Ni Zongchi
Jap. Ni Soji
Buddhist nun   Whole Grasp
born:  c. 490
died:  c. 570

place:  China
Chan master:  Bodhidharma
Chan disciples:  none recorded

Ancient Music in the Pines, ch. 9
Ni Zongchi was a woman disciple of Bodhidharma,
and is in the story of the "skin, flesh, bones, and
marrow". She was the "flesh".
       oshobob  The Living Workshop                                        
                                                     Zen Masters
After nine years, Bodhidharma, the first Zen
patriarch, who took Zen to China from India in
the sixth century, decided that he wished to
return home. He gathered his disciples around
him to test their perception.

Dofuku said, “In my opinion, truth is beyond
affirmation or negation, for this is the way it

Bodhidharma replied, “You have my skin.”

The nun
Soji said, “In my view, it is like Ananda’s
insight of the Buddha-land – seen once and

Bodhidharma answered, “You have my flesh.”

Doiku said, “The four elements of light, airiness,
fluidity, and solidity, are empty, and the five
skandhas are no-things. In my opinion, no-thing
is reality.”

Bodhidharma commented, “You have my bones.”

Finally, Eka bowed before the master and
remained silent.

Bodhidharma said, “You have my marrow.”

...Ananda was the chief disciple of Buddha who
lived with him for forty years continuously, like a
shadow following him. So the nun said that truth
is like Ananda’s insight of the Buddha-land – of
that land of paradise, land of light. Once seen, it
is seen forever. Then you can never forget
about it, it is a point of no return. Once known, it
is known forever; then you cannot fall from it.
But the experience is not her own, the insight is
Ananda’s. She is still comparing. Her answer is
theological, not philosophical – theological, as a
Christian theologian goes on talking about the
experience of Jesus, and a Buddhist goes on
talking about the experience of Buddha, and a
Jaina goes on talking about the experience of
Mahavira. It is second-hand, not first-hand;
leaning more towards the existential, but still
theological; more contemplative than the first –
the first is more speculative, the second is more
contemplative – better, but yet far away...

               Ancient Music in the Pines, ch. 9