Jiun Onko (1718-1804)

神 - God


Ink on paper, 104 x 27 cm

Mounts: 190 x 40 cm

Signed with artist’s seals



Box inscriptions by Kozuki Tairyo (1894-1959), the 14th head priest of Choeiji, also known as Takaida-ji,  a temple in Takaida, Higashiosaka, Osaka.

The inscriptions read: “The God by Jiun Sonja” on the outside and “Takaida-ji Basshi, appraised by Tairyo” on the inside.


The waka poem reads:

こころたに まことの道にかなひなは いのらすとても 神 / やまもらむ

If your heart be ever sincere,
And follow Truth’s way,
God will rescue you,
Even though you never pray.


The original poem, here slightly altered, was written by Sugawara Michizane (845 – 903), a Heian Period scholar, poet, and politician. He is recognized as a great poet, especially in Kanshi poetry, and is now venerated in Shinto as Tenman-Tenjin, the deity of learning. The idea stated in the poem is central to Jiun's Buddhist philosophy, in which the most essential thing is to follow the fundamental teachings, with actions taking precedence over prayers. 

Jiun Onk (Jiun Sonja) is a famous Japanese Zen artist. He was born in Osaka and entered the monastery at the age of thirteen, where he studied Confucianism, Shingon esoteric Buddhism, and Soto Zen. He was a brilliant scholar who learned Sanskrit in order to study old Buddhist texts and the fundamental teachings of Buddhism. He established a religious organization that sought to return Buddhism to its roots ("True Dharma"). Jiun was a Zen reformer of the Edo era, and he is now regarded as one of the finest Zen calligraphers who have lived in Japan.


Inventory Nr: 1712

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