Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Crazy for Kanji"


H. E. Davey Sensei's Japanese calligraphy will be featured in the upcoming Stone Bridge Press book Crazy for Kanji. A sample of his brush writing, which will appear in the new book, can been seen above. It shows the three different script styles commonly used in Japanese calligraphic art.

The kanji, or "Chinese character," depicted in all three illustrations is do (a.k.a. michi), which means "a road" in its more utilitarian usage and "the Way" in more spiritual terms. Many traditional Japanese arts that are practiced for spiritual realization end with the character for do. Examples are shodo ("the Way of brush calligraphy") and budo ("the martial Way," in other words, martial arts). In the illustration above, do is brushed using kaisho, gyosho, and sosho script styles. Moving from left to right, each script becomes more and more abbreviated and abstract.

You can learn more about how shodo functions as an ancient system of writing, moving meditation, and abstract art, by visiting our sister blog Art of Shodo at http://artofshodo.blogspot.com/.

You can purchase Davey Sensei's latest book The Japanese Way of the Artist, which covers Japanese calligraphy in detail, through Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229545807&sr=8-1

Want to find out more about the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts Integrated Shodo & Meditation program? Just drop by www.senninfoundation.com.

You can read more about The Japanese Way of the Artist and the upcoming Crazy for Kanji at www.stonebridge.com. Stone Bridge Press focuses on books about Japanese culture that will appeal to many readers of this blog.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Robert E. Carter Reviews "The Japanese Way of the Artist"




H. E. Davey, in "The Japanese Way of the Artist," both describes the various "Ways" of the artist, and deftly identifies how these arts transform one who diligently practices them. This anthology of three previous works makes available the broad strokes, as well as the practical details, of the Japanese arts. Davey's writing is highly accessible and remarkably accurate and insightful. This is an important source for understanding the Japanese and their artistic "Ways."

About the Reviewer: Dr. Robert E. Carter, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy for Canada’s Trent University, has authored numerous works on Japanese spirituality and meditation, including The Japanese Arts & Self-Cultivation, Encounter with Enlightenment: A Study of Japanese Ethics, and Becoming Bamboo: Western and Eastern Explorations of the Meaning of Life.

ForeWord Magazine Review

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty
by: H.E. DaveyIssue Month:
November/December 2002
Category:
Spirituality
Publisher:
Stone Bridge Press
50 illustrations
244 pages
Softcover
$18.95
ISBN: 188065671X

A spiritual path can emerge from learning Japanese calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, or martial arts. While millions of people around the world begin these practices, few go deep enough to experience the spiritual dimensions that are possible. How-to guides rarely cover enlightenment. This one, however, brings forty-five concepts the underpinning of all traditional Japanese cultural practices into focus. Understanding these Ways, the essence of living, points readers toward asking profound questions, getting inspired to take up a practice, and awakening to ultimate reality.The author illustrates how Japanese arts, followed with the right attitudes, can turn ongoing practice into moving meditation: "The Ways involve activity, and so their underlying principles can be discovered only by doing." Continued practice eventually embodies these essential universal truths in the body and mind of the practitioner, to achieve harmonious and effective ways of being in the world. A lifetime of mindful practice creates a physical understanding of, for example, in-yo, the Japanese equivalent of yin-yang, "the basic, complementary, and inseparable dualism evidenced in the relative world." Davey explains such aesthetic and spiritual terms at length, including some that Westerners may think they know like ki (life energy) or Do (the Way).

Connecting with the deepest possibilities in Japanese arts is a tall order. Davey is one Westerner able to deliver. He learned Japanese martial arts from his father and has practiced since he was five. He is now the highest-ranking American in the Nihon Jujutsu and Kobudo divisions of the Kokusai Budoin. This federation, sponsored by the Japanese Imperial Family, has conferred on him the title of Kyoshi or "Master's Certificate," equivalent to a sixth- to eighth-degree black belt. He is currently President of the Sennin Foundation, sponsor of Michi ("The Way") Online, an Internet magazine. In addition, he practices and teaches Japanese calligraphy and brush painting as well as a Japanese form of yoga at the highest levels. He has written books on the particulars of these Ways.

Because this learning must be experiential, there's much that won't be mastered by reading alone. However, the book offers some exercises called "experiments" to physically learn about the human center of gravity (hara), calmness (ochitsuki), and ki. An appendix provides sources for finding a good sensei (teacher). This holistic perspective presents a practical base of philosophy-in-action for those who want to take their Japanese arts beyond surface understanding. (November)

"Brush Meditation" Reviewed at Reader Views

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony
H.E. Davey
Stone Bridge Press (2007)
ISBN 9781880656389
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (4/07)
(From
http://www.readerviews.com/)

Once in a while I find it very helpful to venture outside of the realm of things that normally interest me and that I have some knowledge about. Learning about new things is a very stimulating experience and it seems to me that it keeps my brain in good working order. As far as the Japanese art forms are concerned, I am vaguely familiar with the flower arranging, but that is where my knowledge – and even real awareness – of such art forms end. Picking up H. E. Davey’s “Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony” was a real eye-opener.

The author begins this book with explanation and history of shodo, continues with the complex connections of mind, body and brush, and finishes with simple step-by-step exercises for the basics of shodo. The illustrations and the photos would certainly be very helpful for anybody who intends to try their hand at this ancient art form.

