Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spot of Ink

"Ichu was a famous painter and Zen teacher. One day Nambutzu, a great warrior, came to see him and asked whether he could paint the fragrance described in a famous line of poetry: "After walking through the flowers, the horse's hoof is fragrant." Ichu drew a horse's hoof with a butterfly fluttering around it. Then Nambutzu quoted the line, "Spring breeze over the river bank," and asked for a picture of the breeze. Ichu drew a branch of waving willow. Nambutzu cited the famous Zen phrase, "A finger directly pointing to the human mind; see the nature to be Buddha," and asked for a picture of the mind. Ichu picked up the brush and flicked a spot of ink onto Nambutzu's face. Nambutzu was surprised and annoyed; Ichu rapidly sketched his angry face. Nambutzu then asked for a picture of the nature. Ichu broke the brush. Nambutzu didn't understand, and Ichu remarked, "If you haven't got the seeing eye, you can't see it." Nambutzu asked him to take another brush and paint a picture of the nature. Ichu replied, "Show me your nature and I'll paint it." Nambutzu had no words."

- John Daido Loori
The Eight Gates of Zen


bulletholes said...

Coolest work I've ever seen! Bronze?
Makes me go cross-eyed!

huckleberry said...

While I'm certain there's a lesson I can take away from this, it bears pointing out that I'm far too lazy for enlightenment...