I wanted to paint the way I felt about my life with Buddhism. Especially as a woman living in the United States, there was a noticeable difference from what I had experienced in Japan. In the 1980s, many women were practicing Buddhism which eventually led to the women’s spirituality movement, a significant era in American Buddhism. There were few female Buddhas so I thought I had to create it – I made an effort to transform male deities into female deities. Over the years, I have painted the deities that I felt that I could identify with. For example, if I needed strength, I created a Goddess of Compassion with a sword to cut through my illusions. In 1982, I was lay ordained in the Soto Zen tradition and received the name Ekai ("merciful sea") Yumyo ("mysterious depth of knowing").