Mr. Davey’s writing is fluid and engaging. He does not get overly technical and is easy to understand. The book kept my attention and made me wish for more balance in my life. Let me give an example of Mr. Davey’s writing here:

“The kanji, or written characters, used in both Japan and China have transcended their utilitarian function and collectively serve as a visually stirring piece of fine art. Shodo allows the dynamic movement of the artist’s ki (“life energy” or “spirit”) to become observable in the form of rich black ink. In great examples of shodo, you can sense both the rhythm of music as well as the smooth, elegant, and balanced construction of refined architecture. Many practitioners of this art feel that the visible rhythm of Japanese calligraphy ultimately embodies a “picture of the mind” – and accomplished calligraphers recognize that it actually discloses your spiritual state. This recognition is concisely summed up by the traditional Japanese saying: […] If your mind is correct, the brush will be correct. “

Although Mr. Davey stresses several times that one needs to find an instructor to truly begin the exploration of shodo, I found “Brush Meditation” to be an interesting book for anybody who would like to learn at least the basics of shodo as well as anybody who just wishes to become more familiar with the traditional Japanese arts and way of living.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An Article by H. E. Davey, Author of "The Japanese Way of the Artist"

Shodo: Japanese Brush Meditation
Article and Calligraphy
by
H. E. Davey

More and more Americans are captivated by Japan’s traditional art forms. In the 21st century, it’s almost as common for children to participate in martial arts like judo as to play baseball. Your wife may study Japanese flower arrangement, while you read the latest book on Zen released by a major American publisher. Although classical Japanese arts have grown in popularity, they aren’t inevitably well understood, and not everyone realizes that martial arts (budo), flower arrangement (kado), tea ceremony (chado), and other activities are actually spiritual paths.

Note that the terms for each of these disciplines end in the word “do,” which means the “way,” as in a way of life leading to spiritual realization. Not only are such arts more than what’s seen on the surface, numerous other activities were “spiritualized” in ancient Japan. Many of these arts are little known in the West, or at least little understood. One of the most popular arts in Japan, also ending with the designation “do,” is shodo—the “way of brush calligraphy.” Western participation in shodo is much smaller than in Japan, and many people have never heard of it.

Of course, a few American art connoisseurs may have seen shodo in museums or books, and some young people in the USA sport tattoos of Japanese characters. Still, even Westerners that know of shodo seem to think that it’s too esoteric, or too difficult to read, to be accessible to most non-Japanese.

I’m living proof that this needn’t be the case.

Discovering Shodo
I began practicing martial arts at age five, tutored by my father, who had studied these arts initially from Japanese-Americans. He later lived in Japan, where his martial arts study continued and intensified.

In addition to the aiki-jujutsu that I learned from my dad, I enrolled in a local judo school. Even as a child, I admired the beautiful Japanese brush writing on the walls of our dojo, or training hall. I didn’t know what it said, but I knew I liked it.

Skipping ahead a few years, I grew interested in painting and drawing in high school and majored in art in college. I also began studying Japanese language, meditation, and healing. And I still admired the calligraphy I saw in homes and businesses of Japanese-American friends, but no teacher of shodo was available to me.

Jumping forward even further, in 1981, I formed the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in Northern California. The primary focus of study at the Sennin Foundation Center is Shin-shin-toitsu-do, the “Way of Mind and Body Unification.” Shin-shin-toitsu-do is a form of Japanese yoga and meditation created in the early 1900s by Nakamura Tempu Sensei. In addition to Japanese yoga, the Sennin Foundation Center offers instruction in Japanese healing arts and martial arts (aiki-jujutsu). I teach all three arts, and over the years, I’ve developed teachers to assist me. However, I also wanted to offer my students optional instruction in brush writing. Unfortunately, in 1981, I’d still hadn’t found a shodo teacher that I wanted to study under.

Practice Begins
After searching for years, in 1986, I met Kobara Ranseki Sensei, one of the most skilled shodo artists living outside of Japan. Deeply impressed, I began practicing with Kobara Sensei, originator of the Ranseki Sho Juku of San Francisco. Kobara Sensei has evolved a distinctive type of shodo and a creative program of instruction. He has, moreover, received numerous awards for excellence from various shodo associations as well as the Japanese government. With his help, I was in time able to exhibit my artwork annually at the International Shodo Exhibition in Japan, where I’ve also received awards, including Jun Taisho—the “Associate Grand Prize.” In 1993, I received Shihan-dai teaching certification, the highest rank in Ranseki Sho Juku calligraphy.

Upon receiving certification, I began offering my students of Shin-shin-toitsu-do instruction in shodo. Like Shin-shin-toitsu-do, shodo is a “way,” traditionally functioning in Japan as both fine art and moving meditation. As such, it’s ideal for students of Shin-shin-toitsu-do or any type of meditation.

Yet some of my students were intimidated by the “foreignness” of shodo, and few Westerners seem to grasp how it functions as dynamic meditation that leads to deeper concentration, willpower, and calmness. To counteract this lack of understanding, I authored Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony in 1999. And I hope this article will also lead to a greater appreciation of shodo and its spiritual components in the West.

The Roots of Shodo

Around 2700 BC, according to Chinese tradition, an enigmatic man with four eyes called Tsangh-hsieh created the first Chinese characters. Captivated by the footprints of beasts and birds, he gave birth to the earliest Chinese system of writing. The God of Heaven was believed to have been so moved by Tsangh-hsieh's bird-based characters that he made grain drop from the clouds as a symbol of his happiness with humankind.

Unfortunately for our four-eyed friend, archaeology paints a different picture. Drawings engraved on pieces of tortoise shell and oracle bone date from the Shang Period in China, which is from 1766-1122 BC. These pictures were the archetypes of Chinese characters.
Ancient shamans would bore holes in the shells and/or bones, which were then placed in a sacred fire. The surfaces of these objects would crack and split. Chinese priests, who etched their impressions of “The Voice of Heaven” on the bone or shell using simple sketches, deciphered the resulting fissures. Eventually these pictographs were utilized for legal transactions, conducted via the exchange of etched strips of bamboo or wood. Later, such writings came into religious and official usage as bell inscriptions.

Much later in history, these inscriptions developed into the kanji, or “Chinese characters,” that Japanese and Chinese are familiar with today. Various script styles, such as kaisho (similar to printing in English), gyosho (a semi-cursive script), and sosho (an abstract, cursive form of writing), eventually evolved.

Starting around 552 AD, many elements of Chinese culture came to the Japanese island nation. Chinese characters also arrived on Japan's shores during this era.

Japan had a spoken language, but no system of writing at this time. Thus, the Chinese method of written communication was readily adopted. Initially the Japanese used the entire multitude of Chinese scripts, embracing quite a few of the Chinese readings while adding as many of their own. Characters were later modified in Japan, and new phonetic scripts called hiragana and katakana were born.

