Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra – The Buddhist Art of Iwasaki Tsuneo

Speaker Series – Talk by Paula Arai
Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Member Exclusive Event

Enjoy a Morikami Member Exclusive event, a live virtual lecture in our theater on our new exhibition Painting Enlightenment: Experiencing Wisdom and Compassion through Art and Science with Curator, Paula Arai. Animated by stories about the biologist and visionary artist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002), this immersive presentation brings to life his motivations and the resonances he observed between scientific and Buddhist views of reality­­: interdependence, impermanence, and the fluid nature of phenomena. Ranging from classical Buddhist iconography to ephemeral beauties of nature and microscopic and telescopic wonders, he embedded his paintings with insights into the healing power of wisdom of compassion.

Climbing Out of Hell, Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002), ink on paper
Can’t make it to the virtual lecture that day? No problem, a recording of the presentation will be up for a limited time for Member access only. Look out for the special invite link to be emailed to you soon after the lecture.

Transmigration, Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002), ink and gold on paper
The Buddhist Art of Iwasaki Tsuneo
Candlelight, Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002), ink and colors on paper

FREE  in the Morikami Theater for Members. No reservations. Tickets will be given out the day of the event, at a first come, first served basis.

Please know that our theater tends to be quite cold so you may want a sweater or jacket with you.


Paula Arai received her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Harvard University, specializing in Japanese Sōtō Zen. She is author of Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra––The Buddhist Art of Iwasaki Tsuneo (Shambhala Publications, 2019), Women Living Zen: Japanese Buddhist Nuns (Oxford, 1999), and Bringing Zen Home: The Healing Heart of Japanese Buddhist Women’s Rituals (U. of Hawaii Press, 2011). She is curator of art exhibitions of Iwasaki’s paintings, including at the LSU Museum of Art, Crow Collection of Asian Art, and the Peeler Art Center. Her research has received support from Fulbright, American Council of Learned Societies, the Mellon Foundation, and the Reischauer Institute of Harvard University. Professor of Religious Studies, she holds the Urmila Gopal Singhal Professorship in Religions of India at Louisiana State University. Arai regularly does public presentations and leads workshops.

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