Sengai Gibon: An Interconnection between Simplicity and Zen

Sengai Gibon was a Japanese monk from Edo period in 1750 until 1837. He became a head abbot of Shofuku-Ji at Hakata, North Kyushu. He was famous at that time for his Sumi-e painting; a painting that uses black ink and a brush which only high educational men can do.

He also well known for his simple life such as being compassionate, wearing black monk’s robe rather than the purple ones which showed his prestigious position, and eating from a bowl he used for begging.

His Sumi-e paintings were unlike any other paintings at that time. His paintings depicted ordinary life or “a bit out of the box”. Westerners will probably see it as a scratch only. But, who knows his paintings have hidden messages about his Zen teaching even though it is hard to understand.

Some believed simplicity he presented in a form of his paintings are a message where Zen lays in a minimalist form, a simplicity in everyday life where people sometimes look down on it but from there hidden an ultimate peace and happiness.

Let me know what you think about him in the comment section below 🙂

1.The meditating frog

2. Hotei yawning

3. The Universe

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