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Meditative Shodō calligraphy – Zazen

We had energetic and fun Shodō groups at KSD in Glasgow, as well at Zen Brush (online), brushing the two kanji characters of the word Zazen 座禅, meaning zen seated meditation. The za means sitting and the zen has meanings including meditation and awareness. Everyone got the feel of the two characters together – great going!

Meditative Shodō calligraphy - Zazen
Meditative Shodō calligraphy - Zazen

Blair briefly showed examples of older styles of both characters illustrating the meanings and spiritual background of the kanji, such as how the za changed through the centuries, before we practiced kaisho strokes and began brushing zazen in kaisho and then sōsho cursive styles. We also looked at the gyōsho semi cursive style.

Meditative Shodō calligraphy - Zazen

A zen 禅 themed poem that captures some of the spirit of the character is by Ryushu Shutaku:

For all these years, my certain Zen:
Neither I nor the world exist.
The sutras neat within the box,
My cane hooked upon the wall,
I lie at peace in moonlight
Or, hearing water plashing on the rock,
Sit up: none can purchase pleasure such as this:
Spangled across the step-moss, a million coins!

Ryushu Shutaku

Many thanks for taking part and also to participants who shared images of their calligraphy for this post.