Bodhidharma Will Kill You Too

Dharma Talk given at the Providence Zen Center Buddha's Enlightenment Day Ceremony on December 5, 1981

Thank you all for coming. I'm very happy to be here. The only trouble with these ceremonies is when you have to give a talk. Otherwise they are very easy.

In the hall outside, as you go up the red stairs, there is a calligraphy that I read every time I come here. It says "Buddha went to Snow Mountain. Sat. Don't Know. Six years passed. Saw bright star, got Enlightenment. Without thinking, full universe."

But what is this don't-know? Just this don't-know is not don't-know. Just don't-know is primary point. If you get that primary point, then you will be the same as Buddha, same as God, same as sun, moon, stars, sky. Then next, river becomes river; mountain becomes mountain. Water is wet; snow is cold. Do you like that?

As you come into the Dharma Room, there is a little painting of Bodhidharma hanging in the entrance way. The calligraphy under it says, "For nine years Bodhidharma sat in Sorim. Full of spite. He killed Buddha, he killed the eminent teachers, and he killed all people." If you attain don't-know, you then will be the same as Buddha, same as God, same as everything. But, when you let this don't-know function, Bodhidharma will kill you, too. What do you think about that?


Outside it is snowing. It is Buddha's Enlightenment Day.