Disillusioned by the close relationships between Zen and political institutions, or political power, Hakuin is said to have turned down an opportunity to become the abbot of a major temple in Kyoto, instead taking up residence at the small temple of Shôin-ji, at Hara, a station on the Tôkaidô, not far from where he was born. There, he made numerous basic but inspiring works of painting and calligraphy, which he is said to have simply handed out to passers-by. He is perhaps best known for his renderings of Bodidharma, and for his ensô (images of an empty circle). Today, these works are treasures of museum collections around the world.
- Timon Screech, Obtaining Images, University of Hawaii Press (2012), 116.