Are the Life and Death of Bodhidharma in the Tamil Film “Ezham Arivu” Historically Incorrect ?

The recently popular Tamil Film “7th Sense”/”Ezham Arivu” directed by A.R.Murugadoss with Surya as the hero is about ‘Bodhidharma’, a Buddhist Monk.

Mr.Babu T.Raghu, the Founder of Sailum Zen Monastry in Bangalore has disputed the historical According to Raghu:

  • the movie is ‘completely erroneous’ and the life and legend of the 28th Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma has been distorted to suit the requirements of the movie script and hence the character of the monk has suffered extensively and none of the ‘historical’ aspects as shown in the movie are correct and life and death of Bodhidharma have been wrongly depicted in the movie.
  • According to the historical accounts Bodhidharma took up Buddhism at an age of seven years and travelled to China, at an age of 150 years to spread the Dhyana culture of Mahayana Buddhism and confined himself to a cave and never spoke to people for nine years and
    never fought with anyone.

The movie ‘7th Sense’ /’Ezham Arivu’ has depicted Bodhidharma as:

  • a married man with two children and that
  • he took to Buddhism on the way to China and
  • he was shown as going to China to cure a disease and teach fighting skills to the villagers.

In the film the young Bodhidharma has been shown as practicing Martial Arts in Kanchi Town and as per the researcher Raghu Bodhidharma actually practiced Martial arts at ‘Sri Parvata (Nagarjunakonda) area in Andhrapradesh.

According to Raghu as Bodhidharma attained ‘Vajra Kaya’ status with immunity to diseases and poisons was to stay away from metros like Kanchi Town and showing that he stayed at Kanchi is wrong.

The movie has showed the exhumation of his body, however the historical accounts indicate that Bodhidharma’s body was never found when the tomb was reopened.

According to the researcher Raghu, the Director Murugadoss should have exercised caution in declaring his version on the life and death of Bodhidharma. And Forgetting or neglecting a history is much better than distorting it.

While appreciating the freedom of artistic expression, the director should have at least made a disclaimer that this is one of the versions of the available legends, or that he adapted the story to suit the movie.

The reactions to the observations of the Researcher Rahgu by Director Murugadoss are expected to be available soon.

It is notable that there have been many comments on the screenplay of the film ‘7th Sense’./ “Ezham Arivu”.

Such contrtoversies and comments will make the film more and more popular.

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One Response to "Are the Life and Death of Bodhidharma in the Tamil Film “Ezham Arivu” Historically Incorrect ?"

  1. Till now, no one are aware of Bodhidharma.The Picture "Ezham Arivu", brought awareness in the public, that a person Bodhidharma used to be there and is an Indian.The historical,founders whom ever, they may know better than what the director knows or shown,but did they tried to spread the greatness of Bodhidharma till now.."NO".May be director would have shown wrong,agree its wrong.But, he made me proud to be an Indian. Thankful to the director for choosing such a subject. Jai Hind.

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