Essence of the Way in each Shodo stroke

Inspired by Master Dogen’s Chapter 93 of the Shobogenzo ‘Doushin’ 道心, at the recent Zen Brush monthly calligraphy group by Zoom we were encouraged by these two well known characters dou 道 (Way/ way things are/ road/path) and shin or kokoro 心 (heart/mind/spirit/ aspiration/essence) that often come up in Buddhist writings.

Brushing them in the kaisho as well as the sousho ‘grass writing’ styles of Shodo calligraphy, we also explored their meanings, as well as their combined meaning when written together which could be variously translated as the essence of the way; the aspiration for enlightenment; the spirit to walk the path of freedom.

Dogen’s waka poem (translated by Heine) conveys this mood beautifully:

Seeking the Way
Amid the deepest mountain paths
The retreat I find
None other than
My primordial home: satori!

Master Dogen
The sousho ‘grass writing’ style

In chapter 93 Doushin he writes:

‘We should see the aspiration for awakening as foremost.. we must not see our mind as foremost.. should not forget the unreliability of the world and precariousness of human life’

Translation by Nishijima/Cross

It was great to see the group enjoying the flow of the brush, particularly with the movement of the sousho calligraphy, and finding balance in their own way. 

Folk worked with different sized brushes, ink and papers but were all absorbed by the strokes, shapes and feeling of the kanji 🙂

The next Zen Brush group is on August 24th, for more details please visit the D+P Studio.