the blindest

The Sound of One Hand: Paintings and calligraphy by Zen Master Hakuin (by Audrey Yoshiko Seo and Stephen Addiss; Shambhala Press) is the companion gallery book to the Hakuin exhibition currently showing at the Japan Society in New York City.  It begins with a biography of Hakuin and then launches into the Zen Master’s wide-reaching influence on the development of Rinzai Zen in Japan.  Over the last few weeks, I’ve been devouring as many books on Hakuin as I can find.  Wild Ivy, translated beautifully by Norman Waddell, The Religious Art of Zen Master Hakuin by Katsuhiro Yoshizawa, various sections of Stephen Addiss’ voluminous works on Zen masters and their art all come together in The Sound of One Hand.  This week, I’d like to share, with little interference in or elaboration of, the gems glittering through the layers of scholarship which show off not only the Dharma but Seo and Addiss at their best.

In keeping with the season of ghosts & goblins, Hakuin’s scroll Goblin offered an insight into the bizarre logic our fears can take on.  The scroll shows a one-eyed goblin meeting a blind man who calls out:

Who’s that gr-gr-growling over there?
What?  A one-eyed goblin?
I’m not afraid of you –
Since I have no eyes at all,
You should be scared of me!

Bet you didn’t think of that.

Of course, it’s also true that there are truly scary forms of blindness beyond the literal.

Thank you for practising,


Remember the Hakuin exhibition at the Japan Society in New York and other venues!

2 thoughts on “the blindest

  1. The American baseball player, Yogi Berra, once said, “You can see a lot just by looking.”

    Which, of course, most of us don’t really want to do. No wonder we’re scary!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.