The inspiring life story of pioneering feminist artist, activist, and Buddhist teacher Mayumi Oda told through her own words and original thangka paintings.
Sitting in meditation in front of a statue of Goddess Sarasvati, Mayumi Oda heard her say in a loud voice, "Stop the plutonium shipment!" After taking a stunned breath, Mayumi replied, "I can't do that. I'm only an artist," and Sarasvati answered, "Help will be provided." This book is the culmination of a life devoted to responding to Sarasvati's call to cultivate a path of peace, justice, and compassion.
Known as the "Matisse of Japan," Mayumi Oda is a painter, environmental activist, and Buddhist practitioner whose life reflects both the brilliance and shadows of modernity. Sarasvati's Gift explores her upbringing in Japan, her tumultuous marriage and the death of her son, her immigration to the country responsible for the destruction of her home, her inspiration for both her Buddhist practice and her art, and ultimately her commitment to the planet that gives her life both hope and meaning. This raw, heartfelt, and powerful memoir shares Mayumi's story of finding her place and her mission to transform the world.
“An extraordinary book by an extraordinary woman. This remarkable work is a plunge into courage and beauty.”—Joan Halifax, author of Being with Dying and Standing at the Edge
“Mayumi’s vivid, original images of women as goddesses show us a new way to think about Zen Buddhism and, actually, about life. This book tells her marvelous journey from childhood in Japan during the Second World War into her life as a notable artist and activist. A book of great simplicity, sweetness, and beauty.”—John Tarrant, author of The Light Inside the Dark and Bring Me the Rhinoceros
“Attempting to endorse Sarasvati’s Gift is akin to praising the moon and the stars. This is a book of extraordinary resonance, love, and beauty. Mayumi’s heart surpasses all measures of courage in her devotion to the earth.”—Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World
“Mayumi Oda’s action for life on Earth, whether it’s praying, sobbing, organizing, protesting, or farming, is as transformative and captivating as her magnificent creation of eclectic, bold, and enchanting celestial/terrestrial femininity.”—Kazuaki Tanahashi, author of Painting Peace: Art in a Time of Global Crisis “Sarasvati’s Gift soars on the wings of Mayumi Oda’s pure, persevering, and fiercely loving heart and hands. It models ways to walk in beauty and with grace for everyone who feels called by the emergence of the feminine in this time when restoring balance and equilibrium to the human-nature experiment is so urgent and timely.”—Nina Simons, cofounder and Chief Relational Strategist, Bioneers
Mayumi Oda is a groundbreaking Buddhist teacher, painter, and activist who doesn't separate her art, activism, and Buddhist practice. Born in Tokyo in 1941, she went on to study painting and printmaking and to exhibit her work around the world. Since the early 1990s, while continuing to work as an artist, she has also devoted much of her time to activist causes such as women's rights, the antinuclear movement, and opposition to GMOs. She founded and lives at Gingerhill Farm, an active farm and educational center on the Big Island of Hawai'i. Please visit mayumioda.net for more information.
This book is a must-have resource for Mayumi Oda collectors. Beautiful, re-designed catalogue raisonné of Mayumi Oda's serigraphs & woodblocks spanning a period of nearly 50 years from 1968 through 2016. Originally published in conjunction with the exhibition at the Robyn Buntin of Honolulu gallery of fine art now updated with more art & more stories. Includes a personal retrospective commentary from Mayumi written in 1985 and updated in 2023 with forwards by Robyn Buntin, Mary-Ann Milford-Lutzer & Roshi John Tarrant. Mayumi shares her delightful stories behind works of individual series including the Ocean, Goddess, Garden, Diptych series, and many more.
Published by Mayumi Oda Art Editions Dimensions: 11" x 8.5", 180 pages, softcover, full color throughout. $75.00
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Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty
Anne Herbert, Margaret Paloma Pavel & Mayumi Oda
In 1982 Anne Herbert wrote "Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty." This beautiful precept began to appear everywhere–on garden gates, on bumper stickers and posters and in books.
Today, she has joined with Margaret Pavel to expand her statement into a powerful message for our times, and for all ages.
Mayumi Oda's art merges with the text as if they were created together. For Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty, she derives her style from picture scrolls entitled Chojugiga: Frolicking Animals, said to have been drawn during the 12th century Heian Period in Japan.
Published by Volcano Press, 1993. Dimensions: 7-3/4" x 6-3/4", 22 pages, softcover, full color throughout.
Mayumi Oda & The San Francisco Zen Center
Mayumi Oda’s internationally-recognized artwork plays with traditional Japanese and Buddhist images, refiguring them as celebrations of the feminine and the natural world. Where most traditional Buddhist iconography features male figures, Oda introduces female “Goddesses” that seem to jump off the page, imbued with the vibrancy of Oda’s color and line.
Originally from Japan, Oda settled in Muir Beach, California in the 1970s and began practicing and painting at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, which Oda calls her “California Buddha Field.” Divine Gardens pairs Oda’s artwork with essays by her fellow practitioners, for whom Oda’s artwork has been a constant companion.
Suitable for study by art students or for display on a coffee table, Divine Gardens captures the essence of Mayumi Oda’s art and life as a Zen practitioner. The forty-five full-color works of art and twenty-four essays contained in the collection are a joyful celebration of her work and the community forged through the years at the San Francisco Zen Center.
Published by Parallax Press, November 2017. Dimensions: 9" x 12", 112 pages, hardcover, full color throughout.
This book is for anyone who loves to garden and wants to invite a child to join in a delicious celebration of the fullness of life.
Crisp cabbages, crunchy carrots, radiant radishes…. Vibrant illustrations of vegetables in the garden by legendary Japanese artist Mayumi Oda will inspire children to see the garden as a life-giving place where they can touch the Earth and see how Nature loves and feeds them. Starting with green and purple asparagus in the Spring, the book moves joyfully through the seasons, showing how hot and cold weather, sunshine and rain all combine to bring about a happy harvest.
Published by Plum Blossom, November 2018. Dimensions: 6" x 8-1/2", 40 pages, hardcover, full color throughout.