Ah, that is calligraphy by my "Dharma Grandfather", Nishijima Roshi's Teacher, Rempo Niwa Zenji (?? ??), who was the Abbot of Eiheiji (Dogen's old temple), and rather a notable calligrapher in Japan too.
I have been able to collect a couple of his pieces over the years, and I think Taigu has one too. That particular piece is the Chinese Character for "KAN" ... "LOOK!"
Here is a little more about Grandpa Niwa, and some of his other calligraphy if you scroll down ...
Ah. "LOOK!" I like it. :mrgreen:
another bit of curiosity, (and I will probably feel very silly once answered); there used to be, under the altar, a large grey lump that looked like a tree stump, or branch, it disappeared a few weeks back. What was it? and why did it go?
Hi,Originally Posted by Onshin
The "large grey lump" was a statue of Kannon ... carved in what appears to be an elephant trunk (but -NOT- an elephant trunk. It is instead made of artificial materials resembling ivory, a way to help all the wonderful ivory carvers in China earn a livelihood while protecting elephants from poaching. It was a gift many years ago. However, I had to explain that to every visitor because ... most thought it was an elephant trunk! :? ).
Kannon was moved up to the second floor of the Zendo (yes, there is a second floor), where I am making a small chapel to Kannon, plus posting art that various Dharma Friends and members of this Sangha have sent this way over the years. (However, the architect and carpenter who worked on our Zendo say that ... well, they cannot guaranty the safety if more than 5 big people go up to the second floor at once ... so it will be visited in small groups! :shock: )
thanks for this answer, I can understand the problems if the material is that good an imitation, definately the right way to go, there is a large shed just down the road from where they store stuff captured at Heathrow and its always full of ivory.
Look forward to seeing the Kannon chapel, I presume this is an American second floor, not an English one (which would be an American third)? :lol: