At our recent Zen Brush shodo group – our first online 🙂 – we enjoyed brushing the character 禅 Zen in four very different styles, which were developed over centuries. It was really intriguing to explore the meanings of the different parts of the kanji character and how this can be understood with the reading of it as zen and the connections with awareness, coming partly from the translation of dhyana.
After some loose marks and practice of horizontal and vertical strokes, we worked with kaisho style first, before going on to the sosho. We were inspired by the Chinese calligrapher Chiei with both these styles. He wrote these in his 千字文 Senjimon or Qiānzì Wén- Thousand Character Classic – a beautiful work.
Then we had some fun with the wider reisho and the taller more linear tensho , both fascinating styles to brush, which use a different technique from the previous two styles.
Some of us had large fude brushes and liquid ink, and some of us used smaller brushes or fudepen or brushpens, or solid ink, but we all had enough materials and time to appreciate the kanji and each stroke.
We talked a bit about how to practice shodo calligraphy to get a feel for the kanji zen, and also how to work on it more meditatively. Also we discussed how and where to write our name on the paper. So we covered a fair bit in this group, and had some fun too!
Inspiring video by participant AlanBlair writing Zen in the old Tensho, which was originally carvedBlair showing the fun contrast of method of two styles
At our Zen Brush 🖌 calligraphy group coming up on Monday the group will be working from the varied styles and strokes of the mysterious and graceful character 禅 for Zen. And we will explore the multi layered meanings within the kanji character itself. It can be brushed as a meditation too! 🙂
Our first online Shakyo 写経 practice event saw us come together from Scotland, and elsewhere such as the rest of the UK and Canada, forming a lovely group of sutra tracing and copying practitioners.
Beginning with an introduction about the history of shakyo and the development of it from Tang dynasty China to modern day Japan, with descriptions of experiences and process in Japanese Buddhist temples such as Zen and Hossou schools, and then we discussed the meditative as well as practical techniques, demos and tips to prepare us.
We also talked about the Boundless Life Ten Phrase Kannon Sutra 延命十句観音経 and its connections to other sutras, looked at particular kanji characters and phrases, and how the sutra has been popular and cherished over the centuries as one that aids wellbeing in times of sickness or difficulty.
After our tea, we lit the incense, rang the bell, chanted and began quietly tracing or copying, working from the short but meaningful and energetic sutra, assisted by worksheets with the kanji and meanings. Some people simply used pens with plain paper whilst others had brush pens or shakyo brush with suzuri inkwell and Japanese paper. It was great to see the the sutras of everyone, here are some examples.
It was a peaceful and meditative atmosphere and one where we could practice with care, feeling and attentiveness working on each stroke bringing each character and letter to life. We connected with our senses, felt grounded and connected with the sutra.
We wrote our wish in the traditional manner (in Japanese and English) in the allotted space as well as the date and our name, passing the merits beyond our group, and then we completed our practice with a short chant and some time to briefly chat together about our experience.
Thanks to all the participants for their wholehearted practice.
Last week at Clydebank art group we enjoyed a carefree evening of painting. We’re sorry to say that this night marked the end of the project for the adults group for the time being (please note for updates on the Wednesday afterschool art group for young people please contact Centre81).
Many thanks to the funders West Dunbartonshire Council and Flightpath fund (Glasgow Airport) and to the fabulous Centre81. This has been a wonderful group with so much creativity and very relaxing and inspiring to be part of 😄 It is a lively and close community.
Recently we were inspired by the textures of stones from hills and seashore, as well as the spaciousness of clouds and water, and we developed this with by exploring sea shells too. In this group there was always lots of freedom to go your in different creative directions, and lots of help and encouragement when needed 🤗 and help to make participants feel settled and enjoy a sense of wellbeing. Thanks to Centre81 Steering Group for all their support co-organising this group.
Exploring the fun world of painting whilst relaxing at Clydebank art group, inspired by nature and the soothing sounds and flowing rhythms of the sea.
Recently we were inspired by the textures of stones from hills and seashore, peering into their worlds, as well as the spaciousness of clouds and water.
We’re sorry to say that we’ve reached the end of the Clydebank Art Group project so this is our last evening for the adults group for the time being (please note the Wednesday afterschool art group for young people will continue weekly, for updates contact Centre81).
Many thanks to the funders West Dunbartonshire Council and Flightpath fund and to the fabulous Centre81. This has been a wonderful group with so much creativity.
On a blustery day with the March sun shining through the clouds into the garden and our cozy workspace, we enjoyed practicing Tenkoku 篆刻 seal carving to create our own stamps or inkan (more commonly known as hanko).
It is a captivating process and was wonderful to see everyone embracing it, from the design of their stamps on paper to the stone carving technique and the method of inking and pressing the stone onto Japanese paper.
We learned about the history of Japanese and Chinese stamp making and looked at varied examples and the ways of numerous of working with the tensho style of characters, and working with names or making natural designs.
In the quiet moments while everyone was working we could hear the echoes of the chipping sounds of the cutters on the stone and also of the participants enthusiastically blowing the dust off the face of their stones!
It was inspiring to be surrounded by the elemental trees and hills with all the textures and colours and breathing the fresh woodland air.
the heavens and earth are dark and yellow the universe and time boundless
Senjimon 千字文 thousand character classic
We continued to work from the Thousand Character Classic 千字文 – Senjimon this time at the last Zen Heart Brush, working with genkou 玄黄, partly inspired by the delightful calligraphy of Chiei 智永. It was intriguing seeing how the shapes together with meanings of the characters originated and having fun with the very varied styles.
Last week we had lots of fun with different pens, pastels, pencils and paints, tree landscapes guided our imagination 🌲🌳🌴
More fun arty workies from last week at Clydebank Centre81 art group!
It was a lovely atmosphere with everyone enjoying and trying out the combinations of art materials with watercolour paints🎨🖌️, whole heartedly having fun with the process without worrying about the result 👍😀
Kindly supported by West Dunbartonshire Council and Flightpath
At the last Zen Heart Brush we explored the Kaisho and Sosho styles of shodo calligraphy, working with tenchi 天地. We were inspired by the examples of calligrapher Chiei 智永 from his version of the fascinating Thousand Character Classic 千字文 – Senjimon.
His name means wisdom eternal – in Buddhism this wisdom is jnana (pronounced gyana in English) pure awareness unrestricted by concepts. Chiei is from the 7th Century Sui dynasty. He is the great great great…..great grandchild of Ogishi ( 王羲之 4th Century, one of China’s four famous calligraphers).
Thanks to Blair’s teacher Kobayashi Sensei in Japan for the encouragement to work with this text.