An Ink Painting of the Spirit
The spoken languages and cultures of Japan and China differ greatly, but they share a common set of Asian characters, which although pronounced differently by Chinese and Japanese, often convey similar meanings. It’s important to note here that while these characters are utilized for written communication, Japanese calligraphy should not be thought of as just penmanship. In light of the fact that Chinese characters began as simplified drawings or pictograms, it’s evident that no clear-cut dividing line can be found between drawing, ink painting (sumi-e), and calligraphy. Ink painting and shodo originally used the same brush, ink, and paper. Even certain brush strokes are similar. Shodo can be thought of as a system of writing and abstract art originally based on abbreviated drawings. In characters like mountain (yama), for example, it’s still easy to see three mountain peaks.
Kanji transcended their utilitarian function and collectively serve as visually stirring fine art. Shodo allows the dynamic movement of the artist’s ki ("spirit") to become observable in the form of rich black ink. In great examples of shodo, you sense the rhythm of music as well as the elegant balanced construction of refined architecture. Many practitioners feel that the visible rhythm of Japanese calligraphy ultimately embodies a picture of the mind, and calligraphers recognize that it discloses our spiritual state. This recognition is summed up by the saying: Kokoro tadashikereba sunawachi fude tadashii—"If your mind is correct, the brush will be correct."

Shodo and Mind and Body Harmony
With a bit of thought, it’s apparent that the mind controls the body. Based on this line of thought, it is equally clear that the actions of the body serve as a reflection of the mind. Witness the slumped posture of someone who’s depressed and the shaking hand of a nervous student about to take an exam.

In like manner, in shodo the mind controls the brush through the hand, and the lines the brush creates reflect the mind. In this way, shodo functions as an outer reflection of our mental state.

Some Japanese calligraphers and psychologists have written books on the examination of personality through calligraphy. Just as American companies have employed handwriting analysts to help them select the best individuals for executive posts, the Japanese traditionally expected their leaders in any field to display refined, serene script.

It is even said that health defects are revealed in byohitsu, “sick strokes.” This stems from the belief that brush strokes unveil the state of the body and subconscious mind—its strengths and weaknesses—at the moment the brush is put to paper. It has also been held that the subconscious can be influenced positively by copying consummate examples of calligraphy by extraordinary individuals. Tradition teaches that using this technique, you cultivate strength of character akin to the artist being copied.

Even today, some of Japan’s highest executives and politicians endeavor to develop traits for success by reproducing the artwork of an emperor or famous religious leader. At its ultimate level, shodo has historically been regarded as a means of refining personality.

What’s more, most people want to realize their greatest personal potential. We want to bring the full force of our minds and bodies to bear upon whatever we do in life. Yet for many of us, it’s difficult to coordinate the mind and body. The body may turn the pages of a magazine or the steering wheel of a car, but our minds are frequently elsewhere. Such lack of attention becomes visibly apparent in shodo, and thus Japanese calligraphy serves as a means of learning how to unite the mind and body. Just as a car only functions well when the front and rear wheels move in the identical direction, we only display our full potential when the mind and body harmoniously work toward a related aim.

In shodo, thoughts and actions must match, and we must direct the full, coordinated energy of the mind and body into the artwork we create. Failure to do so causes characters to end up where we hadn’t intended, lines to nervously quiver, and the overall creation to lack vigor and grace. In essence, shodo offers Americans the same benefit it has traditionally offered Japanese—an instantaneous, visible barometer of mind and body unification.

Shodo for the West
Just as many Western people appreciate jazz, rock and roll, or blues without being able to read music, so can Americans appreciate shodo when they’re properly exposed to it. Since shodo is an abstract art, it’s not strictly necessary to be able to read Chinese characters or Japanese phonetic scripts to admire the dynamic beauty of shodo. Within Japanese calligraphy, we find the essential elements that constitute all art: creativity, poise, rhythm, gracefulness, and the beauty of line. While shodo is a fun way to learn about Japanese language, initial lack of Japanese reading ability needn’t be a stumbling block to shodo appreciation, and the universal aspects of shodo can be recognized and admired by every culture.

Bringing the mind fully into the immediate moment, realizing mind and body harmony, seeing directly into the actual character of the mind—all of this relates to meditation and all of these points are part of shodo. Shodo remains one of ancient Japan’s most sophisticated arts of moving meditation.

About the Author: H. E. Davey is the Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts, which is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at www.senninfoundation.com and by telephone at 510-526-7518 (evenings). He is the author of the books Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony, Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation, Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty, and Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu.
The Writings of H. E. Davey

Selected Publications

Listed below are some of H. E. Davey’s award-winning books

Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu (McGraw-Hill)

“H. E. Davey’s book provides a useful overview of this fascinating art and a sampling of techniques from Saigo-ryu aikijujutsu . . . I would recommend Davey’s book to readers who are unfamiliar with aikijujutsu and looking for a concise introduction to this somewhat esoteric martial art.”
Journal of Asian Martial Arts

The first book in English about the techniques, history, and philosophy of aiki-jujutsu, a Japanese martial art. Published in 1997, Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu features Introductions by Sato Shizuya (jujutsu 10th degree black belt), Kawabata Terutaka (kobudo 9th degree), and Walter Todd (judo 8th degree, aikido 6th degree), among the world’s highest ranking martial arts experts.

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony (Stone Bridge Press)

“H. E. Davey combines a remarkable technical facility in the Japanese art of the brush with a deep understanding of its spiritual profundities. His book offers a marvelous practical introduction to Japanese calligraphy as well as insights into the essence of the art.”
Dave Lowry, author of Sword and Brush and numerous works on Japanese culture

One of the top ten best selling Stone Bridge Press books of 1999, Brush Meditation details the time-honored art of Japanese calligraphy and how it functions as meditation in motion. Read more about the book at http://brushmeditation.blogspot.com/. Read an excerpt here: http://books.google.com/books?id=HccZLz4VFvoC.

The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation (Stone Bridge Press)

“A very welcome addition to students of Japanese culture, interior decorators, florists, and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in floral arrangements, The Japanese Way of the Flower is an impressive, authoritative, and comprehensive introduction.”
Internet Book Watch

Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arrangement, and The Japanese Way of the Flower shows how it can lead to a deeper connection with nature and life. Published in 2000, it received numerous positive reviews. Read more about the book at http://japanesewayoftheflower.blogspot.com/.

Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation (Stone Bridge Press)

“Will make many yogis feel right at home... Davey's readable, friendly guide is definitely worth a look.”
Yoga Journal

The first book in English on the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation. Published in 2001, it received top reviews around the globe, including favorable comments from Yoga Journal in the USA and Tempu magazine in Japan. Yoga Japonesa: O Caminho da Meditacao Dinamica, the Brazilian version of Japanese Yoga was published by Editora Cultrix in 2003. Read more about the book at http://japaneseyoga.blogspot.com/. Read an excerpt here: http://books.google.com/books?id=285lqWlQpq4C.

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty (Stone Bridge Press)

“Demonstrating the Japanese aesthetic of elegance (shibumi), Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts--calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremonies, painting--and the spiritual meaning of such practice.”
Publishers Weekly

Published in 2002, Living the Japanese Arts & Ways covers many classical Japanese arts and crafts, showing that universal principles of mind-body harmony underlie disciplines as diverse as martial arts, calligraphy, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and other art forms. In 2003, Spirituality & Health magazine presented H. E. Davey with its Book of the Year Award for Living the Japanese Arts & Ways. The same book was one of ForeWord magazine's top five books and a finalist for their Book of the Year Award. Read more about the book at http://japaneseartsandways.blogspot.com/. Read an excerpt here:
http://books.google.com/books?id=ywgRtQC-YdsC.

The Japanese Way of the Artist (Stone Bridge Press)

Published in 2007, this anthology features some of H. E. Davey’s most popular books: Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower, and Living the Japanese Arts & Ways. Three complete works, with an all new and detailed Introduction by the author. Read more about the book at http://japanesewayoftheartist.blogspot.com/.

Selected Magazines and Newspapers

H. E. Davey’s articles and Japanese calligraphic art have been featured in magazines and newspapers throughout the United States and Japan. Some of these publications are listed below.

· Body Mind Spirit
· Excellence: A Magazine about Porsche Cars
· Furyu: Journal of Classical Japanese Martial Arts and Culture
· Gendo
· Hokubei Mainichi
· Journal of Asian Martial Arts
· Karate Kung-Fu Illustrated
· Miata Magazine
· Miracles Magazine
· Nichibei Times
· Porsche Panorama
· Seeds of Unfolding: Spiritual Ideas for Daily Living
· Shudokan Martial arts Association Journal
· Yoga Journal

Integrated Shodo & Meditation



Shodo means the “way of calligraphy,” and it is one of the most respected Asian fine arts. Painted with a brush and ink, Japanese calligraphy uses centuries old kanji (“Chinese characters”), which due to their pictographic nature have similarities to abstract expressionism. Balance, grace, dignity, vibrant movement, and the beauty of line combine to create a dynamic ink painting of the mind that people the world over have come to admire.

The Sennin Foundation Center offers you an opportunity to study genuine Japanese shodo—an art rarely taught in English —for artistic expression and moving meditation. Students study kanji as well as hiragana and katakana—phonetic scripts—along with classical ink painting. You’ll also learn to brush age-old haiku and waka poems, sometimes with accompanying ink and water painted illustrations (sumi-e). Sumi-e is a bit similar to Western watercolor painting, and shodo is a fun way to study Japanese language, while you learn about Japanese culture.

H. E. Davey Sensei, the primary instructor at the Sennin Foundation Center, is the author of Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony, Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty, and The Japanese Way of the Artist. He is a top student of the late Kobara Ranseki Sensei of Kyoto, the founder of Ranseki Sho Juku calligraphy. He studied with his teacher for 20 years, and he received the highest rank in Ranseki Sho Juku brush writing. He exhibits his artwork annually at the International Shodo Exhibition in Japan, where he received Jun Taisho, the “Associate Grand Prize,” among numerous other awards. Davey Sensei’s artwork has been featured in many American and Japanese magazines and newspapers.

Integrated Shodo & Meditation is a special program created by Davey Sensei to teach traditional Ranseki Sho Juku shodo to Westerners in an accessible manner that leads to meditation. This class has been liked to “Zen with a brush,” and it combines group instruction in Shin-shin-toitsu-do forms of meditation with private lessons in Japanese calligraphy. Along with the combination of meditation and art, students learn exercises for enhancing ki, human “life energy” (chi in Chinese). Strengthening ki benefits our health, and ki is the enigmatic and dynamic force behind beautifully powerful calligraphy and painting.

Authentic shodo is rarely taught in English in the West. You can read more about Davey Sensei, Kobara Sensei, and Integrated Shodo & Meditation at the Art of Shodo blog. Contact us soon at 510-526-7518 to learn how shodo and meditation can help you discover beauty and serenity in your daily life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Art of Shodo Blog


To learn more about the Japanese calligraphy in The Japanese Way of the Artist, visit Art of shodo, our sister blog, at http://artofshodo.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Renga Roads Review



Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, one of the books included in The Japanese Way of the Artist, was reviewed at Renga Roads by Japanese poetry expert Jim Wilson. The review can be found below, and to visit Renga Roads go to http://rengaroads.blogspot.com/2008/05/living-japanese-arts-ways-review.html.


Living the Japanese Arts & Ways:45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty
by H. E. Davey


A Review


Those of us who take an interest in Japanese arts are often attracted by the philosophical view surrounding these arts. By arts I mean traditions such as Tea Ceremony, Kado or Flower Arranging (also known as Ikebana), Kyudo (or ceremonial archery), and, of course, such poetic forms as Renga. It is not easy for non-Japanese to grasp the esthetic categories through which Japanese arts and ways are formulated. There are some differences between western and Japanese approaches and these manifest in both big and small ways. For example, in the west flower arranging is considered a merely decorative pastime, while in Japan flower arranging evolved into a high art. Why is this so?


The best presentation of the basic ideas underlying Japanese approaches to the arts I have found is H. E. Davey’s “Living the Japanese Arts & Ways.” Davey is the Director of the Sennin Foundation for Japanese Cultural Arts in the East Bay. He is an accomplished practitioner of several of these arts, including Japanese Yoga and Calligraphy. He has been certified by traditional Japanese schools.


