Exhibition of Tōrei Enji’s Zen paintings and bokuseki, along with the airing of other Institute for Zen Studies artworks
|Place||Hanazono University Museum of History
In conjunction with its airing of the artworks in its collection, the Institute for Zen Studies exhibited the works of Hakuin’s important disciple Tōrei Enji at the Hanazono University Museum of History, from October 2012 through December 2012.
“Did Tōrei become what he was because of Hakuin, or did Hakuin become what he was because of Tōrei?” That such a question is often asked testifies to the importance of the role of Tōrei Enji (1721-1792) in ensuring the continuation of Hakuin Zen. Tōrei was instrumental in spreading the teachings and methods of his teacher not only in the Rinzai Zen world but also among lay Zen practicers. He and Suiō Genro (1717-1789), another great disciple of Hakuin who was the subject of an exhibition by the Institute for Zen Studies last year, were together known as the “two divine legs [eminent students] of Hakuin.”
Zen insight was not the only legacy these disciples received from their master, however. Both followed Hakuin in becoming accomplished painters and calligraphers who left numerous examples of their artistic talents. Tōrei, in particular, produced strikingly original works that continue to impress people even today. Much of their appeal lies in the interesting contrast between the subtlety of Tōrei’s Zen and the boldness of his artistic style, which, though influenced by that of Hakuin, surpasses it in force.
The exhibition futured works from two temples associated with Tōrei. For the first half of the exhibition works in the collection of Ryūtaku-ji, Tōrei’s temple in Mishima, Shizuoka Prefecture, were displayed; during the second half of the exhibition works were shown from the collection of Reizen-ji and other temples on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa, where Tōrei was born. The exhibition traced Tōrei’s wanderings through his works and display his remarkable talents as a painter and calligrapher.
Masters featured in the Institute for Zen Studies annual airing of artworks are Ungo Kiyō (1582-1659), Gudō Tōshoku (1577-1661), and Daigu Sōchiku (1584～1669) (the “Three Great Zen Masters of the Early Edo Period”), along with various monks connected with them.
Biography: Tōrei Enji (1721-1792) was born into the Nakamura family, the proprietors of a pharmacy located in the station town of Obata (present Gokasho), on the eastern shores of Lake Biwa in present-day Shiga Prefecture. At the age of nine he went to the nearby temple Daitoku-ji, where he studied under the priest Ryōzan Erin. He received the name Etan, which was later changed to Dōka. From the age of seventeen he went to Daikō-ji, located in present-day Miyazaki Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, to train under the important Zen master Kogetsu Zensai (1667-1751) and his successor Suigan Jūshin (1683-1773). From the age of twenty-three he trained under Hakuin at Shōin-ji in Hara, receiving inka at the age of twenty-nine. At thirty-five he received priestly rank at Myōshin-ji and was first referred to as Tōrei. In addition to serving as abbot of Ryūtaku-ji in Mishima (in present-day Shizuoka Prefecture), he restored the temples Muryō-ji in Shizuoka and Shidō-an in Tokyo. He later resided at Zuizen-ji, near present-day Nagoya, and Reisen-ji near his birthplace. Throughout his life Tōrei retained an interest in Shinto and Confucianism as well as Buddhism, stressing the ultimate unity of these three teachings. His posthumous title was Butsugo Shinshō.