Art of Japan and the two paths of Buddhism and Shintoism: Faith in the snow without Abraham

Art of Japan and the two paths of Buddhism and Shintoism: Faith in the snow without Abraham

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The latest art piece by Sawako Utsumi, a contemporary Japanese artist who hails from Northern Japan, utilizes the snowy landscape by highlighting the respective strengths of Buddhism and Shintoism despite terrible adversity. Of course, the adversity applies to the terrible weather conditions faced by the holy men of Buddhism and Shintoism in this art piece. However, on a bigger nuance, then it applies to certain international events that have decimated Buddhism and Traditional Beliefs throughout history – and is still happening today.

Before focusing on the bigger picture, the art piece itself titled “Art of Buddhism and Shintoism and Two Paths in the Snow,” is an adorable piece of art by Utsumi. This is based on the amazing landscape, the three holy men of Buddhism and Shintoism, the terrible winter conditions, the power of faith, and the distant Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine.

Indeed, the combined forces of religious faith, the bleakness of winter, and the amazing landscape illuminates the art piece because you feel dragged inside. Hence, a certain shrill of coldness is followed by deep admiration along with a yearning to feel the same certainty in this life.

Of course, the bigger picture relates to the crushing of Buddhism in history and the ongoing struggle of this faith in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Ladakh, Rakhine, Tibet, and other parts of the world, where Buddhism is threatened. Equally disturbing, even the historical legacy of Buddhism is being erased by Sunni Islamist forces in Afghanistan and further afield. Likewise, many Traditional Beliefs are still under threat from Christianity and Islam respectively – from small tribes in Brazil to tribes in Indonesia. Therefore, the beacon of the indigenous faith of Shintoism still shines brightly and this says much for Buddhism that did not seek to devour the indigenous faith – unlike the historical reality of Christian and Muslim forces throughout history that erased the past.

Overall, a stunning art piece by Utsumi that shows that two religious paths can co-exist naturally without seeking to crush and humiliate the other. Of course, this is a million miles from the two Abrahamic faiths of Christianity and Islam in history that sought to devour and control by endless power mechanisms.


Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters – Please click on to order the book. Art of Buddhism and Shintoism and Two Paths in the Snow – Exiled Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in the Snow Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in Exile and Homage to Yoshitoshi Buddhist Cleric Nichiren and Bleak Winter in Exile


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