Art Of Buddhism and Shintoism sharing the same Japanese Tree

Art Of Buddhism and Shintoism sharing the same Japanese Tree

Unlike the Islamist sword that cut down the tree of Buddhism and Hinduism in Afghanistan and other parts of Asia, the faiths and philosophies of Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism have impacted greatly on Japan. Of course, the impact of all four had golden periods. Hence, while Confucianism and Taoism remain embedded in various areas of Japanese culture to varying degrees, it is Buddhism and Shintoism that remains firmly in the mindset.

In the latest art piece by the contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi, she reflects and deflects the reality of nature in various ways. On the one hand, the holy men walking towards a temple and shrine highlight the Buddhist and Shinto theme. However, the natural angle is based on reflecting reality.

For example, rather than heavy snow on the mountaintop, the snow is thicker on lowland areas. Equally, the adorable pink tree in the middle of the Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine is more akin to a warmer climate and different season. Likewise, the misty lowland scene and lovely blue skyline are meant to resemble the fusions and confusions of life.

Nichiren, one of the most famous holy Buddhist teachers from the land of the rising sun, uttered, “Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds.”

Likewise, despite the climatic conditions and skyline of Utsumi’s art piece appearing outside the norm of nature, the holy men of Buddhism and Shintoism remain unbending. Similarly, the attitude of Utsumi towards art neither craves recognition or material gain. Therefore, the spirit of the kami flows naturally between European and Japanese themes for Utsumi; the upshot is that chaos and conformity are just nuances to be expressed and manipulated.

Overall, the art piece titledArt Of Buddhism and Shintoism sharing the same Japanese Tree,” is not only extremely beautiful to the eye, but it is also aesthetically appealing based on the chaos theory. Yet, while the chaos theory exists the beauty of Utsumi is that continuity is equally important. This is based on Buddhism and Shintoism that flows naturally in Japan, even if the words and edicts are vague to non-existent depending on applying to each respective faith.

Written by Lee Jay Walker

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

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

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/art-of-japan-and-the-two-paths-of-shintoism-and-buddhism-holy-men-in-the-snow-without-abraham-sawako-utsumi.html Art of Japan and the Two Paths of Shintoism and Buddhism: Holy Men in the Snow without Abraham

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/art-of-buddhism-and-shintoism-and-two-paths-in-the-snow-sawako-utsumi.html Art of Buddhism and Shintoism and Two Paths in the Snow

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/buddhist-cleric-nichiren-in-exile-and-homage-to-yoshitoshi-sawako-utsumi.html Buddhist 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

http://sawakoart.com

Japan Artist and Nichiren the Buddhist Preacher: Trilogy of Exile in the Snow on Sado Island

Japan Artist and Nichiren the Buddhist Preacher: Trilogy of Exile in the Snow on Sado Island

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

nichiren-trilogy

Nichiren (1222-1282) is one of the most famous Buddhist teachers to emanate from Japan. Yet, he was very outspoken during his lifetime and this led him to be exiled and embroiled in the political processes of his day – irrespective if intended or unintended. Therefore, the contemporary Japanese artist Sawako Utsumi focuses on a trilogy of Nichiren during his exile on Sado Island.

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The wintry theme of the trilogy is meant to endorse the harshness of Nichiren’s exile. Despite this, it is clear that the first art piece is based on serenity and peaceful contemplation. Intriguingly, the second art piece focuses on the start of his bleak journey but solace can be seen in the background based on prior human contact. However, the third art piece depicts Nichiren against the harsh and bleak wintry conditions of Sado Island, whereby his exile looks treacherous.

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Yet, if you go back to the first art piece titled Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in Exile and Homage to Yoshitoshi, then clearly Nichiren is at peace in the mountains. Hence, the second art piece titled Exiled Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in the Snow and the third art piece of the trilogy titled Buddhist Cleric Nichiren and Bleak Winter in Exile, are actually in the wrong order. This is based on Utsumi focusing on reality and unreality alongside the actualities of life itself. After all, often moving forward becomes firmly based on taking a backward step because the smaller things in life are now being negated based on greater ambitions. Indeed, many a politician, for example, succumbed to power and wealth – similarly, many families and friends become torn apart – or soon to be mere shadows – based on the natural causes and effects of capitalism, modernity, new relationships, and so forth.

