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Shakyo – Tracing the Sutras 写経

Shakyo Hannya Shingyo
Practicing intuitive wisdom with each small stroke
Four Vast Vows Blair Thomson Japanese
Deeply, slowly and softly - Shakyo tracing at KSD
Deeply, slowly and softly - Shakyo tracing at KSD
Rhythm and spaciousness in Shakyo of the Four Vast Vows
Unsurpassed and deep - tracing the Kaikyōge and Fuekō
Myohou origins and styles Blair Thomson D+P Studio
Practicing intuitive wisdom with each small stroke
Deeply, slowly and softly - Shakyo tracing at KSD
Shakyo - bringing the Sutra to life with each brush stroke and pen mark

Shakyo meditative and spiritual practice

The practice of Shakyo 写経 is a meditative and heartful practice offered in many temples in Japan. It often starts with tea, chanting and a bow before beginning to slowly trace the original text of a chosen Buddhist Sutra. Blair (Zen name Shogen) has practiced over the years at several zen and other temples in Japan, and enjoys sharing the soothing and magical practice through groups and one to one, both online on Zoom and physical.

Why copy the Sutras?

We trace the calligraphy of several Sutras such as the inspiring Heart Sutra 般若心経, Hannya Shingyo, or the Boundless Life Ten Line Kannon Sutra, 延命十句観音経 Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo, which is short but poetic, full of energy and beautifully written. This sutra has many interpretations, a popular one is that it helps wellbeing in times of sickness or difficulty, and it helps us open our awareness.

We copy the translation of the Heart Sutra by the famous monk Genjo / Xuanzang c 602 – 664, which was popularised in the Saiyuuki / Monkey Magic series, itself based on the fictionalised Chinese novel Journey to the West. We work in the shakyo style of calligraphy developed in China.

People trace this with care to mindfully copy each character, and often people find the experience is peaceful, and nourishes wellbeing. It doesn’t matter whether your writing is good, and you don’t need to have faith in Buddhism or knowledge of Japanese at all. Sutras can be copied in Japanese or English. For many people Shakyo can also be a dedication to their ancestors. And for monks it is a regular part of their temple activity.

This is a quiet practice using body and mind, flourished around the 7th century Tang Dynasty and before, where you grind your own ink and use a small calligraphy brush (or brushpen) and Japanese paper. Blair was instructed in Soto zen and other temples in Japan taught by monks and calligraphy masters, connecting with wider zen practice.

No previous experience is needed at all. You don’t need to have calligraphy materials, and we email you about what you can use in advance of a group or session.

If you would like to find out more about previous Shakyo events please go to the Drawing and Painting Studio Shakyo pages.

Testimonial

Practicing intuitive wisdom with each small stroke

“Nice meditative, focused concentration, I’d very much recommend this course, it’s great. The materials are lovely & sensory”

Gemma

Shakyo Sasakawa event, Glasgow

Deeply, slowly and softly - Shakyo tracing at KSD

Book a One to One Shakyo session

Are you interested in taking one to one private lessons from Blair, or booking a time slot for someone else? Here is our calendar for you to book a 1 hour online Zoom session, select your time below.
Booking for someone else without deciding a time – book on this page instead.

Sutras offered are: Heart Sutra; Boundless Life Ten Line Kannon Sutra; Four Vast Vows; Kaikyoge and Fueko.

Shakyo – Tracing the Sutras online

1hour: £45

Book below

How to book a session

  1. Book with Blair using the calendar – Please first click on a suitable day, then select a time and click confirm. Then enter your details with name and email address, and select which session you are taking.
  2. Please next pay for your session by clicking the Pay with PayPal button. Choose to either Pay with a Debit or Credit Card, or use a PayPal account if you have one.
  3. Lastly please click Schedule Event – that’s it, you’ve booked your session! A confirmation email with Zoom link will be sent (please check your spam if you don’t get it). If you don’t have the Zoom app click here to download. Looking forward to seeing you!
Payment & Terms

Session by Zoom, price for one person. Non refundable but a session can be rearranged (once only) within 3 months, by contacting us with 24 hrs notice. Drawing and Painting Studio accepts no liability for injury or damage. Children must be supervised by an adult.

One to one sessions

Are you interested in taking one to one private lessons from Blair, or booking a time slot for someone else? Here is our calendar for you to book a 1 hour online Zoom session, select your time below.
Booking for someone else without deciding a time – book on this page instead.

Sutras offered are: Heart Sutra; Boundless Life Ten Line Kannon Sutra; Four Vast Vows; Kaikyoge and Fueko.

Shakyo – Tracing the Sutras online

1hour: £45

Book below

How to book a session

  1. Book with Blair using the calendar – Please first click on a suitable day, then select a time and click confirm. Then enter your details with name and email address, and select which session you are taking.
  2. Please next pay for your session by clicking the Pay with PayPal button. Choose to either Pay with a Debit or Credit Card, or use a PayPal account if you have one.
  3. Lastly please click Schedule Event – that’s it, you’ve booked your session! A confirmation email with Zoom link will be sent (please check your spam if you don’t get it). If you don’t have the Zoom app click here to download. Looking forward to seeing you!

Payment

Session by Zoom, price for one person. Non refundable but a session can be rearranged (once only) within 3 months, by contacting us with 24 hrs notice. Drawing and Painting Studio accepts no liability for injury or damage. Children must be supervised by an adult.

Join our online or physical Shakyo groups

We hold regular Shakyo events, such as our online group, for tickets and more info please have a look at our Events and Art groups page.

Deeply, slowly and softly - Shakyo tracing at KSD
Meditative Shakyō tracing of the universal gateway

About Blair

Blair Thomson is a skilled and versatile artist who has exhibited widely (from U.K. to U.S. to Japan) and tutored many individuals and groups since graduation in 2002. At Glasgow School of Art he was traditionally trained in drawing and painting, before going on to study various approaches with other teachers. He has curated exhibitions and been part of public exhibition selection, so he has a wealth of experience to tap into.

Moreover Blair is a kind listener and always enjoys helping others with their artwork. You will feel safe to confide in him about your interests and any worries or uncertainty you have. Any questions you have or guidance you need, Blair will help you.