Hakuin Ekaku ( Japanese, 1685 - 1768 )

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General Description

Daruma, the semi-legendary founder of Zen Buddhism, was among Hakuin's favored subjects, particularly as he is represented here, with a large head, intense gaze, and calligraphic stroke indicating his robe. The calligraphy above his head quotes the last stanza of a poem attributed to Daruma, but most likely from Tang dynasty China (618-906 C.E.), which summarizes an important principle of Zen:

A special transmission outside the scriptures;

No dependence upon words or letters;

Directly pointing at the mind of man;

Seeing into his own nature, man attains Buddhahood

Drawn from

  • "Daruma," DMA Connect, 2012.
  • "Bodhidharma," in Song of the Brush: Japanese Paintings from the Sanso Collection, ed. John M. Rosenfield (Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1979), no. 29.