A wistful perusal of some long-ago phone-cam pictures led me to ponder my old Bodhidharma sculpture, which I had given away to my Buddhist friend Sperwer. It was an amazing piece of art. The artist had, for the most part, worked with and not against the wood, allowing the wood's natural contours to suggest the Buddhist saint's robes. Where the artist did show his hand, he had done an exquisite job of rendering, in three dimensions, a normally two-dimensional image of the putative First Patriarch of Zen Buddhism and founder of Chinese kung fu—the stern set of jaw, the vast and bulging and eternally open eyes, the pendulous ears, the scary eyebrows, and that menacing Klingon beard.
See for yourself:
Although I'm glad I gave the sculpture away, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it intensely. Attachment to a mere hunk of wood is nothing to be proud of, but I've long been a fan of Dalma-daesa, a.k.a. Bodhidharma. So today, while searching the Net for other wooden Dalma sculptures, I stumbled upon this gorgeous one:
Many sculptures and brush paintings of Bodhidharma depict him with some sort of walking stick, but in the above image, it looks almost as though the burly holy man has ripped off a goodly part of a tree: take a bough, O Dalma! Ha ha! When I saw this photo, I once again became filled with Dalma-lust and wanted to buy the sculpture... but I'm pretty sure that the piece isn't for sale. Alas. And all I can do is stare and whimper.