Wall-Gazing Daruma by Daikō Sōgen (大綱宗彦, 1772-1860)

K065: Wall-Gazing Daruma by Daikō Sōgen (大綱宗彦, 1772-1860)

menpeki no
soshi no sugata wa
yamashiro no
koma no uri no
niru ka nasubi ka
The form of the wall-gazing Grand Patriarch—
Doesn’t it resemble a tasty melon or
Eggplant of Yamashiro District?
Respectfully brushed by 79 year-old Daikō
	似 	山	面
	か	し	壁
	な 	ろ	乃
	す 	の	祖
七	比 	こ	師
十 	可	ま	の
九 		の	す
大 		宇	可
綱		里	多
拝 		の	ハ

This delightful piece, graced with Zen humor, depicts Bodhidharma, the Grand Patriarch of Zen, facing the wall of his cave as he contemplates the Absolute. The inscription, however, brings the loftiness of Buddhist meditation down to earth: “Daruma from behind looks like one of the big melons or eggplants grown in Yamashiro.” In other words, do not focus exclusively on the Grand Patriarch’s form—take the tasty inner core of his teaching, not the skin. Further, if sitting still is all there is to Zen, eggplants and melons have it made as Zen masters. Daikō, a Daitoku-ji abbot, was a poet, calligrapher, and master of the tea ceremony.