"During my research of past ten years on the life history of Bodhidharma according to Chinese literature, I made a startling discovery. His home country in India was described by three Chinese characters “香至国”, meaning "fragrant city", more than a thousand years ago. What attracted my attention was not the meaning, but the pronunciation. On exploring further, I found that the first two words 香至 is pronounced as "Kang-Zhi" in a local language of Min-Nan region, located at south-east coast where there were in the past trading ports with India. It exactly matched with "Kanchi-puram" since the Tamil word "puram" means city (or country) while the third word “国” means Country. Hence surprisingly, the Tamil ancient capital town Kanchipuram was expressed by three characters “香至国”.
This was a great inspiration for my search and ever since, the journey has been turned out a most enjoyable one. In fact, my journey has been rewarded by recent discovery of a relief panel of Bodhidharma at the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram. Now one may say that we have two direct evidences of Kanchipuram associated with Bodhidharma.
There is one more story worth mentioning. When Bodhidharma left Shaolin monastery at his last unreturning journey, he left two texts at Shaolin behind, which were kept in an iron box sealed with wax or fat. After hard efforts, a wise monk could open it, and found two texts written in Sanskrit. Now one of them is called “Change muscle/tendon classic（易筋経）” and the other “Wash-brain sutra（洗髄経）”. It is said that the latter text was brought (and lost) by his first disciple Hui-Ku 慧可, but led to development of Zen Buddhism, in which sitting Yoga is practiced together with daily practice of cleaning, tea-break meeting and garden works, while the former text remained in Shaolin. This is a manual of exercises coordinated with breathing. This is used even now as physical exercises in Shaolin training. We plan to recover both of them at our DOJO in Kanchipuram.”
- Dr. Tsutomu Jixin Kambe,
Founder Director: Bodhi-Dharma Dojo Foundation;
Vice-President: World Association of Bodhi Dharma (NPO, Japan)