Bodhidharma vs Lord Buddha
Lord Buddha, known as an apostle of peace and non-violence, has teachings that are followed by a significant number of people around the world. He is particularly revered in India, where Buddhism, a religion based on his teachings, is still practiced. Bodhidharma, a prince from South India, helped spread Buddhism in China during the 5th century AD. Differentiating between Lord Buddha and Bodhidharma, his devotee and disciple, can be challenging. However, some differences exist between the teachings of Lord Buddha and Bodhidharma.
Lord Buddha was born as Prince Gautam in Lumbini district of present-day Nepal in 560 B.C. He was married with a son when he decided to leave his princely life to seek the true meaning of life. After 12 years of meditation, he attained enlightenment and became Buddha. He spent the remainder of his life spreading his knowledge, which later formed the basis of Buddhism. Lord Buddha advocated for isolation from all worldly things to attain enlightenment (moksha) and said that love for worldly objects was the root cause of all sorrows. He demanded the removal of ego and freedom from desires to achieve enlightenment. He also chose the path of non-violence, describing it as the supreme religion (Ahimsa Parmo Dharma). In simple terms, a Buddha is someone released from their sufferings and has attained moksha (freedom from the cycle of rebirths).
Bodhidharma is regarded by Buddhists as the 28th direct spiritual descendant of Lord Buddha and the founder of Zen martial art of China. Born in 482 AD, he was an Indian prince who renounced his earthly possessions and wandered in search of inner peace and the true meaning of life. He is also known as Pu Tai Ta Mo in Sanskrit and Darum Daishi in Japanese. Influenced by Lord Buddha’s teachings, Bodhidharma learned truth and compassion, giving up his throne and everything else to study under the renowned Buddhist teacher Prajnatara. Prajnatara sent him to China to revive Buddhism, and a collection of his preaching at the Shao-lin monastery formed the basis of the meditative philosophy Zen.
- While Lord Buddha preached non-violence and adopting an ascetic life, Bodhidharma believed there is a Buddha within everyone, and it is not necessary to be ascetic to be learned.
- Bodhidharma emphasized the need for meditation and introspection to discover the Buddha nature that resides within all of us.
- Unlike Lord Buddha, who asked followers to have an aversion for all worldly things and lead the life of an ascetic to become a Buddha, Bodhidharma had a distaste for books and scriptures, with Zen Buddhism transmitted from one person’s mind to another’s.