Tulips and Diane

Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tulips and Diane




Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th-6th century and is traditionally credited as the leading patriarch and transmitter of Zen to China.

According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan. However, martial arts historians have shown this legend stems from a 17th century chigong manual known as the Yijin Jing.

Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend, but most accounts agree that he was a Tamil prince from southern India’s Pallava Empire. Scholars have concluded his place of birth to be Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu.

After becoming a Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma traveled to China. The accounts differ on the date of his arrival, with one early account claiming that he arrived during the Liú Sòng Dynasty (420–479) and later accounts dating his arrival to the Liáng Dynasty (502–557). Bodhidharma was primarily active in the lands of the Northern Wèi Dynasty (386–534). Modern scholarship dates him to about the early 5th century.

Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as a rather ill-tempered, profusely bearded and wide-eyed barbarian. He is described as “The Blue-Eyed Barbarian” in Chinese texts.

The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall (952) identifies Bodhidharma as the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in an uninterrupted line that extends all the way back to the Buddha himself. D.T. Suzuki contends that Zen’s growth in popularity during the 7th and 8th centuries attracted criticism that it had “no authorized records of its direct transmission from the founder of Buddhism” and that Zen historians made Bodhidharma the 28th patriarch of Buddhism in response to such attacks.

SOURCE: Wikipedia
PICTURES: from the Denman Library

Bodhidharma Cave

(Shaolin Temple, China)

Kato, how come you’re talking about Bodhidharma?

…’cause you’re an enthusiastic chiqong (気功) practitioner.  I’m pretty sure you’re interested in Zen as well.

Well…, I love chigong, but Zen is quite static to me.

Static to you?

Yes, it is.  Not dynamic, I mean, Zen is doing nothing—sitting still.  I don’t know how it could possibly improve your health and mind.

That’s the reason I’m talking about Bodhidharma.

He looks like a devil to me—a quite scary man, wasn’t he?

Yes, he was in a sense.  He is actually depicted as a rather ill-tempered, profusely bearded and wide-eyed barbarian.

So what was he good at?

In Japan, Bodhidharma is believed to be an original grand Zen master.

Oh, is he?

He is known as “Daruma” in Japan, and every Japanese knows about him.  If anybody doesn’t know about “Daruma” in Japan, he or she is NOT a Japanese.

Is he that famous in Japan?

You bet on that, Diane.  In Japan, almost every household used to have a “Daruma” figure in an alcove or on a shelf.

Is this the “Daruma” figure?

Yes, it is.

How come it has only one black eye—not two black eyes?

A good question, Diane…’cause the Japanese usually buy a “Daruma” figure with no black eyes.

When you have a serious wish, then you would pray to Daruma while writing a black eye on his face.

Once your wish is realized, then you will write another black eye.

And then the “Daruma” figure will become your full-fledged talisman.

Quite interesting!   So his teaching is well-known in Japan, isn’t it?

Oh yes, it is.

…like what?

For example, the following teaching is written in one of famous Zen scripts.


(Be born-free again)

It literally means “a man who does nothing and gets involved in nothing.”

…doesn’t make sense to me.

I know what you mean, Diane…Zen scripts often sound meaningless, if not self-contradictory.

Doing nothing and remaining involved in nothing means that you’re born-free again.  Is that it?

You see, Diane, some people are preoccupied by their status in our society in terms of family ancestory, wealth, education, and so on.  Bodhidharma told his disciples to throw away those superficial goodies, which would prevent them from seeing the truth of life.

I see.

One of his diciples said, “Master, I’m free from all the goddies.”  Then Bodhidharma said to him, “No, you are not…’cause you’re even chained by your belief of being free from all the goddies.”

So Bodhidharma was a very sarcastic person, wasn’t he? :)

Yes, Diane, you’re telling me. :)    Once Bodhidharma went too far.

In what way?

Sitting still, Bodhidharma faced the rock wall for nine years.

Well, that’s not so extraordinary, Kato…’cause, in our Christian history, one of the saints lived on the top of the pillar for more than 30 years. :)

Saint Simeon

Saint Simeon Stylites or Symeon the Stylite (c. 390 – 2 September 459) was a Christian ascetic saint who achieved fame because he lived for 39 years on a small platform on top of a pillar near Aleppo in Syria.

