A Jumble of Hakuin!
The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and Calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin is now showing at the Japan Society Gallery at 333 East 47th Street in New York City.
If you are not usually a traveler into the City, this exhibition makes it all worthwhile.
We were lucky to go on a recent Saturday morning and had the entire Gallery to ourselves! What a treat.
Here at every turn, one discovers gorgeous scrolls with Hakuin's brilliant, ordinary, humorous and grand ink drawings, sometimes inscribed with bold calligraphy, sometimes with lovely meandering lines, other times ink marks that seemed to shout over the rooftops--Here Is The Dharma!
All of the movement, with simple, spare mark making, all of the faces animated with humor and light, foxes cavorting in their wily trickster ways, rats dressed and bowing in rich black robes with their rakusus, and the ever present Bodhidharma, eye lids flung to the ground in his attempted to stay wide awake during his nine years facing the wall of his cave in meditation! All are here.
The little wren on the spoon handle made me cry; everyone's voice is the Buddha's voice, even the humble wren's. And this is Hakuin's point over and over again--the Buddhadharma permeates all, without judgement, without any holding back, we are all simply awash in the Unborn.
But my words don't do any justice to what awaits you, just see for yourself, and please allow a few hours to simply be with the work--all sorts of places will open for you!
When you understand how to stop, you are stable.
When you are stable, then your mind can be still.
Stillness is the one word necessary to know how to pass
through the barrier.
The ultimate difficulty is to penetrate this one teaching.
The first two lines of this phrase are from the Confucian The Great Learning (Tahsueh)