Bodhidharma reached China, and the Chinese emperor Wu came to receive him. Bodhidharma's fame had reached ahead of him. Emperor Wu had done great service to the philosophy of Gautam Buddha. Thousands of scholars were translating Buddhist scriptures from Pali into Chinese and the emperor was the patron of all that great work of translation. He had made thousands of temples and monasteries, and he was feeding thousands of monks. He had put his whole treasure at the service of Gautam Buddha, and naturally, the Buddhist monks who had reached before Bodhidharma had been telling him that he was earning great virtue, that he will be born as a god in heaven.
Emperor Wu asked his first question “I have made so many monasteries, I am feeding thousands of scholars, I have opened a whole university for the studies of Gautam Buddha, I have put my whole empire and its treasures in the service of Gautam Buddha. What is going to be my reward?”
Bodhidharma said, “Nothing, no reward. On the contrary, be ready to fall into the seventh hell.”
The emperor said, “But I have not done anything wrong — why the seventh hell? I have been doing everything that the Buddhist monks have been telling me.”
Bodhidharma said, “Unless you start hearing your own voice, nobody can help you, Buddhist or non-Buddhist. And you have not yet heard your inner voice. If you had heard it, you would not have asked such a stupid question.”
And the emperor said, “My mind is very uneasy, very disturbed. You are a great sage, and I have been waiting for you. Tell me what I should do to put my mind at peace.”
Bodhidharma said, “You don’t do anything. First, you bring your mind to me.”
The emperor could not follow he said, “What do you mean?”
Bodhidharma said, “Come in the morning at four o’clock when nobody is there. Come alone, and remember to bring your mind with you.”
The emperor couldn’t sleep the whole night. Many times he canceled the whole idea: “This man seems to be mad. What does he mean, ‘Come with your mind; don’t forget?'” The man was so enchanting, so charismatic that he couldn’t cancel the appointment. As if a magnet was pulling him, at four o’clock he jumped out of the bed and said, “Whatsoever happens, I must go. This man may have something; his eyes say that he has something. Looks a little crazy, but still I must go and see what can happen.”
So The emperor reached, and Bodhidharma was sitting with his big staff. He said, “So you have come? Where is your mind? Have you brought it or not?”
The emperor said, “You talk nonsense. When I am here my mind is here, and it is not something which I can forget somewhere. It is in me.”
So Bodhidharma said, “Okay. So the first thing is decided — that the mind is within you.”
The emperor said, “Okay, the mind is within me.” Bodhidharma said, “Now close your eyes and find out where it is. And if you can find out where it is, immediately indicate to me. I will put it at peace.”
So the emperor closed his eyes, tried and tried, looked and looked. The more he looked, the more he became aware there is no mind, mind is an activity. It is not something you can pinpoint. But the moment he realized that it is not something, then the absurdity of his quest became exposed to him. If it is not something, nothing can be done about it. If it is an activity, then don’t do the activity; that’s all. If it is like walking, don’t walk.
He opened his eyes. He bowed down to Bodhidharma and said, “There is no mind to be found.” Bodhidharma said, “Then I have put it at peace. And whenever you feel that you are uneasy, just look within, where that uneasiness is.” The very look is anti-mind because the look is not thinking. And if you look intensely your whole energy becomes a look, and the same energy becomes movement and thinking.