I might be repeating myself, but let me make it clear that Bodhidharma brought the Mind principle (dharma) to China. This was the sole reason for his long trip. China was ripe for the transmission of this Mind principle. According to Zen master Zongmi (Tsung-mi) Bodhidharma said: “My dharma is a Mind-to-Mind transmission, no involvement with the written word.” We could say that Bodhidharma came bearing a mystical principle rather than bringing Sutras and treatises with him.
This Mind that Bodhidharma brought to China can be called Bodhi Mind, Buddha-nature, and many other names. Awakening to it was all important. If anyone in China could awaken to this Mind, Bodhidharma’s long trip, we could say, was successful.
According to Zen master Zongmi, “If you desire to seek the buddha path, then you must awaken to this mind” (Broughton, Zongmi on Chan, p. 75). Hopefully, all Zen masters have awakened to this Bodhi Mind that Bodhidharma taught. But it is very doubtful that all have—this is wishful thinking. What has more than likely been transmitted is an interpretation of this Mind principle or what someone imagines Zen is (e.g., Zen is about sitting). Because Mind has not been successfully passed down from Bodhidharma to the present, there comes to be many different kinds of Zen—each one in conflict with another at times.
In modern times, what ever sells, so to speak, becomes Zen. It might be easier to market the practice of seated meditation or zazen than teaching awakening to the Mind principle that Bodhidharma transmitted. Teaching zazen as Zen makes more sense if you have a temple in America or Europe. At this point is where Zen must, from time to time, be critiqued calling into question those various modern Zen teachings that do not teach the Mind principle as being primary. To be s ure, Zen is not some kind of special out-patient therapy for people with difficult-to-handle mental problems. It is really meant for those who wish to realize what Bodhidharma transmitted to his first Chinese disciples. Only then is Zen really Zen.