The young Chinese Prince Wen of Teng wanted to know what would make a “great man”. This is a serious question, particularly for someone who would later be given a lot of power. For all others the answer is still interesting to know. The prince knew where to find help. He sent for Mencius (370-290 BC).
Mencius answered the Prince: “Not seduced by luxury and comfort, not changed by hardship and troubles, not bent by the presence of power. This is a true man.”
This did not quite answer the Prince’s question about the nature of a “great man”, but there is no record of his not having been satisfied with the answer. Actually it didn’t matter so much, as the Prince died at a relatively young age and before climbing the throne.
During his monastic career Shimizu Kosho was given responsibilities for different educational institutions adherent to the monastery. And he obviously had a good sense for Chinese classics. His calligraphy on the other hand is all but classical. It is rather unconventional, free and open minded.
Shimizu Kosho | Tea bowl
Tea bowl by Okuda Eizan decorated by Shimizu Kosho. Okuda Eizan is a Shigaraki potter and Urasenke tea master. Eizan was Kosho’s student at Todaiji starting in 1978. Impressed potter’s seal on the bottom of the bowl.
The inscription on the tea bowl reads 漱石枕流 Soseki Chinryu, “rinsing one’s mouth with a stone and resting one’s head on a pillow of flowing water, essentially an inversion founded on a mistaken use of the words stone” and water.” This originally Chinese phrase inspired Natsume Soseki in taking his pen name.