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Shakyo 写経 copying the sutra of boundless awareness and life
8 November 2020
At our Shakyo group, co-hosted with Glasgow Zen Group, we enjoyed peacefully copying the Boundless Life Ten Phrase Kannon Sutra 延命十句観音経.
It felt right to trace it at this time, being a sutra that has been close to people’s hearts over the centuries and considered by many as one that helps wellbeing in times of sickness or difficulty. It is short – spread over just four full lines including the title – but a sutra of vitality, full of energy.
It was a nice group of people who joined the practice – Blair let folk know about his experience of shakyo in Japanese temples, as well as the history of it in China and Japan, and how to practice it. He demonstrated how to use the traditional materials as well as how to copy or trace with easy to find materials such as a brush pen, pen or even a simple pencil, and how to find a suitable posture and breathing so the practice can be meditative, embodied and comfortable.
We talked a bit about tracing, writing freehand, adding a wish, and writing in Japanese and English. And without too much detail Blair went through each line of the sutra and how the ten phrases can be understood and translated.
We were energised by our tea and snack and after the sound of the large bell and the rhythm of the chanting of this sutra, we had time to trace or copy at our own pace. Thanks to the participants for sending images of their sutra copies below, and thanks to folks for taking part 🙂