K153 Vast Emptiness Nothing Holy Daruma by Kobori Myōdō Sōin 小堀明堂宗印

Vast Emptiness, Nothing Holy!

(signed) Murasakino* Myōdō

Kobori Myōdō Sōin (小堀明堂宗印, 20th century)
K153 hanging scroll, sumi on paper 31.7 cm × 41.5 cm.


* Another name for Daitoku-ji.

The inscription is Daruma’s reply to the Chinese Emperor Wu’s question: “What is the first principle of Buddhism?” All things are inherently empty, and Zen transcends sacred and profane. This painting is a truly delightful portrayal of Zen Buddhist truth.
Even though Bodhidharma’s message is profound as can be, this Zenga portrays the Patriarch as a roly-poly doll, formed with a minimum of strokes. Buddhism is serious business—a matter of life and death—but that does not make it gloomy.