Hotei’s sack encompasses the Great Emptiness


Image: © Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The inscription is excerpted from a eulogy for Budai by the Song-dynasty Daoist master Bai Yuchan (1194–1229), who integrated Chan (Zen) teachings of enlightenment into his philosophy. The inscription was transcribed in bold, cursive, and highly expressive calligraphy by Tetsuzan Sōdon, a leading Zen monk-scholar who served as an abbot of Myōshinji in Kyoto.

The inscription reads:

Hotei’s sack encompasses the Great Emptiness.
Holding a staff, he tramps around 3,000 worlds.
Miroku claps his hands, and laughs—ha, ha!
The bright moon shines, the wind disappears . . .

The above poem is by the master
of Sanyian Monastery,
brushed by Tetsuzan Sōdonsai, aged 85,
at Dairyū in Temple in Kyoto.

—Trans. John T. Carpenter

Categories: Everyday Buddhist, Golden Buddha Centre

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