Men of Zen
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Be careful about spreading your own, innate, rare, and penetrating old wit. Stay firm instead. Hold fast to that "words don't (always) come easy".
To get penetrating in almost graphic detail can make us despised soon enough
Within the Meditation Hall
Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1769) was the most influential Zen monk of the past five hundred years. His writings are voluminous. Hakuin's calligraphy and paintings became very influential art. Hakuin introduced dozens of new subjects into Zen art. Some of these themes came from his Zen teachings, others from observation of the world around him, and still others from folklore, often invested with his own very wry humor. He was a trendsetter. [Taoz 102]
Although it is not a feature of most religions, quick, almost inpenetrable humour has long been associated with basic Zen.
Zen masters have often used brisk humour. The result of Hakuin's turning to brushwork to express his Zen vision was an avalanche of painting and calligraphy that spread his wit or genial wisdom in the world. It was profoundly influential. More than one thousand of Hakuin's works survive. [Taoz 102]
When Hakuin was seven, his mother took him to a temple where they heard some famous travelling monk give a lecture on the torments of the eight burning hells. His whole body shook with terror, and when he came home from the lecture, he determined to become a monk. [Taoz 102]
A certain medicine
Good words are not the only ways to suggest Zen
Several of the trend-setter's best known ink paintings provided fundamental allegories serving what seems like brisk humor. [Taoz 111-12]
Major subject: Daruma (Bodhisattva)
A MASS of paintings, seemingly casually depicted, was outlined and then brushed more strongly. Colour was then added, lightly but effectively. [Taoz 112]
Tenet: "A human's heart can be buddhahood inside."
Hakuin invented an amazingly wide repertory of themes, but his major subject was the first Zen patriarch, Bodhidharma (Japanese: Daruma).
Bodhidharma (Daruma) is employed as a symbol of the real Zen ado, its spirit. To the left is a Zen drawing of Daruma; its colours are a later addition (here). To the right is a drawing by Gibon Sengai (1750-1837). [Taoz 125-29]
Hakuin added his most vital message:
Pointing directly to the human heart:
One may suggest Zen through both depictions and terms. There are many other outlets too. If a Zen sitting goes well, then the heart can makes its presence strongly felt or known.
Through getting simple, intensity of mind is had. Lying contemplation can be brightness-furthering too. A result of it is roaming the streets and calling out -
Gain freedom to lie down to get brighter: the lying "sitting" is what is thought of
Little is known about Fuke (Puhua, died c. 860), the Chinese monk told of in "The Records of the Zen Master Linchi", where Fuke is admired as a free spirit:
When asked intellectual questions about Buddhism, Fuke kicked over the dinner table; when called a donkey, he brayed loudly; when scolded for his coarse behavior, he replied, "What does the Buddhist dharma have to do with coarse or fine?"
Fuke was most famous for roaming the streets ringing a small bell and calling out. One day Fuke walked around asking for a one-piece robe. He refused all offers until Lin-chi, who alone understood his request, had a coffin made for him. Fuke told the townsfolk that he was going to take the coffin to the East Gate and depart this life, but when after three days he had not done so, the people stopped paying attention. He then went to the East Gate by himself, lay down in the coffin, and asked a passerby to nail it up; when the townsfolk heard the news and came to open the coffin, it was empty. Only the sound of his bell remained, ever more faintly chiming: ding . . . ding . . . ding.
Zen principles of drawings include:
1. Unity of subject and object,
Evocative ink painting express things in ways that facts may not manage. [Taoz 35]
We may gain freedom of thought, freedom from tyrants, and in that freedom attain to delightful drawings. Some tyrants excel in playing on devotion to them.
More on Fuke and his variant of Zen
Fuke Zen was a branch of Zen Buddhism that existed in Japan from the 1200s until the late 1800s. Fuke Zen, according to some accounts, is derived from the teachings of the Chinese Zen teacher Linji Yixuan (c. 800-866), known in Japan as Rinzai Gigen. But the Fuke school counted as its founder one of Linji's contemporaries, Puhua (Fuke in Japanese). Puhua was reputedly a multi-talented monk.
Yinyuan Longqi (Japanese: Ingen Ryuki was a Chinese Linji Chan Buddhist monk, poet, and calligrapher. At the age of sixteen, Ingen decided to become a monk. Three years later, after wanderings, everything seemed in vain to him, so he entered a temple where he was given a lowly position, serving tea. He was twenty-nine years old when he was ordained a priest.
Ingen asked the Zen master Mi-yun (Japanese: Mitsuun, 1566-1642), "Please show me."
Mi-yun replied: "When you need to go someplace, go; when you want to lie down, lie down."
"What shall I do when I can't sleep at night because of the mosquitoes?" asked Ingen.
"Hit one of them," Mi-yun answered.
Seven days later Mi-yun passed by the meditation hall, and Ingen happened to glance at him. At that moment Ingen said to Mi-yun, "Now I understand what you told me."
"Show me," Mi-yun replied. Ingen gave a Zen shout, but Mi-yun repeated his request. Ingen again replied with a shout. Miyun then asked, "After several shouts, how about you?"
"This year the salt is very expensive, just like rice," Ingen answered.
"You may go now, but be careful and never obstruct people, " Mi-yun finally told him. Ingen turned impressive. Ingen fascinated. A new kind of realism was found under his patronage. [Taoz 75-79]
Putting time and effort into advancing
Advancing with consent
Ca: Chan, Wing-Tsit. A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1963.
Fdv: Dørumsgaard, Arne. Fra duggens verden. Basho i norsk gjendiktning (1644-1694). Oslo: Dreyer, 1985.
Jap: Bownas, Geoffrey, and Anthony Thwaite. Japanese Verse. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.
Jc: Chang, Jolan. Kærlighedens og seksuallivets tao. Den gamle kinesiske vej til sanselig lykke. København: Borgen, 1978.
Pap: Warnche, Carsten-Peter. Pablo Picasso 1881-1973. Edited by Ingo Walther. Vols 1-2. Køln: Benedikt Taschen, 1995.
Paz: Fromm, Erich: Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism. Unwin. London, 1986.
Taoz: Addiss, Stephen. The Art of Zen. New York: Abrams, 1980.
Tat: Waley, Arthur, tr. The Way and Its Power. A Study of the Tao the Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought. New York: Evergreen/Grove, 1958.
Tls: Chang, Jolan. The Tao of Love and Sex. London: Penguin, 1991.
Tun: Yampolsky, Philip, tr. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. The Text of the Tun-Huang Manuscript. New York: Columbia University, 1967.
Ve: Capra, Fritjof. Vendepunktet (The Turning Point). Oslo: Dreyer, 1982.
Wic: Yutang, Lin. The Wisdom of China. London: New English Library, 1963.
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