The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

According to the story, when the painter Toyo Sesshu (1420-1506) served as a novice at Hofuku-ji, he had little interest in temple duties or practice, instead preferring to paint. One day, the Zen master of the temple took young Sesshu into one of the temple halls and tied him to a large pillar as punishment for neglecting his temple duties.  When the master returned later in the day, he found Sesshu crying, with a mouse at his feet.  The master assumed Sesshu was crying because of the mouse, so he stepped forward to shoo the mouse away.
As he moved closer, however, he realized that the mouse was not real;  Sesshu had painted it on the floor with his tears.  At this realization, the master understood Sesshu's true calling, and allowed him to pursue his painting freely.
The temple has since been associated with mice and, as a result, the Zen masters who have resided there have traditionally painted them.

from Enso: Zen Circles of Enlightenment by Audrey Yoshiko Seo

for my beautiful Alexandra, who understands what it means to be between a rock and hard place....