deciphering the identity of a Zen master

deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Adamantine » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:37 am

I've had this little antique wood carved and lacquered Japanese statue of what appears to be a Zen master for a number of years, -it was given to me. I keep it on the shrine. I imagine I may have some karmic connection with this historic figure, but I have no idea who it is. There is text written on the back. I had a friend who is Japanese attempt a translation and this was her response:

as far as I can decode, it says 行菩院了心日定霧 the 2nd and last chinese character isn't contemporary( in japanese) so I'm guessing but I'm pretty sure this is what's written.
As for meaning, it could be a name of a high rank monk, or a one-line sentence. the 3rd letter is often used as 'temples' so 行菩院 could be the name of the temple.
individual meaning of the characters
are
行- Doing
菩-bodhisattva
院-temple
了-finish/ completion /understanding
心-heart
日-day/sun
定-decided /settle
霧-mist/ fog


If this rings any bells and anyone can figure out any concrete information from this, I'd be ever grateful!
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Qing Tian » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:09 am

It could be an aphorism. Something like "Kindness heals the clouded heart". :shrug:
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Adamantine » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:34 am

Qing Tian wrote:It could be an aphorism. Something like "Kindness heals the clouded heart". :shrug:


Yeah, I thought it could be like that.. I was really hoping it would help identify the figure though.

I imagined it could also be something like "Understanding came to it's final completion in the heart of the Bodhisattva practicing in (____?) temple, like the sunshine settling the mist."

Anyway, it's a long shot. Maybe I'll post the photo of the text and the figure if it would help.
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Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Adamantine » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:24 am

No one has any ideas?
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:44 am

Do you have a picture of it?
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Adamantine » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:17 am

OK, here it is:
Attachments
zen.jpg
Here is an image
zen.jpg (316.96 KiB) Viewed 418 times
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Adamantine » Tue Oct 29, 2013 6:19 am

And here is the back, look at the bottom to find the writing:
Attachments
zen1.jpg
zen1.jpg (409.13 KiB) Viewed 415 times
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby greentara » Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:53 pm

Perhaps I'm stating the obvious, it looks like a Lohan buddha, they always radiate dignity.
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Adamantine » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:46 pm

Well, I'd assumed the character for "bodhisattva" included
in the text on the back would rule out it being an arhat.
So I'm assuming it is some Japanese Zen adept:
However, it may be someone not widely known,
a humble Roshi who achieved nirvana in a small secluded
temple and didn't generate a great following.
But it also could be someone known enough that crowd sourcing
info on DW might pay off!
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby eijo » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:08 am

Adamantine wrote:I've had this little antique wood carved and lacquered Japanese statue of what appears to be a Zen master for a number of years, -it was given to me. I keep it on the shrine. I imagine I may have some karmic connection with this historic figure, but I have no idea who it is. There is text written on the back. I had a friend who is Japanese attempt a translation and this was her response:

as far as I can decode, it says 行菩院了心日定霧 the 2nd and last chinese character isn't contemporary( in japanese) so I'm guessing but I'm pretty sure this is what's written.
As for meaning, it could be a name of a high rank monk, or a one-line sentence. the 3rd letter is often used as 'temples' so 行菩院 could be the name of the temple.
individual meaning of the characters
are
行- Doing
菩-bodhisattva
院-temple
了-finish/ completion /understanding
心-heart
日-day/sun
定-decided /settle
霧-mist/ fog


If this rings any bells and anyone can figure out any concrete information from this, I'd be ever grateful!


The characters are a posthumous Japanese Buddhist name for a lay follower:

行善院了心日定靈

It is the mortuary image of a lay devotee who has taken lay vows, or the eight precepts. He is wearing Japanese lay clothing (not monastic), but has the shaved head of a 入道 or lay precept holder. Probably late Edo period (19th c.)

Names of this type are not given to monks on mortuary tablets or images.
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Re: deciphering the identity of a Zen master

Postby Clarence » Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:06 pm

No idea what it means but it is a nice statue!
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