Menpeki Kunen <> Wall Gazing


Wall-gazing Daruma <> Menpeki Kunen
.. .. .. .. .. .. 面壁九年の修行
mempeki kunen
I am sitting in front of my GAMEN ... the computer screen
for more than 10 years ...

Bodhidharma's years of meditation are represented with images of a seated monk facing a cave-wall called "Wall gazing" (Menpeki Daruma 面壁達磨). Related are depictions of the disciple Hui-ke presenting his cut-off arm (*Eka Dampi 慧可断臂) as a sign of his serious desire to study meditation with the Indian master.


Painting at the Shimane Art Museum

下村観山 Shimomura Kanzan

Zenbunka Small Painting


John Stevens about Zen Art

On occasion, Zen artists combine Daruma and enso into one image as we see in this piece (Figure 7) by Seiin Onjiku (1767 -1830). Normally with such an inscription: "Who said, 'My heart is like the autumn moon?"' The enso would be placed at the top of the paper; here, however, Seiin has set the moon-mind at the bottom to represent Daruma "wall-gazing" (mempeki), illumined by the moonbeams of enlightenment.

Further, the inscription reminds us that, despite vast differences in time and place, the minds of the Patriarch, the Chinese poet Han-shan (to whom the verse refers), the Japanese monk who created the painting, and that of the modern viewer are essentially the same. Totally unaffected, Seiin's brushwork is soft and warm and the bokki radiates gentle light.


Read all about Zen Painting by John Stevens here

Safekeep copy


CLICK for more photos .


A Doll from Hakata showing Daruma wallgazing


By this way, here are many more Hakata Dolls with Daruma and a few other famous figures. Do not miss a quick look here. Even Charlie Chaplin is here in the last row.


Bodhidharma was born in Kanchi in the Southern Indian kingdom of Pallava between 440 and 470. His spiritual instructor was the monk Prajnatara. He told him to travel to China and he came there by ship somewhere between 475 to 520. Legend has it that he spent nine years in meditation, where he used to sit facing the rock wall of a cave that's about a mile from the Shaolin Temple. Thus he won the title "the wall-gazing brahmin".

"The buddha in the mind is like a fragrance in a tree. The buddha comes from a mind free of suffering, just as a fragrance comes from a tree free of decay. There's no fragrance without a tree and no buddha without the mind. If there's a fragrance without a tree it's a different fragrance. If there's a buddha without your mind, it's a different buddha."

Just another Daruma

Photo : http://www.santosha.com/

Exhibition of Daruma Scrolls at the Japanese Temple
Choo-on-ji 潮音寺


Click on the .jpg here to see the pictures.

The Temple Choo-on-ji


The place in China where Daruma practiced austerities.

.. .. .. Look at more pictures here:


.. .. .. .. Some Paintings

See my Photo Album, Pictures Nr. 41 to 52, start here.

Wall-Gazing Daruma
by Mamiya Eiju (1871-1945)


Wall-Gazing Daruma
by Kozan Saisho (d.1901)

Enlightenment is the singular taste (of Zen).
Clouds may cover the moon (of illumination),
But soon spring returns in full force,
And nature flourishes like the evergreen pine.
Reside in high mountains and beside flowing streams,
traverse deep valleys and all will be well.

(signed) Kozan Saisho



The Practice of "Silent Illumination" (mo-chao)
by Master Sheng Yen

Quote from the middle, read it all here:

Bodhidharma himself is said to have taught, "If you wish to cast aside the false and return to true, concentrate and settle your mind in wall-gazing.
Self and other, the unenlightened and the saintly are all as one. Abide securely in this and do not stray."

The Hsin hsin ming (Inscription on Having Faith in the Mind) attributed to the third patriarch, Seng-ts'an (d. 606), states: "The two come when there is [a notion of] one[ness], so oneness also must not be adhered to. When a single thought does not arise, the myriad things are without defect." And again, "All wise ones throughout the ten directions penetrate this essential truth; this essential [moment of] truth is neither pressingly short nor lengthy. An instant of thought is ten thousand years."

Safekeep copy is here


Jiun Onko 1718-1808
Wall Gazing Daruma

Take a good look and discover
That one's true nature
Is an inexhaustible treasure
Transmitted from generation
To generation



Just for the record, there is even a ricewine called “menpeki kunen” .
I tried it of course and can highly recommend it after nine years of looking at the "gamen" of my computer.



Read about Daruma and the courtesans sitting for ten years

nine years or ten <>
not even waiting for
things to come



Hakata Dolls / 博多人形 more Hakata Clay Dolls

.. Daruma Museum Main Page


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