<- Back Home

click image to enlarge

Gempô Sôhan (Shôun) (1848-1922)
One-stroke Daruma facing the wall
Seals: Shôun & Ko gen ka ichi
Technique: sumi on paper 132,5 x 32,4
Mounting: grey crushed paper
wooden rollers, 196 x 34,4
Condition: very good

The kôan, a haiku, reads: Menpeki no ushiro sugata ya haru no hana

The old wall gazer’s form
Seen from behind -
Flowers in springtime.

Compare Seo, The Art of Twentieth-Century Zen, Boston, London 1998, plate 41-42, cat. 20-42

Sôhan Gempô was the eldest son of a Shinto priest in Ishikawa Komatsu. At the age of twelve he became a monk at the Kôgen-ji in Kanazawa. He entered the Empuku-ji at Kyoto in 1880 where he studied under the priest Kasan Zenryô (1824-93). After he had received the kôan: ‘The single hand at Mount Fuji’s summit’ from Kasan, Shôun climbed mount Fuji seven times to penetrate its meaning. He left the Empuku-ji and went to Dôrin-ji in Tokyo to study under Nantembô (1839-1925) from whom he received his inka. He returned to Kasan to complete his studies and after Kasan’s death and he moved on to Kenshô-ji in Kumamoto. In 1898 he was invited to return to the Empuku-ji to train monks in the sôdô, training hall. In 1901 he traveled to China after which he asked Nantembô to take over the training hall. In 1908 Gempô became 486th generation kanchô (chief abbot) of the Daitoku-ji in Kyoto until his death in 1922.

Seo pp. 84 ff
Moog p. 440