This portly toad, bursting beyond the confines of the scroll’s edges, belongs to a category of Japanese painting known as Zenga, or “Zen picture.” For Zen monks, painting provided a medium to express their own Zen experience and pleasure. The inscription is by Jiun, one of the foremost Buddhist clerics of the time. It can be translated as, “In heaven and among human beings, get back [to the original state],” a Zen admonition to adherents to free themselves from the distraction and ties of the mundane world and to live as purely and naturally as the toad does.
Thanks go to Mark R for passing on the link to this image. Turns out Jiun was quite the monk….
4 thoughts on “‘Zen Picture’ – Toad”
Wow! What a magnificent chap. :)
A good metaphor for everyone. My non-Buddhist / or any-other-religion partner appreciated it.
David G. Lanoue has published a story called Frog Poet. It’s about a fictional character claiming that their non-fictional late haiku master (Issa – 1763 – 1827) has been reborn as a frog. Available from Amazon.
That’s interesting Fred. I’ll take a look-see at that book. I’ve been using the sitting like a frog in teaching meditation recently. Wonderful ‘non-doing’, ‘leaving oneself alone’ – while being at the same time aware and alert. Frogs just show this so well, in humans it is not so easy to ‘stop’ in this way. We tend to think stop means ‘sag’ or ‘relax’ or ‘zone out’ which is far from the truth of formal meditation or any other time or place one might choose to ‘stop’ in this way. Hah, maybe I will expand on this comment and make it into a post….
Thanks for the heads up Fred.