Calligraphy on silk, repaired and re-mounted with silk brocade from a formal sari.

I used sections of the sari’s border at the top and bottom of the artwork in place of a more traditional ichimonji brocade strip.

Is Not Mind

“Gendō” signature of Yamaguchi Gendō

山口玄洞

The characters in this piece are FU ZE SHIN ”Is Not Mind”—from a collection of Zen koans called The Gateless Gate.

Case no. 27 Nansen’s No Mind, No Buddha

 A monk asked Nansen, “Is there any teaching never before revealed?”

Nansen replied, “There is.”

“What is it?,” asked the monk.

“It is not mind; it is not Buddha; it is not things.”

無門関第二十七則「不是心佛」(ふぜしんぶつ)

scroll 15.75 x 69 in.

I found this scroll in terrible condition. The silk of the painting had detached from the backing, and the mounting silk was in tatters. But the calligraphy itself was so striking, I decided to try to remount it.

The man who brushed this was Yamaguchi Gendō (1863-1937) a wealthy industrialist, philanthropist, and tea adept, who also supported the Zen temple Daitokuji, where he is buried.