“The Paradise of Maitreya” – a Fundraiser

Sokuzan with one of the 108 limited edition giclée prints
Sokuzan holds one of a limited edition of 108 signed and numbered giclée prints from his original watercolor “The Paradise of Maitreya”

About the Art
An interpretation by Kyoun Sokuzan based on a small detail of a head-shaving ceremony for monks in this 13th-14th century Chinese Buddhist wall painting (dry fresco) on clay and straw substrate painted by Zhu Haogu, “The Paradise of Maitreya” was originally housed in the Xinghua Si Buddhist Temple of Xiaoning, Shanxi, China. In the 1920s and 1930s, the wall painting was disassembled and moved to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) of Toronto, Canada, where it remains today.

This limited edition of 108 signed and numbered giclée prints, “The Paradise of Maitreya,” is from an original watercolor by Kyoun Sokuzan shown full size 30” x 40” on the wall behind him. Sokuzan holds one of the 18” x 24” available prints.

229.7# Epson cold press, acid-free, archival paper
Paper size:
20-1/8” x 25-1/4”
Image size:
18”x 24”
$250.00 (unmatted and unframed)
Domestic Shipping, Handling, & Insurance:
To purchase:
By check mailed to SokukoJi Buddhist Monastery, 33 Anderson Ct., Battle Creek, MI 49017 or send payment using PayPal to sokukoji@gmail.com with the notation “Paradise” in the subject line.

Sokuzan working on “The Paradise of Maitreya”
Sokuzan sits by a window, finishing “The Paradise of Maitreya”, a watercolor interpretation of a small detail of a wall painting of a head-shaving ceremony for monks.

About the Artist
Kyoun Sokuzan, Soto Zen Buddhist monk and abbot of SokukoJi Buddhist Monastery in Battle Creek, Michigan, was a draftsman and illustrator in the US Marine Corps from 1959-1963. During the last year of his military service, Sokuzan began his fine arts studies at the School of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., studying under Alexander Russo with focus on human figure drawing. Following his military service, Sokuzan attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he majored in painting and sculpture.
Besides watercolor, Sokuzan explored a variety of visual mediums throughout his art career including wood carving, scrimshaw (miniature ivory engraving), brush and ink calligraphy. From 1980 to 2003, he made his living as a sign painter and designer.
Since the early 2000s, Sokuzan has taught Opening The Eye Mind™, a training seminar he developed over the years for appreciating visual arts. Through exercises that combine the traditional practice of sitting meditation awareness practice with specific visual techniques that highlights aspects of visual consciousness hitherto ignored—such as balance and the innate codependency of apparent separations—the observer learns to prioritize visual awareness over the judging, evaluating mind.

A Fundraiser for the SokukoJi Buddhist Monastery Gompa
Proceeds from the sale of the “Paradise of Maitreya” prints will help fund the remodeling of the space for a Gompa as well as support ongoing work of the monastery. As many of you know, in addition to studying with his Zen master, Kobun Chino Roshi, Sokuzan also studied under Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in the Karma Kagyu and Shambhala Buddhist paths. The Gompa, located on the top floor of the monastery, will house shrines, thangkas, and space to support those who are practicing forms of these paths, i.e., Chenrezig, Vajrasattva, Kagyu ngöndro, Rigden/Werma Sadhana.

“A Meditation Primer” now available on Kindle

“This small book of talks arose because there seemed to be a need to express and repeat what shikantaza, or just basically sitting, is all about. It is meant to reinforce, repeat, and help you dig a nice deep groove—in the awareness of how to do this, in the recipe of how to do this, in the protocol of how to do this. Just simply sit and observe.”

Coming from over forty years of study, practice, and teaching, Sokuzan introduces the simple discipline of the sitting practice of meditation. Whether you are new to shikantaza or have meditated for some time, the basic ‘recipe’ at the back of the book, the seventeen short meditation instructions, and the notes from his two talks, “Meditation Doesn’t Work,” Sokuzan’s approach can help inspire you in creating or continuing a daily meditation practice.

A soft cover printed book is also available.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 – “Cultural Constructions” – by Sokuzan

If you really want to see the truth about things, look at the cultural deceptions. The basic misunderstanding of the nature of reality is the assumption that there is someone here who sees someone out there. The sitting practice of meditation as a spiritual path is a way to use attention to observe cultural constructions arise before there is a problem with it.
Train your mind so that the mind starts to seep out in front of the thought process. If you lead with your awareness, you won’t know what you’re seeing.

MP3 Link

Sunday, January 21, 2018 – “Include, Don’t Conclude” – By Sokuzan

When things arise that you want to get rid of, negative thoughts, emotions feelings… please, give yourself a break and include it. Don’t conclude. Wait awhile. Hold your seat. Look at it. Don’t buy into the thought patterns coming out of your self-centeredness.

MP3 Link

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 – “Ego Blinders” – By Sokuzan

Ego blinders is a way to describe looking for what we want, looking for what we want to find. If you were in a room full of gold and you were blinded by your self-centeredness, you would be looking for what you want to find….you could walk through this whole room of gold and never see the gold because you are so swamped by your own preconceptions about what you think it should be, what you think you really want, what you think is desirous.

MP3 Link

Sunday, January 14, 2018 – “It’s Complicated” – By Sokuzan

Simplify. Sit down. Strike the bell. Hold still, and with the attitude of simplicity allow the complications to arrive. Don’t make it more complicated by trying to control your thoughts. If you really could control your thoughts wouldn’t you just have happy ones?

MP3 Link