K538 Namu Amida Butsu by Nakahara Nantenbō 中原南天棒

HAIL TO AMIDA BUDDHA
(signed) The 85-year-old fellow Nantenbō Tōjū.
八十五翁南天棒鄧州
南無阿弥陀佛
Nakahara Nantenbō (中原南天棒,1839-1925)
K538 hanging scroll, sumi on paper 129.6 cm × 35.8 cm.

Amida is the Buddha that vows to save every human being. Namu Amida Butsu expresses the conviction that Amida will not turn anyone away from rebirth in his Pure Land. The simple faith of Pure Land Buddhism (“Other Power”) seems to be the exact opposite of pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps Zen Buddhism (“Self Power”) but in fact they are simply different approaches to the same goal—awakening to the Buddha Mind. In this calligraphy, the rough and tumble Zen Master Nantenbō shows his respect for the gentle path of Pure Land Buddhists.