The book is divided into 45 sections, grouped into four chapters: 1. The Essence of the Japanese Arts & Ways, 2. Spiritual Aesthetics in the Japanese Arts & Ways, 3. Mind & Body Unification in the Japanese Arts and Ways, and 4. Traditions & Personal Relationships in the Japanese Arts & Ways. Each of the 45 Sections is headed by a Japanese term, such as “Yugen”, “Mono no Aware”, "Wabi", and "Furyu". These terms are then explained and illustrated. As the book unfolds, and as new terms are introduced, the new terms are related to the previously introduced terms so that a fabric of relationships among the terms is gradually woven.
In addition the book begins with a broad overview of East Asian philosophy that is at once insightful and accessible to the ordinary reader. I was particularly impressed by the author’s emphasis on Confucian influences on the arts and ways; a point which, I think, many western writers on this topic have missed. There is also a section on the influence of Shinto, which is equally insightful. Davey really has a broad grasp of Japanese cultural foundations.


Davey sees the arts and ways of Japan as sharing an underlying view which he states as seeing the universal in the particular. That is one reason why Flower Arranging could become a high art in Japan, because the idea is that, when framed correctly, one can apprehend that which is universal in the particularity of the impermanent flower arrangement, and thus a flower arrangement can function as a gate to this universality.


Davey does not talk directly about Renga in his book, but his book touches on many of the esthetic ideals that are foundational for Renga and which all Renga poets shared. The idea of a flow of images is rooted in this understanding that the universal resides in the particular and for this reason Renga, like Flower Arranging, became a Way, or Path, in Japan during its heyday. I think Renga can still function in that way. I have read this book several times and found each reading to be helpful. I highly recommend Davey’s book for all those interested in the Japanese approach to the arts and particularly for those interested in Renga.


Note: “Living the Japanese Arts and Ways” was originally published as a separate book, but I believe it has gone out of print. It has, however, been reprinted in its entirety in “The Japanese Way of the Artist”, by the same author which contains, in addition to the “Arts and Ways”, his book on calligraphy, “Brush Meditation”, and his book on flower arranging, “The Japanese Way of the Flowers”.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

An Excerpt from "Brush Meditation"

The website Michi Online (http://www.michionline.org/) offers an excerpt of Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony. This book is out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1

To read the Michi Online excerpt of Brush Meditation go here: http://www.michionline.org/summer99/page11.html

Stephen Fabian Review of "Brush Mediation"



Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony is out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1



Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony



"Shodo ideally represents one of the greatest levels of harmony between thought and action: it both serves as a mechanism for depicting this unity and supplies a path for cultivating it."

H. E. Davey



This brief excerpted quote is a great summary of the focus of H. E. Davey's new book. In it, he not only describes how working with black ink, brush, and white paper reflects the level of personal integration and harmony, but how to use this medium to integrate and harmonize the self. His insights into these processes are rich and clearly expressed, and beautifully illustrated: readers can carry away both inspiring examples of quality shodo (Japanese calligraphy), and exercises with which to begin their own progress on this Way.



After a short preface and introductory linguistic orientation, the work unfolds in four chapters. The first, "The Language of Shodo," might be considered the roots: it traces the historical basis of Japanese writing and calligraphy, then explains several fundamental aesthetic principles and spiritual concepts--such as wabi, sabi, shibumi, shibui, ki, and hara--that underlie this and other traditional Japanese arts. Chapter 2, "Mind & Body Connection," is the central stem or trunk that grows from these roots and is the support or core from which the later material grows. In it are included specific "experiments" to help relax, focus, and connect our mental and physical abilities, critical for artistic expression via a brush with black ink on white paper.



Branching from this trunk is "Uniting Mind, Body & Brush" (Chapter 3) in which a further series of "experiments" walk us through preparations for actually putting ink on paper, including correct posture and manipulation of the artistic tools. The final chapter solidifies our understanding of how critical is a unity of mind, body, and medium in brush work, as we learn for ourselves that as a medium, black ink brushed on white paper is a valuable and incomparable insight into our very being. In this medium there is no going back, no alterations, no corrections: your character and artistry are starkly revealed with each stroke. From selecting the items to be used, to grinding your own ink, to instruction in the shape and flow of basic strokes, this chapter helps cultivate the reader's own blossoming in this meditative art. Sources for necessary materials and suggestions on finding a qualified instructor, glossary, index, and brief afterword round out the text.



The illustrations accompanying the text are certainly among its greatest attractions, and at the same time substantiate the advice Mr. Davey has to share with us: as an award-winning calligrapher, he can clearly "walk his talk." His illustrations are beautiful and inspirational, full of vibrant life and clarity. Their quality, as much as his compelling language, encourages us into a deeper unity of self as accomplished through regular study and practice of this traditional Japanese art. While I have some reservations about the direct correlation between an artist's character and the painted strokes on a page, it seems clear that challenging oneself along the "Way of Calligraphy" has many and deep benefits for artistic expression and the cultivation of self. Anyone interested in such pursuits should do him/herself a favor and read this book.



About the Reviewer: Dr. Stephen Fabian is the author of "Clearing Away Clouds: Nine Lessons for Life from the Martial Arts" (Weatherhill). Dr. Fabian's background is in anthropology. Having lived in Japan, he has had considerable exposure to Japanese culture, along with over two decades of training in Japanese and Korean martial arts and ways.

An Excerpt from "The Japanese Way of the Flower"


The website Michi Online (http://www.michionline.org/) offers the an excerpt of The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation. This book is out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1


To read the Michi Online excerpt of The Japanese Way of the Flower go here: http://www.michionline.org/fall00/page26.html

Still Another Review of "Brush Meditation"




The website Spirituality & Practice (http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/) offers the following review of Brush Meditation. Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony is out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1




Reviewed By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Brush Meditation A Japanese Way to Mind and Body Harmony
H. E. Davey
Stone Bridge Press 06/99
Paperback
$14.95
ISBN: 1-880656-38-8

As D. T. Suzuki observed, "Art is studied in Japan not only for art's sake, but for spiritual enlightenment." When you practice "shodo" or the way of calligraphy, you also develop your mind in the Zen way. It is a path that enables one to cultivate calm and concentration.

