These are some excerpts from The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine (North Point Press, 1987). I highly recommend the book.
First some background. Bodhidharma was born in Kanchi in the Southern Indian kingdom of Pallava around year 440. At the instruction of Prajnatara he travelled to China by ship and arrived around 475. He is associated with the Shaolin temple, and is honored as the founder of kung fu. He is also credited with bringing tea to China. He is said to have cut off his eyelids to stay awake in meditiation, and so is usually depicted with bulging eyes. He is also credited with bringing Zen to China, even though he had few disciples in his lifetime.
If you attain anything at all, it's conditional, it's karmic. It results in retribution. It turns the Wheel. As long as you're subject to birth and death, you'll never attain enlightenment. To attain enlightenment you have to see your nature. Unless you see your nature all this talk about cause and effect is nonsense. Buddhas don't practice nonsense. To say he attains anything at all is to slander a buddha. What could he possibly attain? Even focusing on a mind, a power, an understanding, or a view is impossible for a buddha. A buddha isn't one sided. The nature of his mind is basically empty, neither pure nor impure. He's free of practice and realization. He's free of cause and effect.
The mind's capacity is limitless, and its manifestations are inexhaustible. Seeing forms with your eyes, hearing sounds with your ears, smelling odors with your nose, tasting flavors with your tongue, every movement or state is all your mind. At every moment, where language can't go, that's your mind.
Whoever knows that the mind is a fiction and devoid of anything real knows that his own mind neither exists nor doesn't exist. Mortals keep creating the mind, claiming it exists. And arhats keep negating the mind, claiming it doesn't exist. But bodhisattvas and buddhas neither create nor negate the mind. This is what's meant by the mind that neither exists nor doesn't exist...
The buddha in the mind is like a fragrance in a tree. The buddha comes from a mind free of suffering, just as a fragrance comes from a tree free of decay. There's no fragrance without a tree and no buddha without the mind. If there's a fragrance without a tree it's a different fragrance. If there's a buddha without your mind, it's a different buddha.
Mortals keep creating karma and mistakenly insist there's no retribution. But can they deny suffering? Can they deny that what the present state of mind sows the next state of mind reaps? How can they escape? But if the present state of mind sows nothing the next state of mind reaps nothing. Don't misconceive karma.
[A question is asked about performing meritorious works.]
The sutras of the Buddha contain countless metaphors. Because mortals have shallow minds and don't understand anything deep, the Buddha used the tangible to represent the sublime. People who seek blessings by concentrating on external works instead of internal cultivation are attempting the impossible.