K216 Kannon Painting and Heart Sutra by Takeda Mokurai 竹田黙雷

Heart Sutra brushed in seal script*

(signed) Respectfully brushed by Higashiyama Sahen** Mokurai

** “Higashiyama” refers to the temple Kennin-ji (建仁寺) in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto. Mokurai’s monastic name was Sahentei (左邉亭).

  實三有集声空厄摩
  不菩恐滅香相舎訶
  虚提怖道味不利般
  故故遠無触生子若
  説知離知法不色波
  般般一亦無滅不羅
  若若切無眼不異蜜
  波波顛得界垢空多
  羅羅倒以乃不々心
  蜜蜜夢無至浄不経
  多多想所無不異観
東 呪是究得意増色自
山 即大竟故識不々在
左 説神涅菩界減即菩
邉 呪呪般提無是是薩
黙 曰是三薩々故空行
雷 羯大世埵明空々深
敬 諦明諸依亦中即般
寫 羯呪佛般無無是若
  諦是依若々色色波
  波無般波明無受羅
  羅上若羅尽受想蜜
  羯呪波蜜乃想行多
  諦是羅多至行識時
  波無蜜故無識亦照
  羅等多心老無復見
  僧々故無死眼如五
  羯呪得罜亦耳是薀
  諦能阿碍無鼻舎皆
  菩除耨無老舌利空
  提一多罜死身子渡
  薩切羅碍尽意是一
  姿苦三故無無諸切
  訶真藐無苦色法苦

Takeda Mokurai (竹田黙雷, 1854-1930)
K216 hanging scroll, sumi on silk 126.4 cm × 39.4 cm.

 

This is an exceptional piece of art, from both the aesthetic and Zen points of view. The painting of Kannon is remarkably feminine and beautiful, perfectly composed in all aspects. Although the abbot Mokurai had very little direct contact with women, here he captures the essence of female Buddha-nature. Kannon is depicted in quiet meditation, simply adorned, seated on a carpet of grass, and perfectly centered in the composition The inscription is brushed in elegant and creative archaic seal script, the mark of a true master of Asian calligraphy. Mokurai obviously took great care with this painting and inscription It ranks among the finest Zenga he produced.