Bodhidharma


Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk from southern India.
He lived during the early 5th century and is traditionally
credited as the transmitter of Zen Buddhism (Chinese: Chán) to China.
Legend holds that Bodhidharma “brought” tea to China.


He was of South Indian Brahman
caste and was born a warrior
 prince from the Pallava dynasty
 whose capital was Kanchipuram.
He left his kingdom after becoming
a Buddhist monk and traveled
through Southeast Asia
into south China and traveled
 northwards.
In art he is depicted as
an ill-tempered, bearded
and wide-blue-eyed barbarian.
He was also credited  for establishing
the first Shaolin-Kung-Fu monastary.
He taught correct forms of meditation
and calisthenics  to a group of monks
 that he found emaciating in meditation
.



One popular legend about Bodhidharma
recounts how during his period of meditation
 for nine years near the Shaolin monastery
 he fell asleep, and when he awoke,
he was so furious that he cut off his eyelids
 to avoid sleeping again during
meditation practice.
He then threw his eyelids behind him,
 where upon hitting the earth they
 allegedly sprouted into tea plants.
 However, a detailed description
of tea-drinking is found in
an ancient Chinese dictionary,
noted by Kuo P'o in 350 , almost two
centuries before Bodhidharma
came to China, and there
is an early mention of tea being
prepared by servants in a Chinese
text of 50 thus, it is likely that Chinese
tea drinking predates
the arrival of Bodhidharma.