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Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra by Paula Arai

In June we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine reading with the direct experience of scientist Iwasaki Tsuneo’s art.

Little known during his lifetime, the Japanese biologist and artist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002) created a strikingly original and exquisitely intricate body of modern Buddhist artwork. His paintings depict themes ranging from classical Buddhist iconography to majestic views of our universe as revealed by science--all created with the use of painstakingly rendered miniature calligraphies of the Heart Sutra, one of the most important scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism.

The exhibition “Painting Enlightenment - Experiencing Wisdom and Compassion through Art and Science” is on display at the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach from May 8 through September 19, 2021. We will meet there to view the exhibition and have lunch on Friday, June 11 at 11:00 (entry fee not included).

Our book discussion will be held on Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 pm on Zoom


Friday June 11, 2021 at 11:00 am at the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach (lunch and museum entry not included)

Our book choice “Painting Enlightenment: Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra” is a stunningly beautiful, full-color book of Buddhist paintings by twentieth-century Japanese artist Iwasaki Tsuneo, interpreted by Buddhist scholar Paula Arai. In this groundbreaking book, Paula Arai presents over fifty of Iwasaki's paintings, elucidating their Buddhist contexts and meanings as well as their intimate connections to Iwasaki's life as a war survivor, teacher, scientist, and devout Buddhist practitioner.

“Iwasaki’s luminous calligraphies, set in striking paintings both traditional and contemporary, are a remarkable gift to meditators, Buddhists, artists, and scientists of the contemporary age. Paula Arai is uniquely qualified to bring these paintings to a larger audience, given her mastery of Japanese language, culture, and religion, the trust bestowed on her by Iwasaki’s family, and her own Buddhist practice. Given the universal appeal of the Heart Sutra and its calligraphy, this book is destined to become a timeless treasure returned to again and again for its inspiration and sheer beauty.”—Judith Simmer-Brown, author of Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism

Book Discussion Thursday, June 17 at 6:30 pm on Zoom


Friday June 11, 2021 at 11:00 am at the Morikami Museum

Please RSVP by email to if you are interested in joining us on June 11th for lunch & the exhibition at the Morikami. We will sit together and visit the exhibition together, but if you cannot make this date or time please take the opportunity to visit and experience the art on your own. It is well worth the time and effort. (Lunch & Museum entry not included)

Tickets are $10 for the Zoom discussion and available on Eventbrite at this link:


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