K536 Ichinen Sanzen by Ishikawa Jōzan 石川丈山

ichi
nen
san
zen
One
Thought
Three
Thousand
一念三千
Ishikawa Jōzan (石川丈山,1583-1672)
K536 hanging scroll, sumi on paper 131.1 cm × 46.3cm.



Ichinen sanzen, “One Thought Three Thousand,” is the pillar of Tendai and Zen Buddhist philosophy. Nen means “thought” in the sense of insight or perception manifest in one’s being, mentally and physically. A single profound, awakened thought allows one to perceive and experience all 3,000 realms of existence past, present, and future. Such a vision encompasses everything, from the tiniest atoms to the largest galaxies. Another interpretation is that in each thought, there are three levels: empty, provisional, and middle. Each level has a thousand dimensions, making three thousand that are linked together in one instant of thought. The calligraphy itself is a variation of the distinctive clerical style script that Jōzan perfected. The brushwork is extraordinary—bold, creative, and dynamic.

The seals, carved by Jōzan himself, are of special interest:

(top)
凹凸窠夫


六六山
ŌTOTSU SŌFU
“Master of the Tumbledown Nest”

ROKU-ROKU SANDŌ
“Mountain Cave of the 36 Poets”
(bottom)
頑仙子
GANSENSHI
“Stubborn Hermit”