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The Sound of One Hand: Reaching Beyond the limits of Traditional Ink Painting

Friday, October 29, 2010


Hakuin ~ Zen Master
Contemplating 'The Sound of One Hand'

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

So asked Hakuin, the author of this well known Zen
koan. Hakuin was one of the most important Japanese Zen masters of the Rinzai school. Hakuin often asked his students to contemplate and meditate on this koan. Hakuin Ekaku (白隠 慧鶴, 1686–1769 or 1685–1768) was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism.

Much of Hakuin's practice focused, as his teachings did, on zazen and koan practice. His motto was "meditation in the midst of activity is a thousand times superior to meditation in stillness". Hakuin's experiences of enlightenment seemed to come at unexpected moments, often when he was just walking or reading. One experience that he wrote about took place while he was walking through a torrential rain. As the water reached his knees, he suddenly realized the meaning of a particular verse that he had read earlier, and was seized by enlightenment. He had many such experiences, both large and small. Laughter was a large part of Hakuin's reaction to his enlightenments, and he was known to burst into spontaneous laughter upon realizing the essence of a particular koan, causing those around him to believe him to be a madman.

My heartfelt mission is to tell everyone on the planet that there is hope and life after stroke or any traumatic life-altering experience. I want to inspire others not only with my words but also with my art. Hakuin asked this question: 'What is the sound of one hand clapping?'. Could it be painting in wild abandon with your non-dominate hand? Creating 'The Sound of One Hand'?

Click Here to read my story and view 'The Sound of One Hand'.

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