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Name of a Buddhist monk, who lived in China in the 5-6th Century AD and who in popular legend is traditionally accredited with spreading Zen, as well as being the originator of the physical training of the Shaolin monks, whom he instructed also in meditation. Furthermore, Bodhidharma is generally regarded as the first Chinese Buddhist patriarch. According to ancient myths, he traveled to China passing through many countries of Southeast Asia, transmitting his knowledge of Mahayana Buddhism and martial arts in the process. In iconography, he is depicted with a bald head, thick eyebrows and a beard, sometimes while carrying a stick over his shoulder from which hangs a single shoe, an attitude which refers to an episode in which Bodhidharma manifested himself to a traveling ambassador of the northern Wei Dynasty (ca. AD 386-535), three years after his death and while holding a shoe. The ambassador asked him where he was going and why he was carrying a shoe. Bodhidharma replied that he was going home and that the answer to the question why he was holding a shoe could be found at Shaolin Temple. Upon informing the monks of the Shaolin Temple about his encounter with Bodhidharma, the ambassador was told that this was quite impossible, as Bodhidharma had already been dead for three years and that he was buried in a hill behind the temple. However, after disputing with the ambassador who insisted that his story was true, the grave was exhumed and was found to contain a single shoe. Hence, the monks understood that Bodhidharma had indeed gone home. See also Daruma (fig.) and compare with Bodhidurma (fig.).