Zen / Mahayana
The Mahayana tradition of Buddhism, of which Zen is an important expression (along with Chinese Chan and Korean Soen), arose sometime around the first century C.E. in South India and spread throughout Asia. It is characterized by the ideal of the bodhisattva: the compassionate being whose desire for enlightenment isn’t an individual quest but includes all other sentient beings as well.
Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1768) is one of the most influential figures in the history of Zen. He can be considered the founder of the modern Japanese Rinzai tradition, for which he famously emphasized the importance of koan practice in awakening, and he revitalized the monastic life of his day. But his teaching was by no means limited to monastery or temple. Hakuin was the quintessential Zen master of the people, renowned… Read More
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The ensō is one of the most prevalent images of Zen art, and it has become a kind of symbol of the clean and strong Japanese aesthetic. It has been subject to a rich variety of interpretations—seen as everything from a rice cake to a symbol of infinity. But regardless of how it is understood, the ensō is above all an expression of the mind of the artist who brushes… Read More