H. E. Davey, the director of the Sennin Foundation for Japanese Cultural Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, begins with a brief history of calligraphy and painting in Asia. According to the author, "Shodo allows the dynamic movement of the artist's ki (life energy or spirit) to become observable in the form of rich black ink. . . . Many practitioners of this art feel that the visible rhythm of Japanese calligraphy ultimately embodies a 'picture of the mind.' " That is the meaning of the saying "If your mind is correct, the brush will be correct." Davey explores the basic techniques of controlling the brush. This edifying paperback delivers the goods and makes crystal clear the close connection between art, meditation, and self-mastery.

More Reviews of "Brush Meditation"

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony is out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1
Review:
"Davey ... opens a joyful, participatory path toward mind-body-universe harmony, creating a pleasurable experience from first sight through continued touch. More than just an art adventure, this book introduces one to the spirit of Asian culture... Brush up on your own spirituality with simple step-by-step exercises that explore life's mysteries." -
The NAPRA ReView

Review:
"Davey's expert knowledge of Japan and meditation are evident as he introduces readers to Japanese calligraphy, one of the country's most interesting and intricate practices... A solid introduction for those who want to pursue brushwork studies, and an interesting read for students of Japanese meditation." -Today's Librarian

Michi Online Review of "Brush Meditation"

The website Michi Online (http://www.michionline.org/) offers the following review of Brush Meditation. This book is out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1


Review of Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony, By H. E. Davey
Reviewed by Dave Lowry

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony (Stone Bridge Press), ISBN 1-880656-47-7, $16.95, soft cover, 144 pages, by H. E. Davey

Strike with the katana, the Japanese long sword. Arrange a blossom in that brief interval after it's been cut, before it withers. Whisk a bowl of tea into a perfect froth. Seemingly disparate activities, yet each demands a similar sense of irrevocable action; absolute commitment; total coordination of mind and body. Once begun, none can be retracted. The consequences of each are obvious: a blunder is, if anything, more manifest than a flawless execution. In perhaps no other Japanese form of creative impulse is this concept of ichi-go, ichi-e--"one encounter, one chance"--more dramatic or obvious than when the calligrapher first touches an ink-wet brush to the dry expanse of white paper before him. Shodo, the Way of the Brush, exemplifies the spirit of Japanese art. In its potential for artistic expression contained within the rigid demands of form lies the challenge and the infinite reward of all the classical Ways of Japan.

From the budo (martial arts) to kado (or ikebana) to chado, the discipline of the tea ceremony, the range of these traditional Japanese Ways introduced to the West in the past half century has been extensive. Shodo, for the most part, remains an exception. The elegant art of the Japanese brush has, in large degree, been overlooked by Westerners in pursuit of the various Ways.

Instruction outside Japan is limited. There are a few books on the subject; nearly all focussed on technical aspects of the art or else scholarly in direction, devoted to tracing the development of brush writing from its origins in China to its importation and evolution in Japan. In pleasant contrast, H. E. Davey's new book, Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony, takes a unique approach in introducing shodo to the general public outside Japan. Quoting calligrapher Kobara Ranseki, who notes that "Every time I teach, I explain that art is balance," the author adopts a similar strategy in presenting shodo: a balanced one. The philosophical underpinnings of the craft are juxtaposed with practical advice on how to sit when practicing calligraphy, how to grasp the brush, what to look for in the shape and proper structure of the written character. Chapters are nicely balanced, with a history of ecriture in China and Japan, followed by an exploration of the mind-body connexions pursued by the student of calligraphy.

Then comes a chapter on the correct attitudes and habits of the shodoka ("calligrapher"), and finally one featuring instructions for calligraphic compositions and projects. The result is a well-organized, comprehensive introduction to the Way of the brush, with a number of points to recommend it.

As one reads through the book, another, incidentally, from Stone Bridge Press which is rapidly gaining a reputation as a quality purveyor of books about Japan, some observations occur. Included in the closing chapter are directions for brushing an enso, for example, the smooth circle of ink that is a provenance and signature of the Zen adept. Despite the do-it-yourself enso, Zen's overall contributions to shodo are given a mercifully short shrift here. The overemphasis on this sect of exoteric Buddhism in Western literature on all the Japanese Do ("Ways") has far eclipsed other equally important influences on them. Native Shinto sensibilities, Taoist cosmology, the arcane lore of mikkyo Buddhist teachings: all have been consistently ignored in the interpretation of Japan's arts. And so Davey's dismissal of all calligraphy produced by Zen adepts as being necessarily great or even competent is refreshing. On the other hand, a great deal is made in this book of the operation and importance of ki energies during shodo. This may irritate some readers impatient with the over-mystification of ki which has become practically a cottage industry among too many non-Japanese authors bent on draping Japan's artistic forms in impenetrable mysticism. In the author's defense, it must be noted that he is a no-nonsense pragmatist when it comes to ki. He is using the concept primarily as a way of explaining the control of energy, the conscious expression of spirit, the flow of intent from the mind of the shodoka to the brush in his hand to the flowering of the character on paper.

Davey struggles a bit when he explains the actual mechanics of making the three basic strokes of brush calligraphy. That is understandable. The simplest basic of any Do is impossible to describe through words alone. Ask the chajin (tea ceremony student), for instance, to try to write directions for the basics of fukusa-sabaki. These are techniques which, common to all the Ways, simply cannot be adequately explained in print, nor mastered unless one is directly under the tutelage of a teacher. This book introduces the skills and makes no claims to do more in that regard. As much as any "how-to" text, instructions for controlling the line and shape of written characters are clear, detailed, and sufficient to compel the reader to take out ink, brush, and paper, and to "give it a try." The book's usefulness and value, in addition to providing the technical basics of calligraphy, however, lies in the broader scope of rendering for the reader the process of undertaking shodo, or any of the Japanese artistic disciplines. Brush Meditation addresses a number of concepts that should occupy the calligrapher as well as anyone with an interest in these Ways. The author warns, for example, about the pitfalls of boredom, repetition, and the constant demand of systematic practice, and his comments on overcoming these are illuminating. His discussion of the spiritual component that elevates craft into art is informed and inspiring. He describes wonderfully the conflict between a natural spontaneity--which is the goal of anyone following a Do--and the vital adherence to a set form-which is vital to achieving that goal.

