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            The Dhammapada is a collection of the Buddha's sayings. It was probably compiled by followers of the Buddha during the third century before Christ. The version quoted here was translated by John Richards. In his introduction he indicates that the Dhammapada is a subset of the Theravada Pali Canon of scriptures known as the Khuddaka Nikaya. There are a number of closely related Mahayana works. The Fa Chu Ching, would appear to be a direct, Chinese translation of the Dhammapada. .
             It's believed that the Buddha lived from 563 to 483 B.C. in India. He started out life as Prince Gotamma, but later became known as the Buddha as a result of his spiritual awakening. The name Buddha comes from the Sanskrit word budh, meaning to be awake, to be conscious, or to know.
             Bodhidharma is credited with bringing Zen Buddhism to China. Although some scholars doubt that there really was such a historical individual, here's what's generally believed about his life. He was born in Southern India around the year 440 CE. His spiritual instructor, Prajnatara, told him to go to China. He traveled there by ship, arriving in Southern China around 475. Legend has it that he spent nine years in meditation, facing the rock wall of a cave that's about a mile from the Shaolin Temple (of kung fu fame). .
             During his life he had very few disciples, only three of which have made it into the history books. Bodhidharma transmitted the patriarchship of his lineage to Hui-k'o, and soon afterwards, Bodhidharma died in 528. A few years after his death, a Chinese official reported encountering Bodhidharma in the mountains of Central Asia. Bodhidharma was reportedly carrying a staff from which hung a single sandal, and he told the official that he was on his way back to India. When this story reached his home, his fellow monks decided to open Bodhidharma's tomb. Inside there was nothing but a sandal. .
             According to Tao-husan's Futher Lives of Exemplary Monks (the first draft of which was written in 645), the sermons published in The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma were delivered by Bodhidharma himself.

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