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- It has been proposed that this page, Daruma, be titled, "Bodhidharma".
Bodhidharma (Chinese: 菩提達摩 [Pútídámó]; Japanese: 達磨 [Daruma]) is credited with being the founder and first patriarch of Ch'an/Zen Buddhism in the Fifth Century A.D.
Originally an Indian sage, he traveled extensively through the Middle Kingdom of China, introducing the inhabitants there to the teachings of the Buddha, where his philosophy became known as Ch'an Buddhism. It was only many centuries later that his teachings blossomed in Japan, becoming what we know today as Zen Buddhism.
Very little is known about Bodhidharma, with most of the existing knowledge contained in a Chinese document, dated to 1053 AD, named Chuanfa Zhengzongji (伝法正宗記). This is translated into English as the "Record of the Transmission of the Law and Correct Teaching."
Many legends, often conflicting, surround Bodhidharma. The best-known legends state that he attained enlightenment after meditating in a cave for seven years, although other legends refer to nine years of meditation, without blinking or moving his eyes. The long years of mediation resulted in his arms and legs atrophying, shriveling up, and falling off. Legend also credits Bodhidharma with cutting off his eyelids, after apparently dozing off during meditation. Angered by his weakness, he cut off his eyelids, which fell to the ground and sprouted into China's first green tea plants. He is also said to have crossed the sea from China to Japan by balancing on a bamboo shoot,
In many accounts, Bodhidharma was said to be the son of a Brahmin king in southern India. After achieving enlightenment, he became the twenty-eighth successor to Shakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama), the historical Buddha. His chief successor, the second patriarch of Zen, was Huike.
Based on the myth of Daruma having lost his arms, legs and eyelids during meditation, the Daruma Doll (or simply "Daruma") has become a symbol of good luck in Japan, especially amongst students studying for exams, or companies starting a new enterprise.  Daruma are usually made of papier-mache, painted red, and depict a limbless, eyeless Bodhidharma seated in mediation. The dolls are weighted inside, so should it be knocked onto its side, the doll returns back to the upright position.