"If your mind is correct, the brush will be correct," the author reminds. The adage is equally valid contrapuntally. Beautiful calligraphy emanates from a correctly tuned mind. This is clearly Davey's motivation and intent for following in the path of the brush. His view of shodo is as a means of personal transformation and self-cultivation; his book is directed at sharing this perspective. Brush Meditation offers a splendid glimpse into the discipline of Japanese calligraphy as more than a purely artistic or communicative medium. It is an enjoyable read, one that educates as it stimulates the imagination, and is sure to be a welcome, quickly ink-stained addition to the library of those with a serious interest in the Ways of traditional Japan.

Dave Lowry
Mr. Dave Lowry literally grew up in the Japanese cultural arts. As a boy, he commenced a lifelong study of Yagyu Shinkage Ryu swordsmanship under a Japanese teacher who was living in Missouri. In 1985, Mr. Lowry's experiences growing up as a Westerner, who was deeply immersed in Japanese cultural and martial arts, formed the basis for Autumn Lightning (Shambhala), his first book, which was widely acclaimed. His sequel to this book, Persimmon Wind, was recently published by Tuttle.

In addition to Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Mr. Lowry has trained in karate-do and a variety of modern martial ways. His current and primary martial arts activities are focused on Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Shindo Muso Ryu (an old combative art utilizing a four-foot staff), and aikido.

He is heavily involved with the Japanese community in the St. Louis area, and he has practiced a wide variety of Japanese arts including go (an ancient Japanese game), shodo (calligraphy), kado (flower arrangement), and chado (tea ceremony). Mr. Lowry is also active in the organization and running of the St. Louis Japanese Festival, the largest such festival in North America. He is on the Executive Board of the St. Louis Japanese Festival as well, and he is the President of the St. Louis-Suwa Sister City Committee.

Mr. Dave Lowry has a degree in English, and works as a professional writer. He has authored numerous books, including Sword and Brush (Shambhala); his monthly columns appear in several martial arts magazines, and he is the restaurant critic for St. Louis Magazine.

Spirituality & Practice Review of "The Japanese Way of the Flower"

The website Spirituality & Practice (http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/) offers the following review of The Japanese Way of the Flower. This book is out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1
The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation
H. E. Davey, Ann Kameoka
Stone Bridge Press 09/00
Paperback $16.95
ISBN: 1-880656-47-7

According to an old Japanese legend, a young girl came to her local well to draw water, only to discover that a trailing vine had wound itself around the rope that pulled the bucket. Baking in the sunlight, a single blossom had opened itself to the day. The girl savored the flower's beauty for a few moments. Then, in order not to disturb the plant, she walked out of her way to the next well to draw her water. This is an example of union with the "flower heart."

In this sturdy and illuminating examination of kado, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, H. E. Davey, founder and director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts, and Ann Kameoka, a certified instructor in Ikenobo-style flower arranging, reveal how this way leads to personal transformation. The paperback begins with a history of the art and moves on to an exploration of the relationship between the mind and body of the kado student. The authors have included meditation exercises that can be used with flower arranging. They then present basic flower compositions with color photographs, diagrams, and step-by-step instructions. Sources for flower arrangement supplies are listed in the back of the book.

One of the most poignant chapters zeroes in on the fundamental principles of kado. They include harmony, asymmetrical balance, artlessness, impermanence, and oneness with the universe. Davey and Kameoka note: "What better art than kado to lead us to nonattachment as well as a profound awareness of the transient character of life? Flowers that you have painstakingly arranged will wither and die in a short time." The flower artist or sculptor turns his or her attention to these beauties and, in the process, experiences a unity with the natural world that is transformative.

Spirituality & Practice Review of "Living the Japanese Arts & Ways"

The website Spirituality & Practice (http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/) offers the following review of Living the Japanese Arts & Ways. This book is going out of print, but the complete book was recently reissued in H. E. Davey's new work The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can get your own copy of The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212312807&sr=1-1

Book Review
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Living the Japanese Arts & Ways 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty
H. E. Davey
Stone Bridge Press 01/03
Paperback $18.95
ISBN: 1-880656-71-X

In a Nutshell: In this masterful work, H. E. Davey explicates the five central attributes at the heart of the Japanese Arts and Ways: harmony, asymmetrical balance, artlessness, impermanence, and unity with the universe. These are all evident in bonsai, tea ceremony, yoga, ikebana, the martial arts, and calligraphy. With lyricism and a deep love for the aesthetics and spirituality of these arts, the author discusses 45 concepts of the Japanese Ways, many of which have Taoist roots.

About the Author: H. E. Davey is Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts. An accomplished practitioner and teacher of Japanese yoga, calligraphy, and martial arts. he holds the highest rank in Ranseki Sho Juku calligraphy and exhibits his work annually in Japan. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

Sum and Substance: "The ultimate aesthetic running through every Japanese Way is a naturalness in which the difference between the individual and the universal softens into oneness," writes H. E. Davey as he delineates the harmonizing of the mind and body that is central to so many martial ways, artistic ways, performing arts, and traditional crafts. The author's discussion of the spiritual dimension that permeates all of these endeavors is salutary and impressive.

Davey opens our eyes to the enticements of fuga, a profound appreciation and closeness to nature which Basho described as being "a companion of the four seasons"; shoshin, the beginner's mind that cherishes each moment as a fresh start; mono no aware, "an awareness of the fleeting and fragile nature of life, the fact that all created things deteriorate and dissolve back into the universe"; wabi-sabi, which honors the rustic and vulnerable aspect of aged objects; and ichi-go, ichi-e, "one encounter, one opportunity" wherein the present moment is savored as filled with riches. The practitioner of the Japanese arts demonstrates high regard for mystery, peaceful stillness, the rigors of training, detachment, and nonduality. Davey also defines essential terms such as ki (life energy), hara (abdominal centering), fudoshin (immovable mind), and others.

