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In traditional Japanese Zen artwork (from the medieval period), Daruma is typically portrayed as a pious, stern-faced, red-robed monk pointing the way to enlightenment.
But in later centuries, Daruma came to serve a wide variety of different roles.
Bodhidharma is thereafter considered a type of Taoist Immortal, one who feigned his own death. Bodhidharma is also, according to some, the founder of Shaolin martial arts and Kung Fu, although such views are now largely discredited.
This, in a nutshell, is the Chinese version of the Bodhidharma story.
During that time, Japanese legend also credits Bodhidharma with plucking out (or cutting off) his eyelids.
Apparently he once fell asleep during meditation, and in anger, he cast them off.
In the Tibetan tradition, Dharmatrata, along with the Northern Chan master Mahayana, were added to the list of 18 Arhats. Both versions are considered largely apocryphal, containing layer upon layer of embellishments and legendary accretions spanning many centuries.
By the 18th century, red-colored Daruma dolls (with no arms or legs) were also sold to ward off smallpox.Broughton (University of California Press, Aug.1999). The best-known Chinese legends say he was the third son of a Brahman king from southern India [possibly from Tamil Nadu) and studied under the tutelage of Prajñātāra 般若多羅 (Jp..= Hannyatara), the 27th Indian Patriarch in a direct mind-to-mind line of transmission from the Historical Buddha. The historical Bodhidharma (known as Daruma in Japan) was an Indian sage who lived sometime in the fifth or sixth century AD.Modern scholars and art historians are trying to discern the underlying historical figure by stripping away the ideological, idealizing, & idolizing accretions.
The emperor is puzzled and perhaps annoyed, so Bodhidharma makes a quick getaway, heading northward to Shaolin Temple (Jp. At Shaolin Temple, he meditates for nine years in a cave, gaining the name Wall-Gazing Brahman 壁觀婆羅門 (Chn. = Hekikan Baramon or Menpeki Daruma 面壁達磨; literally the “wall-facing” or “wall-gazing” Bodhidharma.) Bodhidharma’s new meditation technique attracts few students, but one of them, Huìkě 慧可 (Jp.