Jeff's Dharma Page
rough machine translation ... [ Eng=>Jpn ]

Daruma dolls such as these are supposed to represent the Buddhist priest Bodhidharma [c. 440-c. 528, known in Japan as Bodai Daruma], who was the 28th patriarch in a direct line from Buddha. The third son of an Indian king, he grew up near Madras, India but traveled to China sometime between 516 and 520 to promote zen meditation. This ill-tempered, bearded, blue-eyed barbarian is thus considered the founder of Zen Buddhism in China.

After a disasterous audience in Kuang (present day Canton) with Emperor Wu, he is said to have spent nine years meditating in the northern part of the kingdom of Wei in a cave near the Shoalin (kung fu) Monastery until he lost use of his arms and legs. Shortly thereafter he passed away, or may have died in the mass executions at Heyin Legend has it that seven years into the meditation, he cut off his own eyelids because he fell asleep. They dropped to the ground and grew into the first tea plant. Now drowsy meditators drink tea to keep awake.

Zen Buddhism later came to Japan from China. The Rinzai sect was founded by Eisai [1141-1215] and the Soto sect by Dogen [1200-1253]. Daruma figures became poplar during the 16th century and were regarded as a talisman for protection against smallpox during the Edo era (1600-1868). Most of those in my collection come from the area around Takayama. As you can see there are many kinds ...

With lots of sharp angles, with a big nose and an Easter Island outine,
or with eyes that pop out (o-me-de-tai=congratulations).

Beady-eyed, yawning, smiling, or even laughing.

Squashed down like a pancake, standing tall, or even in pairs (husband and wife).

Sometimes you can play with them as tops, nestled inside of each other,
or under a small top, used as a kind of die.

Sometimes they can be found in groups, on land and on sea.

Somtimes they congregate on top of cups, sometimes they ARE cups.

Last updated on September 2006
Copyright (C) 2000-2006 by Jeff Blair
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