Category Archives: Zen

Welcome

Let us open our leaves like a flower, and be passive and receptive.

John Keats

Welcome
Welcome

The acrylic on wood drawing / painting above titled “Welcome” hangs in the entrance to the Art and Zen Sanctuary, to greet all who enter. The overall creation area is 29” x 50” which includes the hand-crafted 3-D frame that Frank built to emulate an Asian character symbolizing an open receptiveness.

Tranquil Zen Fire at the Kubota Garden

While Zen is often equated with tranquility, the fire of hard work is at the core of an effective practice. There is no better example of practicing Art and Zen in landscaping than the monumental accomplishment of Fujitaro Kubota and his sons Tak and Tom.

In 1927, Fujitaro purchased 5 acres of logged-off swamp land and began exercising his passion for gardening. Over the years, the garden grew into 20 acres of the most scenic landscaping imaginable. The Kubota family brought in huge boulders (over 400 tons of stone), creating water courses while planting the most magnificent plants and trees. In the middle of fulfilling his dream, Fujitaro and his family were forced into internment at Camp Minidoka in Idaho during World War II. Most men would have been discouraged by such treatment, but not the Kubota men. Fujitaro was driven by a passion to have his garden one day open to the public to improve American understanding of Japanese culture and worked until his death in 1973 at the age of 94 to fulfill his dream.

Now designated a historic landmark by the City of Seattle, it remains a hidden treasure, with few visitors, which helps support the tranquil atmosphere. The Kubota Garden is located very close to the Zen Monastery Frank supervised in construction. It was at the Kubota Garden that Frank inquired about finding a Zen landscape artist and was quickly referred to Terry Welch. And though it took nearly a year to make the connection, Terry taught Frank concepts in stone placement learned from masters in Japan. They artistically performed together in putting the finishing touches on the Zen Monastery construction, in sync with the first abbot Master Jian Hu.

Kubota Garden
Kubota Garden

If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area, this hidden treasure is worth the discovery. You will have a chance to peacefully connect more closely to life on this planet.

Here is a link to the Kubota Garden website for more history and location: http://www.kubotagarden.org/about-us/history/

Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier – Wall Mural

The wall mural below is of Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier. Frank painted this 72″ x 41″ scene in acrylic on a rough textured surface in 2012. This scene reminds us that the more peaceful the water, the more clear the reflected image. Just as the more peaceful our minds, the more clearly we can see what is in front of us.

Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier Wall Mural
Reflection Lake at Mt. Rainier – Wall Mural

 

Monkey Mind Wall Mural

Monkey Mind

In 2003, Frank was commissioned to paint a wall mural of a popular Zen scroll painting done by Hakuin Ekaku (1685 – 1768). This art illustrates the story “Catching the Reflection of the Moon.”

Frank’s wall mural re-creation stands about 6 feet high and painted in acrylic.

Monkey and Moon
Monkey and Moon

As the story goes, a monkey (Gibbon) sees a reflection of the moon in a deep water well and climbs out on a branch to catch it…the branch breaks. The monkey falls into the well and drowns.

This is a cautionary tale about how unrealistic ambition can lead to suffering and even fatal consequences.

Understanding the “Monkey Mind” is important to a successful Zen practice. Our monkey mind is emotion driven. Zen practice unleashes your “Big Mind” to begin to see what is,  more clearly.