At Shodō calligraphy for our last group together in 2021, we had great fun brushing the lovely loose characters of Shikantaza  只管打坐 , about Zen sitting meditation (Zazen). We enjoyed exploring the kanji characters together in the semi cursive Gyōsho style and the quirky old Tensho seal style too 🙂

Brushing Shikantaza at Shodō Zen Calligraphy
Brushing Shikantaza at Shodō Zen Calligraphy
Brushing Shikantaza at Shodō Zen Calligraphy

At our peaceful Zoom meeting, this time we didn’t work on the Kaisho style but explored and experimented with the other styles, for instance with Sōsho very freely. Blair talked about the meanings of the famous zen phrase beyond what is usually translated as Just Sitting.

We also had inspiration from a poem by zen poet Ryokan about sitting meditation –

In the still night by the vacant window,
wrapped in monk’s robe I sit in meditation,
navel and nostrils lined up straight,
ears paired to the slope of shoulders.
Window whitens – the moon comes up;
rain’s stopped, but drops go on dripping.
Wonderful – the mood of this moment –
Distant, vast, known only to me!

Ryokan

Thanks to the participants for sending their calligraphy photos below.