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Presentation and Book Signing – Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra | 7-9PM


7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Please join us for an evening with professor Paula Arai, author of Painting Enlightenment: Healings Visions of the Heart Sutra. Arai will give a presentation on the life and work of Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002), a Japanese teacher, biologist, prisoner of war, Buddhist practitioner, and painter who developed a uniquely Buddhist aesthetic inspired  by the Heart Sutra.

The Heart Sutra—among the most famous of Buddhist scriptures—has been treated with reverence for centuries. Practitioners and calligraphers have honored the sutra by hand copying it dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of times. Bringing that tradition into the modern era, Iwasaki Tsuneo created an original and exquisitely intricate body of Buddhist art. The subject of his paintings range from classical Buddhist iconography to majestic views of our universe as revealed by science—all created with painstakingly rendered miniature calligraphy of the Heart Sutra.

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.

Dr. Arai’s presentation will be followed by a book signing.

Friday, September 27; 7-9PM  – RSVP HERE

Praise for Painting Enlightenment: 

Iwasaki Tsuneo’s stunningly beautiful paintings of life and universe, rendered with lines of masterful miniature calligraphy of the Heart Sutra, reveal an infinite potential of dynamic interaction between scientific findings and the timeless wisdom of Buddhist teach­ing.” -Kazuaki Tanahashi, author of The Heart Sutra: A Comprehensive Guide to the Classic of Mahayana Buddhism 

Japanese calligrapher and painter Iwasaki Tsuneo reveals to us a wondrous universe suffused with the light of the Buddha’s enlightenment experience. He does so by embed­ding the characters of the Heart Sutra, a famous Mahayana scriptural text, in depictions of the macrocosmic Big Bang scene, of the microcosmic double helix in the DNA mole­cule structure, as well as of ordinary landscapes and natural scenery. Paula Arai’s mag­nificient book lays out the visual imagery and provides a delightfully written and highfy insightful guide to Iwasaki’s art. This is a breathtaking glimpse of our intimately inter­connected universe. “-Ruben L. F. Habito, Guiding Teacher, Maria Kannan Zen Center and author of Healing Breath: Zen for Christians and Buddhists in a Wounded World.

Friday, September 27; 7-9PM  – RSVP HERE

Paula Arai (Harvard University, Ph.D.) is the Urmila Gopal Singhal Professor in the Religions of lndia at Louisiana State Uni­versity. She is the author of Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Women’s Rituals and Women Living Zen: Japanese Soto Buddhist Nuns.



About Iwasaki Tsuneo: Little known in the West during his lifetime, Iwasaki Tsuneo was a teacher, research biologist, prisoner of war, and devout Buddhist practitioner who undertook training in calligraphy and painting in his retirement. He began work on the extraordinary paintings for which he is remembered today at age seventy.


Tibet House US Gallery
22 West 15th Street
New York, NY 10011 United States
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