Difference Between Bodhidharma and Lord Buddha -

Bodhidharma vs Lord Buddha

The world knows about Lord Buddha as an apostle of peace and non violence whose teachings are followed by a sizeable number of people in different parts of the world. The people in India, the country where Lord Buddha lived and died, revere him like a God but it is China where Buddhism, a religion formed on the basis of his teachings is still followed. Bodhidharma is another spiritual personality who was a prince in south India, and spread Buddhism in the very country where it was adopted but was on a wane in 5th century AD. To differentiate between Lord Buddha, and Bodhidharma, who happens to be his devotee and disciple is indeed a difficult task. However, there are some points of differences between the teachings of Lord Buddha and Bodhidharma that will be highlighted in this article.

Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha was born as Prince Gautam in Lumbini district of present day Nepal, in 560 B.C. Very early in his life (though after marriage and having a son), Gautam Siddhartha was fed up with all worldly things and the pleasures of a princely life. He went out in search of the true meaning of life. After 12 years of meditation, he attained enlightenment, became Buddha, and spent the rest of his life in spreading his knowledge, which was later collected and formed the basis of Buddhism, a major religion of the world, started from India but spread and took roots in China and Japan.

Lord Buddha advised isolation from all worldly things to attain moksha or enlightenment and said that our love for worldly objects was the root cause of all sorrows. He demanded the removal of ego and freedom from all desires from his devotees to be able to attain enlightenment. He chose the path of non violence and described it as the supreme religion (Ahimsa Parmo Dharma). In the simplest of words, Buddha is a person who has been released from his sufferings and attained moksha (freedom from the cycle of rebirths).


Bodhidharma is believed by Buddhists to be 28th direct spiritual descendant of Lord Buddha. He is also the founder of Zen martial art of China. He was an Indian prince who gave up his earthly possessions and roamed here and there in search of inner peace and true meaning of life. Bodhidharma is also known as Pu Tai Ta Mo in Sanskrit and Darum Daishi, in Japanese. Born in 482 AD, he was a normal prince when he was impressed by the teachings of Lord Buddha, and learnt truth and compassion. He gave up his throne and everything to study with a famous Buddhist teacher Prajnatara. Prajnatara sent him to China to revive Buddhism. A collection of his preaching in Shao-lin monastery formed the basis of meditative philosophy called Zen.


What is the difference between Lord Buddha and Bodhidharma?

• Buddha preached non-violence and adopting an ascetic life, while Bodhidharma said that there is a Buddha inside all of us, and it is not necessary to be ascetic to be a learned one.

• Bodhidharma said the meditation and introspection is needed to unearth the Buddha nature that resides deep inside all of us.

• Bodhidharma is known to have distaste for books and scriptures, and Zen Buddhism is transmitted from the mind of a person to another person’s mind. On the other hand, Lord Buddha asked his followers to have an aversion for all things worldly and lead the life of an ascetic to become a Buddha.

• Buddha is the Lord or the enlightened one while Bodhidharma is the 28th patriarch of Buddhism and the founder of Zen Buddhism.


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