I heard this story from Bodhidharma‘s childhood recently and I wanted to share it.
As a child, Bodhidharma was the third son of a king in south India. His father was deeply interested in Buddhism. The king invited a famous dharma teacher named Hannyatara to the palace to give teachings many times. One day the king was really impressed with a teaching and he gave Hannyatara a beautiful jewel.
Bodhidharma said something else. He said that although the jewel was great, the real treasure is the mind, the light of wisdom is greater than the light of a jewel. He was seven.
Hannyatara told the king that his third son would go far in life.
When his father died, young Bodhidharma meditated in front of his coffin for a week.
Then he left the palace to become Hannyatara’s student.
There’s a message in this story that I like. The message is that you are good. Your nature is good. Your mind is a precious jewel. We forget that sometimes. We think awful things about ourselves and we poisons our minds in countless ways. But 7 year old Bodhidharma wants to remind us. Your mind is more precious than a jewel.