Sumi on paper. This impressive Zen painting by Gentō Sokuchū features the Chinese character michi (path) in masterfully rendered calligraphic strokes. As the 11th abbot of Entsū-ji and later the 50th abbot of Eihei-ji, Sokuchū made it his life’s work to bring the Sōtō sect of Buddhism back in line with the teachings of its founder Dōgen Zenji.
In his attempt to reform Sōtō Buddhism, Sokuchū de-emphasized the use of koans due their association with the competing Rinzai sect of Buddhism. In addition, he compiled the Eihei Rules of Purity based on Dōgen’s writings which laid out a strict code of morality for monks.