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An Encounter with "MANDALA"

It's been many years since I first encountered with a mysterious word, "MANDALA". At that time I knew only the facial meaning. Of course, I could not imagine it would influence my soul.
Many years ago I first appreciated magnificent "MANDALA" in Kyoto. But It was just a piece of ordinary old painting for me. Now I guess those following experiences inspired me to paint "MANDALA".
In a anthropological musium of Mexico, I appreciated "Calendar and Picture scroll of Sun" in 1968.
In Europe, enjoyed various icons in 1971.
In Indonesia, knew icons painted by native people in 1974.
And in Japan, I observed Tibetan paintings in a musium in 1975.....

Of course, these arts have different backgrounds. But I could find many common features and then, the sources that had existed randomly in my body and soul gathered and formed one circle.
In my feeing, the similarity in iconography deeply relates to the idea of "Gathering", a part of instinct.
And when I recall my past paintings, I unconsciusly chose subjects that involve in "Gathering".
"A Row of Houses", "A Group of Butterflies" etc.
Moved by the iconographical features, I was absorbed deeply in painting "MANDALA".
Trying to conjecture my mind analitically, the iconographical similarity --"Gathering"-- simbolize hating loneliness.
In other words,

"If we gather, we have good time."

But paintig "MANDALA" is different from painting "Butterflies" etc. I couldn't start to paint it easily. It was too powerful for me.

My family belong to Zen Buddhism which may be against esoteric Buddhism. But both have common point in great contribution to Japanese art history. Sumie paintings in Zen, "MANDALA" in esoteric Buddhism.
"MANDALA" have been painted very very colorfully. On the other hand, Sumie paintings have been painted only with black ink (Sumi).
So transforming "colorfull world" into "black and white world" seemed to have some creative, deep meanings.
Once I came to an idea that it may lead back to ancient Japanese spirit (art), I could paint up "MANDALA" without rest.
Now I feel small about what I have done. Despite that I'm just a Sumie artist, I painted "MANDALA". I feel it's like blaspheming against esoteric Buddhism. So I visited Kyoto to make me feel easy.
First, I went to Kyouougokoku-temple (the head temple of esoteric Buddhism) and stood by "Yakushinyorai"(one kind of Buddha statue). I had a very calm and tense time. It seemed to me that Yakushinyorai threw me "soul word". When I opened a lattice door, shining sun attacked my eyes. So I jumped into a house. It's a treasure house. There were many treasures which Kuukai(a founder of esoteric Buddhism(Shingon-shu) in Japan.) brought from China. I appreciated valuable paintings and instruments. And I encountered with a priest and had a chance to talk with him in front of "Senjukannon statue(the god of mercy). He taught me somethig about esoteric Buddhism. In our talking, I was so interested in a meaning of five collors(green, yellow, red, black, and white) in an altar. Although I learned only a bit, I felt I was stepping upward to a way to "The Truth". When I left there, I purchased a scent bag and a book about this temple and went ahead to Zingo-temple in Mt.Takao. After I climbed up a stone steps and I entered a vermilion house, I couldn't move slightly. There existed very large Taizoukai(garbha-dhatu)-mandala and Kongoukai(vajra-dhatu)-mandala. I realized I returned to the same point where I was standing many years ago. I could understand better what a priest explained to me. Knowing how severely priests paint mandalas in practicing austerities, I recognized I couldn't compare it with my mandala. I felt shame. When I went down a slope, I felt it had more stone steps than before. And a setting sun is less red than my face. When I came back to my home, I browsed the book I bought and found an interesting article.
"In December 14th of 841, Kuukai held a ritual called "Ketsuenkanjoudan".
A priest who is bandaged his eyes scattered a petal on mandala. He could have a connection with god under the petal......"
At that night, I dreamed If I dropped a petal on mandala, it would escape mandala...
December 14th is my birthday. 1154 years ago, Kuukai held the ritual and tried to spread esoteric Buddhism in Japan. "MANDALA"..... the most significant instrument

Now I am so familiar with Taizoukai (garbha-dhatu)-mandala.

December 14th




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