The Art of Nothing

ink fluidity
brush strokes blackness of nothing
Zen calligraphy

© Kim M. Russell, 2016


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My response to Carpe Diem #1071 brush (zen-calligraphy)

Today Chèvrefeuille has presented us with a prompt inspired by the tool that is used the most by the so-called Zen Calligrapher, the brush. The art of calligraphy is an ancient way of meditation and contemplation. In ancient Japan the technique, or art, of zen calligraphy has been brought to a level of perfection which we cannot find on other places on our globe. To inspire us, he has shared a YouTube video in which a few examples of writing with a brush are shown, as well as two of his own haiku:

a charcoal drawing
in the tokonoma

koan of life

young monk
brush in hand one with nature
writes Mu

© Chèvrefeuille

* One of the most popular Ichijikan (One -word barriers) in Zen calligraphy is that of Mu(無), which can be translated as nothing or nothingness. This Mu probably is the best known Koan in the Zen Buddhist tradition, and to penetrate on its true meaning, the endeavor in the practice of Zazen or Zen sitting is essential. By the same means, Zen calligraphy must be understood as a realization of this practice, since the Zen calligrapher manifests in his art not just mere technical ability, but his No Mind ( Mushin). So by the gate of Zazen practice, the calligrapher can enter into the practice of Zensho (Zen calligraphy).


10 thoughts on “The Art of Nothing

    1. Thanks! I’m enjoying writing about ‘everyday’ objects and tools. Sometimes it gets a bit repetitive writing about the seasons and blossoms all the time.


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