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Turning back to Nichiren, then I state in a past article that, “Nichiren, himself, was very independent because he believed firmly that the true path lay within his teachings based on his knowledge of the written word. This holy Buddhist cleric made many enemies based on rebuking other Buddhist schools of thought. Yet, passion, the search for truth, questioning concepts deemed false, challenging authority, equally adhered people to Nichiren.”

nichiren12

The Buddhist teacher Nichiren said, “Worthy persons deserve to be called so because they are not carried away by the eight winds: prosperity, decline, disgrace, honor, praise, censure, suffering, and pleasure. They are neither elated by prosperity nor grieved by decline. The heavenly gods will surely protect one who is unbending before the eight winds.”

nichiren11

In the trilogy by Utsumi, her focus is on “the seen” and “unseen.” Likewise, the time of life is not based on natural phenomenon but the spirituality of Nichiren. Hence, the timeline is incorrect because like wisdom, knowledge, virtue, and other noble ideas, then these can come and flow from all individuals at such a short notice. In other words, many a bad person did good things – and many a good person did evil, and so forth. Therefore, moments in time, perceptions, cultural aspects to individuals, and other important areas, are really illusionary based on the multi-dimensions of this world.

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Overall, Utsumi, in her trilogy of Nichiren and his exile on the beautiful island of Sado Island, is based on a complex approach to what is deemed to be the reality of life. Also, and especially powerful, even when a person is abandoned it doesn’t mean that weakness and decline will follow. Therefore, the wintry theme and the trilogy of her art pieces are focused on many dimensions that will have different meanings to the respective viewer of her art.

Lee Jay Walker

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

sawako-book-3

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

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.html Buddhist 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

http://sawakoart.com

 

Japanese Artist and Nichiren Buddhism: Exile in the Snow on Sado Island

Japanese Artist and Nichiren Buddhism: Exile in the Snow on Sado Island

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

nichiren-9-1 

The Buddhist holy man called Nichiren (1222-1282) was exiled to Sado Island in his native Japan. This reality was extremely harsh for Nichiren and his followers feared for him. However, Nichiren had faced even worse situations because he faced death based on political intrigues against him. Therefore, true to the nature of Nichiren, his exile to Sado Island created even more noble ways and deepened his spirituality to an even higher level.

Sawako Utsumi, a contemporary artist who hails from northern Japan, not surprisingly is intrigued by the historical legacy of Nichiren – and the reality of exile to Sado Island. Similarly, the landscape of Sado Island and the bleakness of winter appeals to this modern Japanese artist who adores landscape art. Intriguingly, the artist is more in tune to Shintoism, while ancestors will be a mixture of both faiths. After all, the fusions of Buddhism and the Shinto faith dot the landscape and the mindset of this nation despite the impact of secularism and modernization.

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Nichiren, himself, was very independent because he believed firmly that the true path lay within his teachings based on his knowledge of the written word. This holy Buddhist cleric made many enemies based on rebuking other Buddhist schools of thought. Yet, passion, the search for truth, questioning concepts deemed false, challenging authority, equally adhered people to Nichiren.

nichiren11

Nichiren said, When a tree has been transplanted, though fierce winds may blow, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up.  But even a tree that has grown up in place may fall over if its roots are weak.  Even a feeble person will not stumble if those supporting him are strong, but a person of considerable strength, when alone, may fall down on an uneven path.”

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Utsumi, in her art pieces titled Exiled Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in the Snow and Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in Exile and Homage to Yoshitoshi, shows two completely different situations. The similar themes apply to isolation, the bleakness of nature, wintry conditions, and powerful landscapes that depict the exile of Nichiren. However, one art piece focuses on Nichiren in contemplation and feeling secure despite the wintry conditions he faces. Alternatively, the other art piece shows the brutal reality of the harshness of his exile during the severity of winter.

Therefore, the meaning of both, according to Utsumi, is the many different realities that we face in this lifetime despite much appearing the same. Once more, Utsumi is highlighting the mirage of past artists – while, at the same time, creating new intricacies based on her own stunning art.

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Nichiren said, “If one lights a fire for others, one will brighten one’s own way.”

Alluding to both art pieces by Utsumi highlighted in this article, then the fire of art was lit by others. However, Utsumi brightens up the originals by playing on artistic and philosophical themes that are not easy to comprehend from the naked eye!

Lee Jay Walker

BELOW IS A NEW BOOK BASED ON THE ART OF SAWAKO UTSUMI

sawako-book-3

Book Review: Sawako Utsumi and her Kindred Spirit

European and Japanese Art: Buddhism, Christianity, Landscapes, Rinpa, Shintoism, Ukiyo-e, and Dutch Masters

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.html Buddhist Cleric Nichiren in Exile and Homage to Yoshitoshi

http://sawakoart.com