attributed to Bodhidharma is presently considered authentic. < Broughton, p. 4 > The lack of robust historical evidence concerning Bodhidharma, paradoxically, is offset by countless legends about this sage. Legends come in two varieties -- the orthodox Chinese version, and the far more fanciful Japanese version. Both versions are considered largely apocryphal, containing layer upon layer of embellishments and legendary accretions spanning many centuries. Modern scholars and art historians are trying to discern the underlying historical figure by stripping away the ideological, idealizing, & idolizing accretions. < Sources REFERENCES: See, for example:
Bodhidharma as Textual and Religious Paradigm by Bernard Faure (History of Religions, Vol. 25, No. 3, 1986, -198) or
Why did the Patriarch Cross the River? The Rushleaf Bodhidharma Reconsidered by Charles Lachman (Asia Major, Vol. 4, Pt. 2, 1993, Pages 257-264), or
Awakenings: The Development of the Zen Figural Pantheon by Yukio Lippit (Japan Society, 2007), or
The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen by Jeffrey L. Broughton (University of California Press, ).
“The following week I stayed home. After spending many hours in meditation and practice, I gave up and went sailing alone in a junk. On the sea I thought of all my past training and got mad at myself and punched at the water. Right then at that moment, a thought suddenly struck me: Wasn’t this water, the very basic stuff, the essence of gung fu? Didn’t the common water illustrate to me the principle of gung fu? I struck it just now, but it did not suffer hurt. Again I stabbed it with all my might, yet it was not wounded. I then tried to grasp a handful of it but it was impossible. This water, the softest substance in the world, could fit itself into any container. Although it seemed weak, it could penetrate the hardest substance in the world. That was it! I wanted to be like the nature of water.”