Painting Enlightenment, Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra

 Painting Enlightenment, Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra

Painting Enlightenment, Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra

Mar 01, 2019 - Mar 03, 2019, 7:00 pm - 5:00 pm

A weekend exhibition of the the Buddhist art of Iwasaki Tsuneo, and workshop with Paula Arai, PhD

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 1-3, 2019

Japanese biologist and visionary artist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002) painted the harmony he discovered between scientific and Buddhist views of reality.

Expressing the interdependent, impermanent, and empty nature of phenomena, he shaped the words of the Heart Sutra––a scripture prized for its concise expression of wisdom and compassion––into imagery drawn from ephemeral beauties of nature, Buddhist culture, and telescopic wonders.

Dr. Paula Arai, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Louisiana State University, will lead us through a weekend of learning and contemplation, including a Brushing the Heart Mini Workshop, where you can practice Japanese calligraphy and learn how to write the character for heart.

Friday, March 1, 7:00 pmOpening of the exhibition and reception – Open to all at no charge.  A chance to see these amazing paintings.

Saturday, March 2nd,  2:00 – 3:30 pm  –  Brushing the Heart Workshop Paula will lead each person in how to copy the Chinese character for Heart with a Japanese brush, and while people wait for their turn they will also trace the Heart Sutra in English with a calligraphy pen.

3:30 – 4:00 pm – Break

4 – 5:30 pm  – Slide Lecture

Sunday, March 3, 1:30 pmPaula will give a tour with poetry reading and explanation about each painting.

After 2 pm people are welcome to stay and meditate in front of the paintings until 5:00 pm.

Little known during his lifetime, the Japanese biologist and artist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002) created a strikingly beautiful collection of modern Buddhist artwork. His paintings render themes ranging from classical Buddhist iconography to microscopic and macroscopic views of our universe as revealed by science—all created with the use of painstakingly rendered miniature calligraphies of the Heart Sutra.

Paula Arai presents ten of Iwasaki’s paintings, and will elucidate their Buddhist contexts and meanings as well as their intimate connections to Iwasaki’s life as a war survivor, teacher, scientist, and devout Buddhist practitioner. Having been posthumously recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Iwasaki’s paintings are sure to be regarded as an innovative and heartfelt contribution to the artistic legacy of twentieth-century Buddhism.

Iwasaki Tsuneo

“My purpose for doing tiny-character sutra copying paintings is for you to see the teachings of the Buddha, to see the Buddha, and I am deeply gratitude to dwell in the heart of the sutra. Also, contemporary people who have lost themselves in busy-ness and whose hearts are dissolute, I pray they feel some succor and compassion when they look at these paintings.”

Paula Arai

Paula Arai has authored a book about Iwasaki’s work, entitled Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra (Shambhala), to be released in September 2019. She received her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University and is the author of Women Living Zen: Japanese Buddhist Nuns (Oxford University Press, 1999) and Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Buddhist Women’s Rituals (University of Hawaii Press, 2011). She has also published her research on Japanese Buddhism in numerous journal articles, chapters in edited volumes, and regularly presents at national and international venues. Her research has received generous support from Fulbright and American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships and grants from the Mellon Foundation, Reischauer Institute of Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Carleton College, the American Academy of Religion, and ATLAS (Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars). She holds the Urmila Gopal Singhal Professorship in Religions of India at Louisiana State University.


Bookings are closed for this event.