Metropolitan Museum of Art

A Taste of Zen: Daju Huihai

Vinaya master Yuan asked Great Pearl, “When you practice the Way, do you use a special skill?”
Great Pearl said, “I do.”
Yuan asked, “What is it?”
Great Pearl said, “ When I’m hungry I eat. When I get sleepy I sleep.”
Yuan said, “Everyone does these things. Do they not have the same skill as you?”
Great Pearl said, “They do not have the same skill.”
Yuan said, “Why is it not the same?

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:

Two Levels of Truth, by Lama Chime Rinpoche

It is said that for the absolute, one has wisdom, and for the relative, one has compassion. After his enlightenment Buddha did not need to teach people in order for them to become essentially wiser; he did so in order to try to help people, to provide them with a means by which some of them could come to the same understanding that he had reached…