Contemplations of Ara Ryokan Sensei
Apart from being a most highly respected monk-priest of the Tendai tradition, Ara Ryokan Dai Sojo is also well know both in his home country Japan, as well as being widely appreciated overseas as an author and artist of Buddhist works. Many of his paintings depict Buddha's and Bodhisattva's with his insights stemming from well known sutra's such as the Heart Sutra and essential teachings such as the Six Paramita's. His writings in particular show a humorous approach to Buddhist teachings often represented by two chatting monks. For examples of these and his art works, you are invited to visit www.tendaihawaii.org . Visitors to this link will see Ara Sensei's work presented in what appears to be a very simple, almost 'child-like' manner. And this is not meant to reflect his artistic ability as such, but more indicates his depth of Dharma wisdom. Ara Sensei once told me to "Keep everything simple". And this has proved to be easier said than done. Simplicity means simple and uncomplicated but very much to the point. To 'be as a little child' is a state few of us get to achieve.
The above link is dedicated to Ara Sensei's art work and it is hoped through them, to introduce his simple, contemplative teachings to a wider audience.
While studying and training under his direction at the Hawaii Betsu-In, Ara Sensei presented me with a small collection of his books. It is insights from this collection that appear on this page. I had originally considered adding my own comments as a guide to the reader,but then quickly felt it far better to leave them as intended...as tools for the reader to use for his, or her, own contemplation. I am sure there is something to be found within them for everyone.
My sincere wish is that you not only enjoy Ara Sensei's thoughts but also use them as a looking glass into the world of Tendai Buddhism.
Contemplation 1 (this is taken from Ara Sensei's book: "Living in Kannon")
"Kannon Bosatsu earned her compassion by serving the Buddha and the devil for a long period of time."
Contemplation 2 ( This is taken from Ara Sensei's book: "Live! Let's Live")
"'He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me'-- the hatred of those who cherish such thoughts is not appeased."
May these insights serve you well
Reverend Jiryo Moxon
The following are some Youtube video's concerning Ara Ryokan:
Ara Sensei on Hawaiian Japanese channel:
Interview with Ara Sensei pertaining to one of his painting exhibitions:
Ara Sensei at the Foreign Affairs Award Celebration:
Ara Sensei officiating at the Cowra P.O.W Breakout remembrance service: