Inspired by meditation and calligraphy itself, as well as the first signs of spring emerging, at the March meeting of Zen Brush Shodo calligraphy we brushed the three kanji characters of the zen phrase Hi Shi Ryo 非思量 which can be translated as something like ‘beyond thinking’ or ‘spacious thinking’.
We tried to capture some of the context of the phrase in our calligraphy. Here is a snippet of Master Dogen’s Fukanzazengi text:
Let go of all involvements and let myriad things rest. Do not think good or bad. Do not judge right or wrong. Stop conscious endeavor and analytic introspection…Keep the eyes open and breathe gently through the nose. Having adjusted your body in this manner, take a breath and exhale fully, then sway your body to left and right. Now sit steadfastly and think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Beyond thinking.Master Dogen
This is about meditation and also our way of thinking in our everyday life. It was a fun and quirky phrase to copy. We brushed them together in two styles (kaisho, sōsho), discovering the older roots of the characters which Blair discussed, looking at the various styles and meanings of the kanji and their relationship to zen practice. He also gave a short demonstration of the gyōsho to reveal the connections and stroke order between styles.
After the more boxy kaisho style we particularly liked the looseness of the sōsho style, and we spent extra time this month considering the composition and spacing on the paper, to find the right balance and harmony. We chatted about Zhiyong/ Chiei’s 智永 Senjimon 千字文 Thousand Character Classic and looked at his examples such as Hi from Hi Shi Ryo.
Thanks to participants for sending images of their calligraphy this time.
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