Bodhidharma is known to have had a philosophical conversation with Emperor Wu. And later Bodhidharma stayed in China as a Zen Buddhist philosopher and expert who framed the rules for the training of monks, which was transformed into martial arts in China.
We know this from the book Bouthamum Thamizhum by research scholar Mylai Seeni Venkatasamy (1900-1980). The book reveals some startling facts:
- Hinduism accepted Buddha as an avatar of Thirumal.
- Lesser devas (fairies) or village angels were absorbed.
- Animal sacrifices were abandoned by (Hindu) brahmin caste priests who converted to vegetarian food to defend their sacred profession.
- Bodhi tree (a symbol of enlightenment) reverence was adapted because it was a popular devotional practice among Hindus, who cared for both nature and tree spirits (bhummatha devas) who often dwell in trees.
- Meditation centers (maths) were established just like Buddhist monasteries.
- Adi Shankara [who created Hinduism out of existing traditions and rejected Buddhism, which had universal appeal outside India] adapted Buddhism's Soonyavadha to get Mayavadha, the idea that the world is illusory.
- Buddhist Rebirth Tales (Jatakas) were accepted.
How it Happened
1. Originally Tamil "religion" or spirituality consisted of Maayon, Seyon, Vendhan, Varunan worship, according to Tholkappiam. The absence of other Hindu "gods" [visitors from space] in Tholkappiam shows the practice of Tamil religion in the pre-Aryan age. During the Tholkappiam and Sangam ages, the arrival of Aryans and their rituals was not a mass following of some Vedic form of religion but as the arrival of unorganized individual Aryans and their influence on Tamil Society. More