Several other stylites later followed his model (the Greek word style means pillar).

He is known formally as Saint Simeon Stylites the Elder to distinguish him from Simeon Stylites the Younger and Simeon Stylites III.

Yes, I know that, Diane…I learned about him in the European history.  However, one of Bodhidharma’s disciples went much too far.

In what way?

While Bodhidharma was facing the rock wall, Huike (慧可:えか) visited him and asked the grand master to teach him.   Bodhidharma initially refused to teach Huike.

I suppose, Huike didn’t give up, did he?

No, he didn’t.  Huike stood in the snow outside Bodhidharma’s cave all night until the snow reached his waist. In the morning Bodhidharma asked him why he was there and Huike replied that he wanted a teacher to “open the gate of the elixir or universal compassion to liberate all beings”.

Then what did the grand master say?

Bodhidharma refused, saying, “how can you hope for true religion with little virtue, little wisdom, a shallow heart, and an arrogant mind? It would just be a waste of effort.”   Finally, to prove his resolve, Huike cut off his left arm and presented it to the First Patriarch as a token of his sincerity at which point Bodhidharma accepted him as a student and changed his name from Shenguang to Huike (“Wisdom and Capacity”).

My goodness!   Oh yeah… Huike went too far.

The story continies, Diane.  Without realizing that he had just self-amputated his left arm, Huike screamed in pain and then said to Bodhidharma, “My mind is anxious. Please pacify it.”  Bodhidharma replied, “Bring me your mind, and I will pacify it.” Huike said, “Although I’ve sought it, I cannot find it.” “There,” Bodhidharma replied, “I have pacified your mind.”

I see…What a sarcastic master Bodhidharma was!  So, an anxious mind didn’t exist in the first place, did it?

You’re right on, Diane…And I’ll tell you another story.

Tell me, Kato.  I’m all years.

Do you remember Aki and Natsu?

Yes, of course, I do.

Jinzaburo’s village is near Sendai, where I entered the university.

Are you saying that Jinzaburo studied at the same university?

Oh no, he didn’t.

Then how come you showed the university map?

A good question?  You see, Diane, three women were among the illegal Japanese migrants.  One of them was a wife of one farmer.

How about other two?

They were daughters of the lady-owner of the Japanese inn shown in the above map.

Why did they decide to immigrate into Canada?

The older sister, Aki, was a single mother with a small daughter born out of marriage.  Aki’s boyfriend ran away at the news of a coming baby. In the early twentieth century, a single unmarried mother was a big burden and an unerasable disgrace to any family. The baby was forced to be adopted by a childless couple as the custome at the day. So distressed yet determined, Aki decided to start a new life in Canada. Since Aki’s mother personally knew Jinzabro, she asked him to take two sisters with him to Canada.

But how come two sisters decided to go to Canada together?

A good question!…’cause Aki disgraced the family, Aki’s sister, Natsu, would have no suitors in the future. That’s what she thought and Natsu decided to accompany Aki to Canada.

What a sad motive!

Well, Natsu thought that she would have no future as long as she stayed in her home town.  So she also tried to start a new life overseas.

My goodness!  What a sad story!

You believe it or not, Diane, both sisters worked hard as a house maid and saved enough money to purchase Melbourne Hotel on Main Street near False Creek.


I’m not kidding nor jesting, Diane.   This is a historical fact.

“Squaw House and Melbourne Hotel”
(Friday, September 2, 2011)

Are you saying, Kato, this story has something to do with Bodhidharma?

Yes, of course, it has.  Aki cut off the chain, that is, her social status in the society and decided to start her life in Canada from the scratch.  She emancipated herself from the chain to her adopted baby-girl and the man who had run away from her.

I see…but Kato, how come you’ve brought up “tulips and me” as a title?

A good question, Diane…’cause you’re a tulip to me.  Ryoukan (良寛), one of the well-known Zen masters, said:


Love between

flower and butterfly

If I translate it literally, it means that a flower attracts a butterfly without any intention.  Diane, you seem to be one of Ryoukan’s disciples.

What makes you think so?

You told me the other day that you’d rather pull your feet out of the shoes of a clergyman’s daughter.

