Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen, came to China, he
was received by emperor Wu. Against all expectations
emperor Wu saw himself confronted with a man, who not
only looked like a bandit, but also carried a shoe on his
head! When the emperor, surrounded by it's yard state,
tried to get rid of Bodhidharma by friendly conversation,
Bodhidharma said:"Ask the question!"
Wu could not resist asking about the shoe.
Bodhidharma answered: "The shoe is there in order to make
it clear for once and forever: Either you are direct from
the very beginning and ask your questions or you will
never see me again."
asked his first question:
"I have established many temples, helped to copy
scriptures and supported many monks and nuns. What reward
have I thereby acquired for myself?"
"None", said Bodhidharma.
"Why not?", the surprised emperor asked.
"You were only exploited. Like a shadow your actions show
the motives, which you follow."
Wu changed the topic and continued his questioning:
"What is the sense of your teachings?"
Bodhidharma said: "Wide emptiness, nothing holy"
the clarity and simplicity of
Bodhidharmaís response, Wu could not
understand him. Reality is independent of words,
writings and dogmas. Out of terms and
distinctions arises only dispute. All rights and
wrongs are without substance. Orientation to
religious or political ideas is the cause of a
large part of our suffering. Ideas give us a
deceitful feeling of security. It doesn't seem
easy to break the wall made of ideas. But
reality is not far away. In the long run
hypotheses do not help. In order to see we must
look into our own reality.