Meeting Face-to-Face, He Misses His Chance,
to Recognize the Patriarch
For the Patriarch to say he had no merit and
virtue was one thing, but for Emperor Wu of Liang to hear that was
another, for it made him quite unhappy. From then on, the Emperor
ignored Patriarch Bodhidharma. No matter what Dharma the Patriarch
spoke, the Emperor refused to listen. "Why should I listen to you?"
Emperor Wu's karmic obstacles were too heavy. Although Patriarch
Bodhidharma came from India to become the First Patriarch of China,
Emperor Wu of Liang failed to recognize him. He was face-to-
missed his chance.
The Chinese people have a saying, "Coming
face-to-face, one fails to recognize the Bodhisattva Who
Contemplates the Sounds of the World." Emperor Wu of Liang was
face-to-face and failed to recognize the One Who Intentionally Came
from the West. He did not recognize the Patriarch who came from the
West. Why did Patriarch Bodhidharma want to save him? He knew that
the Emperor was going to encounter some difficulty, so he wanted to
help the Emperor awaken. Had Emperor Wu been able to leave home and
cultivate, or to yield his throne to someone else, he could have
avoided the fate of starving to death.