During Aspects of Practice (October 14 through November 11), the BZC sangha is studying Genjokoan. A scroll called “Zen Fan” by the calligrapher Kasumi Bunsho has been selected to hang next to the altar. The choice of “Zen Fan” was inspired by these words in Genjokoan:
Zen Master Baoche of Mt. Magu was fanning himself. A monk approached him and asked, “The nature of wind is ever present and permeates everywhere. Why are you waving a fan?”
The master said, “You know only that the wind’s nature is ever present—you don’t know that it permeates everywhere.”
The monk said, “How does the wind permeate everywhere?”
The master just continued waving the fan.
The monk bowed deeply.
Kasumi Bunsho, a Zen priest, is recognized for his extensive calligraphy. Many feel that his calligraphy expresses an energetic exuberance, reflective of his practice. He was a direct pupil of Nakahara Nantembo (1839‒1925) and Deiryu Kutsu (1895‒1954), both devoted Zen monks and highly recognized calligraphers.
Kasumi was born in Gifu Prefecture, in the region of Honshu in central Japan, on December 25, 1905, and died at the age of 92 on October 17, 1998. Like his teachers, Kasumi loved to paint monks begging (takuhatsu), which he believed was an important monastic practice of humility and gratitude. In 1943 he became the Abbot of Kaisei-ji Zen monastery, and in 1990 the 642nd Abbot of Myoshin-ji, one of Kyoto’s oldest major Zen temples.
Deiryu Kutso influenced Kasumi as they shared a similar approach to painting Zen circles (enso). Deiryu and Kasumi frequently brushed images in the center of their ensos as well as brushing their ensos with a distinctive and unusual gray ink. One can see the presence of gray ink in “Zen Fan.” Kasumi Bunsho signed the handle of “Zen Fan” with his pen name, Kaisei Dainin. The calligraphy on “Zen Fan” is translated here:
When you use
spring comes again;
for a fan to work
you need to rely on others