Hakuin painted pictures of Daruma (Bodhidharma) throughout his life as a teacher. His style developed over these years becoming more individual in expression and bolder in setting up the 28th Patriarch as a foil for our efforts at attaining enlightenment. Daruma appears in Hakuin’s paintings as formal, stern, piercing, and simply a brushstroke. Each in turn gives us a taste of our practice and challenges us to push the edge. Along with using Daruma to give us a visual map of our quest, Hakuin never missed the opportunity to pull that visual aide out from under our feet. He reminds us that even the contruction of constructing Daruma is material for practice.
I have painted several thousand Darumas, yet have never depicted his face. This is only natural, for the moment I spread the paper to draw it, the original form disappears.
All of you, what is this Daruma that cannot be drawn? (pg. 97)
Thank you for practising,
Remember the Hakuin exhibition at the Japan Society in New York and other venues!
Is that “foil” or “fail?”
I’m thinking the latter…