Bodhidharma is an important figure within Zen, as he is credited with bringing the meditation school of Buddhism from India to China. Soon after his arrival in China, he was invited to the capital of the Kingdom of Liang to meet Emperor Wu.
The Emperor asked him what merit he had accrued from his widespread support of Buddhism, and Bodhidharma replied, "No merit". The Emperor then asked, "What is the most holy teaching", and Bodhidharma replied, "There is nothing holy".
When the Emperor asked who it was that was facing him, Bodhidharma replied, "I don't know." Following this meeting, Bodhidharma headed north to the neighbouring Kindom of Wei, where he sat in silent meditation at Shaolin Monastery.
This talk discusses Bodhidharma's meeting with the Emperor, and the very direct answers which he gives to the Emperor's questions. These discuss the nature of giving and merit, and reveal Bodhidharma's understanding of what Buddhist practice is.