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Hakuin: The sight of one hand clapping (The Japan Times)

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Writer admin Date18 Jan 2013 Read17,826 Comment0


Hakuin: The sight of one hand clapping
From The Japan Times -This has been modified to suit the readers
Most people know the famous riddle, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" Many are also aware that it is connected with Zen Buddhism, and some will even know that it is a famous koan by the 18th-century monk Hakuin.


A koan, of course, is a paradoxical parable or query used in Zen, Chan, and Seon Buddhism to elicit enlightenment. One of the interesting aspects of this famous koan is that it raises the question of what the other hand — presumably that of Hakuin himself — is doing, which is appropriate, because Hakuin more than perhaps any other famous Zen master had a dual approach to Buddhism.
On the one hand there was his meditation and thought, expressed in his koans and other writings, while on the other there was his art, now the subject of "Hakuin: The Hidden Messages of Zen Art" at Bunkamura, The Museum, in Tokyo.
The exhibition brings together more than 100 works, mainly ink paintings, created by the monk throughout his life — he died on Jan. 18, 1768, aged 81. For this reason, it is possible to read the exhibition as the story of his spiritual development from a cocky young monk, rather self-consciously proud of his earliest experiences of satori (spiritual awakening), to the rather self-deprecating, comical and much-loved figure depicted in the self-portrait "Busy Busy Beggar." This lacks a precise date, like most of the works in the exhibition, but is obviously from later in his life.
It is also possible to view the exhibition in a nonlinear, nonchronological way. One of the aims of Zen Buddhism is the attainment of a state of consciousness outside the temporal and causal flow. There is plenty of scope for this in Hakuin’s art because his pictorial subjects cover a wide range of subjects, each one of which can be taken as symbolic of timeless aspects of creation and existence...

To read more please visit the original website http://www.topix.com/religion/buddhism/2013/01/hakuin-the-sight-of-one-hand-clapping

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