Sesshū Tōyō’s Huike and Bodhidharma ink painting

"Huike Offering His Arm to Bodhidharma" by Sesshū Tōyō

Huike was a disciple of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. While Bodhidharma was practicing zazen facing on the wall at Shorinji Temple, Huike asked him to be his disciple but was not allowed. To show his determination, Huike cut off the left hand. Bodhidharma finally approved to accept him to learn Zen Buddhism. 

In order to represent the strict world of Zen, Sesshū Tōyō (1420-1506) used an unusual expression. The rocks surrounding them are drawn with thick and hard lines to show their will. The cut-out hand, their imminent appearance and sharp eyes are shining exceptionally in the cave. While being silent, it is filled with tremendous pressure and contains dynamic energy.

Title: Huike Offering His Arm to Bodhidharma

Author: Sesshū Tōyō

Year: 1496

Size: 199.9×113.6cm

Own: Sainenji Temple

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