K544 Grasshopper Enso by Asano Shun’ō

koe hazuredomo sugata wa mienuzu wa kusakiri no kirigirisu

You can hear the chirps
but you can’t see
the grasshoppers
in the grass

(signed) Shun’ō

春翁
切のきす々り
へぬ主は草
ども姿は見
声はすれ
Asano Shun’ō (朝野春翁, d. 1980)
K544 hanging scroll, sumi on paper 38.2 cm × 21.0 cm.

The inscription is a line from a popular folk song. From the Zen perspective, enlightenment is always speaking to us, but when we try to see it in a concrete form, it cannot be found. Enlightenment is hidden away so deeply behind the tangled vines and thick weeds of our mind that we need a real effort to hack through that heavy under brush, and even then we have trouble finding it.