direct experience became a core part of Zen Buddhism and its traditions.
Today, Bodhidharma is revered as a spiritual master in China, Japan and around the world, and his legacy continues to inspire seekers of spiritual truth and wisdom.