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Buddhadharma : Winter 2006
buddhadharma| 63 |winter 2006 Upon his death, Bodhidharma’s remains were interred in a burial chamber at the Empty Form Temple. A legend says that soon thereafter a Chi- nese man named Song Yun, who was returning from India, passed Bodhidharma on the road, walking in the other direction. He noted that Bodhidharma was wearing only one sandal. Upon hearing this report, the emperor ordered Bodhi- dharma’s crypt to be opened. His remains were not there. There was nothing to be found but a single sandal. That explains the last line of a verse discovered on a stone stele dated 538, unearthed at the temple, which is also engraved with a likeness of Bodhidharma: Sailing the sea, He came from the West with intention, In Jinling his words not comprehended, He practiced viewing a wall at Shao Lin, And left one sandal at Bear Ear Mountain. Empty Form (Kong Xiang) Temple. When the Emperor Xuan Zong declared in 758 that the temple would thereafter be known as Empty Form (Kong Xiang), he knew that the words had a double meaning. The Chinese words kong xiang sound like the words that mean “empty chamber.” Bodhidharma’s teaching on emptiness by no means ended with his death. • Since our visit, the Empty Form Temple on Bear Ear Mountain has continued to develop. During a one-day visit there in 2004, I witnessed a large truckload of local believers arrive to participate in late-afternoon services in the Buddha Hall. Red Pine more recently revisited the temple, conduct- ing interviews to be included in a forthcoming book. He reports that more new buildings have appeared, and the old stupa has been repaired and steadied.