gazan shotei zen priest letter

Gazan Shotei | Letter

SKU: 2494

Private letter by Gasan Shotei, abbot of Tenryu-ji.


Happy New Year!
I wish that a lot of happiness will come and fill you.
As for myself, I have been resting for a long time. - Sincerely yours, Meiji 33 (1900), January 9th, Gazan.
To Mihama Choichiro and Takako.

The New Year's Daihannya ritual* has been done.
Choichiro, this year abandon laziness or extravagancy. 
Takako, abandon selfishness, tantrum, anger, and knitting your brows. 
Furthermore be amenable and meek, which I doubt.

If you don’t listen to me, I scold you.
How scary, I shall mend my way hereafter."


The Daihannyakyo Tendoku is one of the most important rituals of Japanese Buddhism. It features the Great Sutra on the Perfection of Wisdom, the longest text in the Buddhist canon. Since it is impossible to recite the whole sutra, clerics skim through the text by having the pages of the book quickly glide from one hand to other. Called "rolling reading", this recitation is a dramatic visual effect of accordion-like sutra pages cascading through the air paired with the sound of loud voices. The ritual creates what the priests call a "wind of wisdom". (Source: Rietberg Museum, Zurich). - In Tenryu-ji this ritual is held on the third of January.




Gazan Shotei (1853-1900)

Ink on paper

17.8 x 59.4 cm (7 x 23 1/4 in.)

Mounting 129 x 64 cm (50 3/4 x 25 in.)

Bachmann Eckenstein