Not Knowing is Most Intimate

fuchi sai shinsetsu

12 1/4″ W x 43″ H Japanese Scroll
by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase


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Not Knowing is Most Intimate in Japanese is 不知最親切 which is read fuchi sai shinsetsu

The Zen phrase fuchi sai shinsetsu is from the 20th Koan in Shoyoroku – called “The Book of Equanimity” (also “The Book of Serenity”) written in the 12th Century by Hongzhi Zhengjue. This phrase has been described as the heart of Zen Buddhism. The Koan goes that Jizo asks Hogen where he is going. Hogen replied on a pilgrimage. Then Jizo asked why and Hogen replied that he did not know. To this Jizo said, “Not knowing is most intimate”.

For this design we have used the Chinese characters. The modern Japanese would be only slightly different reading fuchi mottomo shinsetsu and written 不知最も親切.

There are several great on-line resouces. See Eric Boix page Shoyoroku for English translations. If you have Japanese fonts you can read discussions on the Koan at Shouyouroku Kouwa by Douken Takada [1906] and Shouyouroku Tsuukai by Nyoten Jinbo [1915]. Also we suggest the book The Book of Serenity: One Hundred Zen Dialogues style= by Thomas Cleary.

fuchi sai shinsetsu is composed of the word 不知 (read fuchi) meaning “not knowing; ignorance”, (read sai), and 親切 (read shinsetsu) meaning “intimate” (note this is the Chinese meaning).

About The Art: This beautiful hand brushed scroll by Master Takase is personally created at the time of your order and proudly bears her seal and signature. We exclusively import this high-quality scroll with brown silk borders and fine Japanese paper from one of the finest scroll makers in Nara Japan. This is not a print but is hand brushed to match the sample as closely as possible. This is a personal work of art that is designed to last generations.

Delivery: The scroll is completed and shipped within 1-3 business days and arrives ready to display.