You complain that Buddha is hard to find


A poem by master painter Kanzan Shimomura.

Ohara-Goko, painting by Kanzan Shimomura

Talking about food won’t make you full,
Babbling of clothes won’t keep out the cold.
A bowl of rice is what fills the belly;
It takes a suit of clothing to make you warm.

And yet, without stopping to consider this,
You complain that Buddha is hard to find.
Turn your mind within!
There he is!
Why look for him abroad?


Kanzan Shimomura Shimomura, 下村観山, (April 10, 1873 – May 10, 1930) is the pseudonym of Shimomura Seizaburō, a master painter in Meiji through to the early Shōwa period in Japan.

Shimomura went to Tokyo in 1881 to study painting and became a pupil of Kano Hogai and Hashimoto Gaho. One of the first students to enter the Tokyo Fine Arts School, founded in 1889, Shimomura joined its staff upon graduation, only to leave the school when the principal and famous art critic, Okakura Kakuzo, was ousted. Shimomura then joined the Japan Fine Arts Academy established by Okakura and Hashimoto. He was known for his mastery of traditional Japanese and Chinese painting and for his keen sense of colouring. Among his representative works are ‘Ohara Goko’ (1908; ‘The Emperor’s Visit to Ohara’) shown above, and ‘Yoroboshi’ (1915; ‘The Beggar Monk’).


Thanks to Antar Marc

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