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Sengai Gibon


JREF Editor
15 Mar 2002
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Sengai Gibon

Sengai Gibon (仙厓義梵, 1750-1837) was a Zen painter and calligrapher whose ink drawings were characterised by a warm, satiric, and often self-critical humour.

He was born into a family of poor farmers in Mino (modern-day Gifu Prefecture) and became a monk of the Rinzai School of Buddhism at the age of eleven. He studied at Seitaiji (清泰寺) under Kūin Enkyo (空印円虚, 1704-1787) and received the priest name of Gibon. In 1768, he set out on his first pilgrimage and arrived at Tōki-an (東輝庵) temple near present-day Yokohama where he took up his studies under the guidance of Gessen Zenne (月船禪慧, 1702-1781). After Gessen's death Sengai embarked on his second pilgrimage which lasted for seven years, until he arrived at Shōfukuji (聖福寺) in Hakata (nowadays Fukuoka City), Kyūshū, in 1788. At the age of 39, he became the 123rd abbot of Shōfukuji (聖福寺), the oldest Zen temple in Japan, founded by the priest...

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