Friday, 14 July 2017


135. The story goes that in China in the old days a certain young man named Eka was greatly distressed. So he went to see a wise monk who had arrived in China from India. This was Bodhidharma who at the time was sitting in a cave practising zazen. At first Bodhidharma ignored the young man's request for help. He just went on practising zazen. Yet such was Eka's distress that he refused to be rebuffed like this. And so he stood himself outside Bodhidharma's cave and just went on standing there. It grew dark and started to snow. Still Eka went on standing there, even into the night. Bodhidharma, for his part, persisted with his zazen practice. And Eka persisted with his standing there, even though the snow piled up around him. As Bodhidharma remained unimpressed, Eka felt driven to cut off his arm as evidence of both his distress and determination. This he presented to the old monk while crying out, 'My mind has not peace! Please, Master, pacify my mind!' At this point Bodhidharma relented and, turning to Eka, demanded, 'Bring your mind here and I will pacify it for you'. Eka realised immediately the impossibility of such a task and found himself saying, 'I have searched for my mind and I cannot take hold of it'. 'There,' said Bodhidharma, 'your mind is pacified.'
Eka went on to become Bodhidharma's successor and is known as the Second Patriarch of Zen.   

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