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Superficially there is a one thousand years' gap between Buddha and Bodhidharma, but there is not even a single moment's gap in reality, in truth. On the circumference Buddha was already dead for one thousand years when Bodhidharma arrived on the scene, but at the center he is together with Buddha. He speaks the essence of Buddha -- of course he has his own way, his own style, but even Buddha would find it strange.

Buddha was a very cultured man, very sophisticated, very graceful. Bodhidharma is just the opposite in his expression. He is not a man but a lion. He does not speak, he roars. He has not that grace which belonged to Gautama the Buddha; he is rough, raw. He is not polished like a diamond; he is just from the mine, absolutely raw, no polishing. That is his beauty. Buddha has a beauty of his own, very feminine, very polished, very fragile. Bodhidharma has his own beauty, like that of a rock -- strong, masculine, indestructible, a great power.

Buddha also radiates power, but his power is very silent, like a whisper, a cool breeze. Bodhidharma is a storm, thundering and lightning. Buddha comes to your door without making any noise; he will not even knock on your door, you will not even hear his footsteps. But when Bodhidharma comes to you he will shake the whole house from its very foundations. Buddha will not shake you even if you are asleep. And Bodhidharma? He will wake you up from your grave! He hits hard, he is a hammer.

He is just the opposite of Buddha in his expression, but his message is the same. He bows down to Buddha as his master. He never says, "This is my message." He simply says, "This belongs to the buddhas, the ancient buddhas. I am just a messenger. Nothing is mine, because I am not. I am only a hollow bamboo who has been chosen by the buddhas to be a flute for them. They sing; I simply let them sing through me."

When he reached China, the Emperor Wu came to receive him on the borders: A great enlightened person is coming! And of course Wu was imagining him to be something like Gautama the Buddha -- very gentle, graceful, kingly. When he saw Bodhidharma he was shocked. He looked very primitive, and not only that,

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