by Sabomnim Graeme Cox as told by Grandmaster Kim Soo

Daruma Daishi was the great monk who introduced Buddhism to China. Originally from India, he traveled across the Himalayas on foot to share the wisdom and knowledge from his studies. When he reached China, many people felt he was a fake or had mystical powers, and were immediately skeptical of him. "How could he get here from India? You can't cross the Himalayas on foot!"

When they heard he had a new spiritual wisdom to share with China, again nobody believed or listened to him. Of course Daruma Daishi was disappointed, but through his own understanding, he realized that it was not yet the right time for the people to understand. But he had traveled to China as his mission in life and he would not be denied. He decided to go up into the mountains and meditate until the time was right to share his knowledge.

In time, one young Chinese man heard about Daruma Daishi and was interested in learning from him. He went up into the mountains to search for him.

When he came upon Daruma Daishi meditating in a cave he was not quite sure what to do. He introduced himself but Daruma Daishi continued meditating. Regardless of what the prospective student said or did, Daruma Daishi continued meditating. He waited for two days but still Daruma Daishi meditated. Well the young Chinese man had traveled a great distance to meet the teacher, so rather than leave he decided to sit down and meditate himself.

Several days later Daruma Daishi "woke up" and found the young Chinese man sitting with him. With a deep bow, the Chinese man said "I heard you were a great teacher. I want you to teach me."

Daruma Daishi said, "Nobody else was ready to learn, how do I know you are? How can you prove to me that you are ready to learn?

The young Chinese man replied "I have traveled many days up into the mountains in search of you. I sat and meditated with you for several days. Is that not proof enough?"

"No" replied Daruma Daishi. "You need to prove yourself ready and worthy if you want to learn from me." With that Daruma Daishi went back to his meditation.

What was the young man to do? How could he prove he was ready? What more could he do? He sat down with Daruma Daishi to meditate on his dilemma. In another two days Daruma Daishi and the prospective student "awoke."

"I know how I can prove to you that I am ready" said the student. And with that he pulled out a sword and promptly cut off his arm. He bowed deeply and presented his arm to Daruma Daishi. "Here great teacher, this is my left arm I give to you to show my dedication and loyalty, and prove that I wish to learn all you have to offer."

Daruma Daishi replied, "You are ready." He took the man's arm and placed it back where it had been severed, covering it with his hand. Within minutes it had completely healed. "You really do have mystical powers exclaimed Daruma Daishi's first Chinese disciple.

by Sabomnim Graeme Cox as told by Grandmaster Kim Soo

Buddhism grew very slowly in China in the following years, until the Emperor of the Yung Dynasty became interested. The Emperor promised Daruma Daishi he would build many temples all over China to help promote Buddhism. Through the Emperor's power, many temples were built and Buddhism grew throughout China. Many years later, Daruma Daishi was visiting the Emperor's castle.

The Emperor approached Daruma Daishi and said, "I have built many temples all over the land for you. Surely the Buddha is pleased. These acts must certainly guarantee my passage to Keuk Rak (heaven)?"

Shaking his head, Daruma Daishi replied, "Is that why you built all those temples? You built up a great deal of Kong with those temples, but with one breath, you have lost it all. What you have done is Kong-Chisa - you did it for the wrong reasons. Your efforts should have been to promote Buddhism because you saw its value and how it helped people. You should not have done this to guarantee your passage to Heaven. You fail to understand that your efforts should be selfless, not for some egotistical, personal gain. Your efforts don’t show loyalty to Buddha or me, but are self-gratifying to make you look good to other people. Your attitude guarantees you will never reach Keuk Rak."

"What!" exclaimed the Emperor. "How can you say this after all I have done for you. Guards, seize this insolent monk. After all I have done for him, I need to make an example of his treachery. Take him into the courtyard and have him beheaded."

So Daruma Daishi was led into the courtyard and knelt down before the Emperor. With a single swift stroke of his sword, one of the guards beheaded Daruma Daishi. To everyone's astonishment, white blood spurted from Daruma Daishi's neck as his head fell to the pavement and rolled away.

But the Emperor was still mad. He had Daruma Daishi's head mounted on a bamboo pole inside the castle gate, where everybody could see it. This punishment served as a lesson to others who would insult the Emperor.

After a few days Daruma Daishi's head was removed from the pole and, along with his body and modest posessions, was buried. Included in these belongings were a pair of jipsin (straw shoes). There had been great sadness and mourning from the time Daruma Daishi was slain. This was no greater than when they laid the great monk's body to rest.

As new visitors arrived at the castle they saw many people crying. "What great tragedy occurred that caused such despair?" inquired the visitors.

"The Emperor killed Daruma Daishi," replied the people.

"That is impossible," said the visitors. "We saw him outside the gates. He said his work here was completed and he was going back home. He was barefoot, carrying some belongings and one jipsin. He must have lost the other."

Eventually, word reached the Emperor that these visitors had seen Daruma Daishi. He responded with the same disbelief the visitors had when they heard of Daruma Daishi's death.

"Dig up the body" ordered the Emperor. "We will see where his body is. All they saw was a lost and lonely ghost." So the guards dug up the grave. To everyone's amazement, the body was gone. All that remained was a single jipsin.

From Grandmaster Kim Soo:

The Emperor had a “you owe me” attitude, and expected to be rewarded.  It was this attitude that turned Kong into Kong-Chisa. Kong Chisa is “negative Kong.”  It is not so much what you do, but your intentions that are most important.  Students who try to impress me don’t understand.  I don’t want you to try to impress me.  Saying you are my most loyal student doesn’t show loyalty. Unfortunately, my experience has been that the students who fall into this category read these words and think they apply to someone else, not themselves.  When you help others with no expectation of reward – that is Kong.  I want you to help others understand the many benefits of Chayon-Ryu.