Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Takashi Murakami's Daruma

This is Daruma, the patriarch of Zen Buddhism. Overgrown eyebrows and mustache, terrifying stare–this is a common face in Japanese traditional painting. But this rendition by Takashi Murakami is the most vivid I've seen. Dubbed the "Warhol of Japan," Murakami has made name on both sides of the Pacific with his eclectic mix of graphic and fashion design, manga, and silk screen prints. “Tranquility of The Heart, Torment of The Flesh - Open Wide The Eye of The Heart, and Nothing is Invisible,” is the name of Murakami's exhibition going on now in New York.

Back to Daruma. This guy's story is worth telling: an Indian monk who brought Zen Buddhism to China around the 5th or 6th century A.D. He began meditating in Shaolin monastery and 9 years later hadn't blinked his eyes, much less moved. His arms and legs atrophied, withered and fell off. But he attained enlightenment. Damn.

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