Pathway to Zen

I have written before about the suiseki that was given to Mas by his teacher, Mr. Hirotsu.  It is not a stone that immediately strikes the eye but instead rewards long, quiet, contemplation.  As I’ve related, Mas said he did not understand the stone at all when Mr. Hirotsu gave it to him. Over many years he came to realize that Hirotsu-sensei had been trying to lead him, through this suiseki, to the world of Zen.

Note: click on any photo to go to a gallery with additional images

“Pathway to Zen”; 7″ x 4.5″ x 5″; Keiseki Hirotsu
“Daruma”; 6″ x 4.5″ x 6″; Mas Nakajima

Mas could certainly appreciate dramatic stones and even enjoyed a bit of “bling”, but always it was the spiritual depths of quiet and subtle suiseki that drew him. This can perhaps be felt in the stone he called “Daruma”. Like the one from Mr. Hirotsu, it has depths waiting to be explored.

This past summer I joined a few friends for a collecting trip around Northern California.  I was not planning to collect any stones for myself but was there to enjoy time with friends and to help guide the group to collecting locations. One of the stops was, of course, a place on the Klamath River, deep in the Klamath Mountains of Northern California, where Mas and I loved to collect.

I chose a beautiful spot with a view of the river and scattered some of Mas’ ashes. Almost immediately I looked down, and found a very beautiful little stone, which reminded me of the one from Mr. Hirotsu.

Our good friends Tan-Phat Vo and Lisa Vole were also along on the trip. Phat had learned from Mas the craft of carving daiza and we had all spent much time over the years discussing the art and spirit of suiseki. At lunch I handed my little stone to Phat and asked him if he thought he could make a daiza for it, to which request he very generously agreed.

Recently Phat and Lisa paid a visit to California and brought me the finished suiseki. I had forgotten how beautiful the stone was – and now, finished as a suiseki in Phat’s exquisite daiza, it is sublime.

“Gateway to Zen”; 4″ x 2″ x 5″; Tan-Phat Vo

It gives me such joy to live with this trinity of stones from Mas, his teacher, and his student. I can only hope that someday I too will be able to glimpse that spiritual realm to which these suiseki lead.

5 Responses to Pathway to Zen

  1. Patty Hecht says:

    Lovely, Janet – I am happy for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Turner, Richard says:

    Thanks for posting this.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sam Edge says:

    There seems to be a completeness with the three stones together.

    Liked by 1 person

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