Japan art and Buddhism: Desolate mountains and monks
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The gifted contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi often focuses on the desolation of the mountain landscape along with angles of Buddhism and Shintoism. In this article, the focus is on Buddhism, nature, and holy monks.
In the art piece below titled “The desolate Japanese Buddhist path,” the power of nature and the backdrop of Buddhism fuse naturally. Even in the vastness of nature – where solitude abounds – the Buddhist temple is a reminder that a spiritual dimension exists in this confusing world. Therefore, despite the desolate path ahead and the magnitude of nature – along with the struggle to survive a bleak winter – the sanctuary of Buddhism persists.
Utsumi is more akin to Shintoism. However, she visits Buddhist temples – and prays naturally – concerning the religious fusions that exist in her native country. Also, during times of despair – from ill-health to psychological issues – the role of Buddhist temples on the psyche remains strong in many parts of the country irrespective if individuals follow Buddhism, Shintoism, a fusion of both, or are secular.
Nichiren, the Holy Buddhist monk, said, “Never let life’s hardship disturb you. No one can avoid problems, not even saints or sages.”
In “The desolate Japanese Buddhist path” art piece, the above quote by Nichiren is extremely apt. Desolation and fear enter the senses naturally – from the death of a loved one to hearing about tragic health news – or loving someone so much but then being rejected. Therefore, despite the vastness of nature in this art piece – along with the bleak winter: the holy Buddhist temple is a reminder that the bigger world exists.
In the alternative version of this art piece – and within the concept of Buddhism and finding your own path – it could be that the individual finds solace in such a lovely landscape. Hence, the desolate backdrop – and the distant Buddhist temple might now be rarely used for worship – but solace now brings eternal hope through the prism of the bleakness of nature and spirituality.
http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sawako-utsumi.html – Sawako Utsumi and where you can buy her art, postcards, bags, and other products. Also, individuals can contact her for individual requests.
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