K148 Myō in Hot Pursuit of the Sixth Patriarch by Ōnishi Ryōkei 大西良慶

When asked, “What is your original face?” [by the Sixth Patriarch]
Myō was enlightened and bowed.

Painting and inscription by Ryōkei

良慶併題
腰をおり
問者連天道明
面目と
本来能
Ōnishi Ryōkei (大西良慶, 1875-1983)
K148 hanging scroll, sumi on paper 128.0 cm × 34.2 cm.

 

This Zenga is an illustration of another event that is described in the “Personal History” section of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch and in Case 23 of the Mumonkan. Following the secret transmission of the robe and begging bowl from the Fifth Patriarch to Enō, thus making him the Sixth Patriarch, the Fifth Patriarch advised Enō to hide out in the southern mountains for a time because he knew his other disciples would be jealous and try to steal the robe and bowl. And indeed a posse of monks set out after Enō, with rough-and-tumble former four-star general Myō (明, Ming) in the lead, the scene depicted here. Myō caught up with Enō but he was unable to lift the bowl or robe that had been placed on a rock by Enō. Myō realized that the teaching was more important than the physical objects and asked Enō to teach him. When Enō asked Myō, “What is your original face?” Myō was enlightened and bowed deeply.