Japan art and Sado Island: Buddhist Monk Nichiren

Japan art and Sado Island: Buddhist Monk Nichiren

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Sado Island is a stunning island that attracts local Japanese tourists and Nichiren Buddhists who want to connect with this holy Buddhist monk (1222-1282). Nichiren was exiled to Sado Island because of his outspoken views and radical ideas.

Nichiren was very radical because he firmly believed that the true path lay within his teachings -concerning his knowledge of the written word. Accordingly, Nichiren made many enemies because he was outspoken and condemned other Buddhist schools of thought. However, for Nichiren, it was his passion for searching for the truth, challenging authority, and questioning concepts he deemed false. Therefore, in his worldview, he sought to free people from false constraints.

The first art piece by Kuniyoshi shows Nichiren on his way to exile on Sado Island. Kuniyoshi shows people on a small boat with all but one person fearing death because of the terrible storm.

Nichiren does not fear death. Instead, he calls to a higher power that is unseen. Accordingly, Nichiren calms the storm by saying the Lotus Sutra (Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō – Glory to the Dharma of the Lotus Sutra).

Nichiren said, “More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body. The most valuable of all are the treasures of the heart.”

The last two art pieces are by the contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi (she is also paying homage to Kuniyoshi). She highlights Nichiren in exile on Sado Island. Interestingly, in one art piece, Nichiren is braving the harsh wintery conditions and struggling to walk up the steep mountain.

However, in the other art piece, he sits calmly and focuses on Buddhism despite the wintery conditions. Therefore, collectively – in struggle or calmness – the mindset remains unhindered and focused because of the straight path of Buddhism.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/lee-jay-walker/sawako-utsumi-and-her-kindred-spirit/paperback/product-22830732.html– Please click on to order the book.

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/exiled-buddhist-cleric-nichiren-in-the-snow-sawako-utsumi.html – Exiled Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in the Snow

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/buddhist-cleric-nichiren-in-exile-and-homage-to-yoshitoshi-sawako-utsumi.htmlBuddhist Cleric Nichiren in Exile and Homage to Yoshitoshi

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/buddhist-cleric-nichiren-and-bleak-winter-in-exile-sawako-utsumi.html Buddhist Cleric Nichiren and Bleak Winter in Exile

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