Years ago, I was at an art exhibition of Chinese paintings and calligraphy from the Tang (618-907 C.E.) and Song Dynasties (960-1279 C.E.). One particular painting inscribed with flowing calligraphy caught my eye. I could not remember the name of the poet-painter but his epithet stayed with me. I have since adopted the same nickname—果亭山人 (fruit pavilion mountain man).
I am also reminded of another name, one given by Chan master Linji Yixuan or 临济义玄 (died 866 C.E.). Linji was the founder of one of the two main extant schools of Chan/Zen known as Linji in China and Rinzai in Japan. Linji used the elegantly simple epithet of 无位真人 or “true man of no rank” to describe himself. Marvellous.
“Being nobody, doing nothing, going nowhere: nothing to prove, nothing to gain, nothing to lose, nothing to hide.” Ordinary. Free. Like Linji. Like Godwin. Like Choden Rinpoche. Like Shengyan. Like Paul.
Drops of sweetness
Mmm … bliss!
Relying on Professor Google, I found out that 果亭山人 might actually be a poet-painter-artist from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 C.E.) named Zhang Ruitu 张瑞图 (1570-1641 C.E.). I am not sure why a Ming Dynasty poet-artist was included in what I recalled was a Tang and Song Dynasty art exhibition. Perhaps I remembered wrongly or perhaps there was some other reason. In any case, I am glad to have made this small discovery.