Oh…did I say that to you, Kato?

Yes, you did.  Diane, you aren’t so old to be forgetful, you know. :)

Mind you, I feel pretty young all the time. :)  So, Kato, what is so good about it?

You know, Diane, some religious people are self-righteous and self-centered.  I know you’re quite religeous, yet far from self-righteous.

I’m not trying to be self-righteous.

I know that, Diane.  By the way, do you know about Jim Bakker?

Yes, of course, I do.

Jim Bakker

James Orsen “Jim” Bakker was born on January 2, 1940.
He is an American televangelist, a former Assemblies of God minister, and a former host (with his then-wife Tammy Faye Bakker) of The PTL Club, a popular evangelical Christian television program.

A sex scandal led to his resignation from the ministry.
Subsequent revelations of accounting fraud brought about his imprisonment and divorce and effectively ended his time in the larger public eye.

Some Christians say that he is a liar, an embezzler, a sexual deviant, and the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.

Well… nobody is perfect, Diane.  At least I know, you’re so open-minded and kind-hearted that friendly people gather around you even if you don’t have any intention to attract them—just as Ryoukan said, “A flower attracts a butterfly without any intention.”

Kato, are you pulling my leg?

Oh no, I’m not.  I’m not even apple-polishing.  Actually, I’m quite serious. He, he, he, he, he…

The Empty Mind

Shaolin Temple Warrior Monks


【Himiko’s Monologue】

I think Kato is quite sarcastic like the grand Zen master.
But I can easily understand that friendly people gather around Diane, who seems like a quite amicable person, though nobody is perfect.
Zen is one thing; romance is another.

Come to think of it, I’ve never met a decent man in my life.
How come I’m always a loner?
I wish I could meet a nice gentleman at the library in my town as Diane met Kato.
Well, they say, there is a way where there is a will.

Have a nice day!
Bye bye …


“Queen Nefertiti”

“Catherine de Medici”

“Catherine the Great”

“Mata Hari”

“Sidonie Colette”

“Marilyn Monroe”

“Hello Diane!”

“I wish you were there!”

“Jane Eyre”

“Jane Eyre Again”

“Jane Eyre in Vancouver”

“Jane Eyre Special”

“Love & Death of Cleopatra”

“Nice Story”


“Spiritual Work or What?”

“What a coincidence!”

“Wind and Water”

“Yoga and Happiness”

“You’re in a good shape”




“Net Travel & Jane”

“Net Love”

“Complicated Love”

“Electra Complex”

“Net Début”

“Inner World”

“Madame Riviera and Burger”

“Roly-poly in the North”

“Amazing Grace”

“Diane in Paris”

“Diane in Montmartre”

“Diane Well Read”

“Wantirna South”

“Maiden’s Prayer”


“Squaw House and Melbourne Hotel”




■ 『きれいになったと感じさせる


■ 『ちょっと変わった 新しい古代日本史』

■ 『面白くて楽しいレンゲ物語』

■ 『カナダのバーナビーと軽井沢に


■ 『今すぐに役立つホットな情報』

■ 『 ○ 笑う者には福が来る ○ 』










Hi, I’m June Adames.

I like a leisurely stroll

while listening to nice music

such as “Sous le Ciel de Paris.”

Sous le Ciel de Paris

by Hideshi Kibi(日本人)

You can find some Japanese musicians in Paris.

Fujiko Hemming also likes Édith Piaf

who sings “Sous le ciel de Paris.”

Sous le ciel de Paris

by Édith Piaf

I like Chanson Française (French song).

How about you?

Kato also love Édith Piaf,

but he considers Juliette Greco’s

“Sous le Ciel de Paris” much beter.

Sous le Ciel de Paris

by Juliette Greco

I believe Yves Montand’s “Sous le Ciel de Paris” is the best of all.

Sous le Ciel de Paris

by Yves Montand

I love Paris, but Vancouver isn’t bad at all.

To tell you the truth, Vancouver is a paradise to me.

Kato thinks that Vancouver is better than Paris.


Here’s a Japanese proverb.

If I translate it literally, it means this:

The lighthouse does not

shine on its base.

It also means this:

The darkest place is

under the candlestick.

I’m pretty sure that your birthplace is a paradise to you.