Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra

by Paula Arai (Author), Robert A. F. Thurman (Foreword)

A stunningly beautiful, full-color book of Buddhist paintings by twentieth-century Japanese artist Iwasaki Tsuneo, interpreted by Buddhist scholar Paula Arai.

Little known during his lifetime, the Japanese biologist and artist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002) created a strikingly original and exquisitely intricate body of modern Buddhist artwork. His paintings depict themes ranging from classical Buddhist iconography to majestic views of our universe as revealed by science–all created with the use of painstakingly rendered miniature calligraphies of the Heart Sutra, one of the most important scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. In this groundbreaking book, Paula Arai presents over fifty of Iwasaki’s paintings, elucidating their Buddhist contexts and meanings as well as their intimate connections to Iwasaki’s life as a war survivor, teacher, scientist, and devout Buddhist practitioner. Having been posthumously recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Iwasaki’s paintings are sure to be regarded as an innovative and heartfelt contribution to the artistic legacy of twentieth-century Buddhism.

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Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra


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