Chan / Seon / Zen

Zen Sickness, by Zen Master Hakuin

Afterwards, however, as I began reflecting upon my everyday behaviour, I could see that the two aspects of my life—the active and the meditative—were totally out of balance. No matter what I was doing, I never felt free or completely at ease. I realised I would have to rekindle a fearless resolve and once again throw myself life and limb together into the Dharma struggle…

Shakyamuni and Attendant Bodhisattvas

The intimate scale, informality of the figures’ poses, and landscape setting link the painting to Chan-style depictions of Shakyamuni — the human origin of the Buddha — as an ascetic descending from the mountains just prior to achieving Buddhahood…

A taste of Zen: Heze Shenhui

Shenhui thus founded what became known as the Heze (in Japanese, Kataku) school of Zen. The branch largely died out during the early ninth century and is not remembered as a major school. Nevertheless, the doctrine of sudden enlightenment remained a central characteristic that defined the teaching styles and cultural flavour of later Chinese Zen…

Virtue, Calligraphy by Hakuin

This oversize rendition of the character for “virtue” (toku 悳) reflects the exuberant spiritual energy projected by Hakuin Ekaku, who was one of the foremost proponents of the revival of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism in late Edo Japan. Originally composed by Chinese historian and scholar of Confucianism Sima Guang (1018–1086), the inscription reads:

Time to Learn

A young Buddhist monk approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master: ‘If I meditate very diligently how long will it take for me to become enlightened?’