What do tomatoes have to do with Kukai, the famous calligrapher and founder of the esoteric Buddhist sect Shingon? It seems to me that the story of the tomato plant is related to the realm that Kukai tried to investigate through words and letters and writing.

"Kukai" is a fantastic name. "Ku" means air, and "Kai" water, and so it is perfectly appropriate that he declared that sounds and words are not restricted to human language, but that they exist ubiquitously in the vast-void universe. From behind the information space of written characters, he heard the whistling of the sea and wind of bio- information. That whistling cannot be captured or restricted to a static language system of signs and symbols.

For Kukai, calligraphy was a practice in which he could witness the very birth of written characters and connect them with the greater sea of life. He took part in the expansive universe represented by each character. With each stroke of his brush, he liberated the word and its life and allowed them to reveal their full potential.

This tremendous potential lies dormant in the words and characters we write. They are media for understanding the world eco-aesthetically. They are not limited to mere information recording and transmitting.