A Teaching Story: "The mind leads the body's actions. Not long ago I read about pianist Liu Chi Kung. In 1958, he placed second to Van Cliburn in a Tchaikovsky piano contest. Not long after, during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, he was imprisoned. He lived alone in a cell for seven years. When he was released, he almost immediately played a series of highly acclaimed concerts. The public was amazed that none of his virtuosity had been lost, despite seven years without a piano. When asked how he had retained such a high level of skill with no piano to practice on, he replied, 'I practiced every day in my mind.' ''

Quotes To Go:
"Furyu: From two words meaning, 'wind' and 'flowing.' It suggests an elegance both tangible and intangible, an inexpressible, ephemeral beauty that can be experienced only in the moment, for in the next instant it will dissolve like the morning mist."

"In the Ways, furyu describes an instant in which the mind experiences the poignancy of a brief moment of fragile beauty, a moment so overwhelming and intense that words can barely hint at it — cherry blossoms caught by the wind, and for the briefest moment . . . cascading . . . hanging in a cloud of pink."

"If the mind remains in the now, it's impossible to worry. People worry solely about an event that's come to pass or one that may take place in the future; the current moment contains no time or space for worry."

"When the mind is agitated, the spirit grows fatigued." (Chiei)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

By the Same Author


Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation

By H. E. Davey


Stone Bridge Press

ISBN 1-880656-60-4

224 pages

$18.95


Emphasizing gentle stretching and meditation exercises, the ultimate goal of Japanese yoga (Shin-shin-toitsu-do) is enhanced mind/body integration, calmness, and willpower for a healthier and fuller life. Developed by Nakamura Tempu Sensei in the early 1900s from Indian Raja yoga, Japanese martial arts and meditation practices, as well as Western medicine and psychotherapy, Japanese yoga offers a new approach to experienced yoga students and a natural methodology that newcomers will find easy to learn.


In Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation, after a brief history of Shin-shin-toitsu-do, H. E. Davey Sensei presents Mr. Nakamura's Four Basic Principles to Unify Mind and Body. These principles relate the meditative experience to the movement of everyday living and thus make it a "dynamic meditation." Each of the Four Basic Principles is illustrated with step-by-step explanations of practical experiments.Readers are then introduced to different forms of seated and moving meditation, health exercises, and self-healing arts. All these are linked back to the Four Basic Principles and can enhance performance in art, music, business, sports, and other activities. Readers learn to use Japanese yoga techniques throughout the day, without having to sit on the floor or seek out a quiet space.Included at the end of the book are simple but effective stretching exercises, information about ongoing practice, and a glossary and reference section. Amply illustrated and cogently presented, Japanese Yoga belongs on every mind/body/spirit reading list.


For a limited time only, the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts is offering autographed copies of H. E. Davey Sensei's landmark book Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation for just $18.95. These are BRAND NEW copies of an out of print book, which is becoming increasingly hard to find and going up in price.To order your own copy of this rare book, go here: http://www.senninfoundation.com/davey_yoga.html

Reviews of The Japanese Way of the Artist


Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts. -- Publishers Weekly


From an economic standpoint, this compilation sells for a price comparable to the price of a single copy of either of the first two works. In addition, the third work, The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation, is no longer in print. This makes this compilation a very good deal and the quickest way to secure a copy of The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation... In addition, the content of all three works is great. Any one of these books would be worth the price, and this book is great both as a Christmas present and a book for the beach. -- Michael Donnelly Sensei, veteran teacher of aikido



H. E. Davey, in The Japanese Way of the Artist, both describes the various "Ways" of the artist, and deftly identifies how these arts transform one who diligently practices them. This anthology of three previous works makes available the broad strokes, as well as the practical details, of the Japanese arts. Davey's writing is highly accessible and remarkably accurate and insightful. This is an important source for understanding the Japanese and their artistic "Ways." -- Robert E. Carter, author of The Japanese Arts and Self-Cultivation, Becoming Bamboo: Western and Eastern Explorations of the Meaning of Life, and other books on Japanese meditation and spirituality



To order The Japanese Way of the Artist, go here: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211999045&sr=8-1

About the Author


H. E. Davey Sensei has received extensive instruction in Shin-shin-toitsu-do, a form of Japanese yoga founded by Nakamura Tempu Sensei in 1919. He has practiced under four of Nakamura Sensei's senior disciples and is the sole American member of the Tempu Society, an organization founded by Mr. Nakamura. His training in Shin-shin-toitsu-do, or "The Way of Mind and Body Unification," has taken place in both Japan and the United States.


Mr. Davey has also received comprehensive instruction in Nakamura Sensei's methods of healing with ki ("life energy") and bodywork, which he teaches as well. Davey Sensei's emphasis is on the transference of ki as a way of aiding recovery from illness or injury.


In addition, Davey Sensei has studied shodo, or Japanese brush writing/ink painting, under Kobara Ranseki Sensei of Kyoto. Kobara Sensei, the late Shihan ("Headmaster") of Ranseki Ryu shodo, was also the Vice President of the Kokusai Shodo Bunka Koryu Kyokai, an international shodo association headquartered in Urayasu. Mr. Davey holds the highest rank in Ranseki Ryu and exhibits his artwork annually in Japan. He has received numerous awards in these international exhibitions, including Jun Taisho, or the "Associate Grand Prize."


H. E. Davey Sensei's involvement in Japanese cultural arts started during his childhood. He began studying the martial art of aiki-jujutsu at the age of five under his late father, who had trained in Japan, and who held instructor certification from more than one Japanese martial arts association. Mr. Davey has also studied the martial arts extensively in both the U.S. and Japan. Davey Sensei presently is the highest-ranking American in the Kokusai Budoin's Nihon Jujutsu and Kobudo Divisions. He has received the rank of seventh-degree black belt from the Kokusai Budoin (
http://www.imaf.com/), a worldwide martial arts federation sponsored by Japan's Imperial Family, and the same ranking from the Shudokan Martial Arts Association (http://http://www.smaa-hq.com/).

Davey Sensei's articles on Japanese arts and his calligraphy have appeared in such magazines as Karate Kung-Fu Illustrated, Furyu-The Budo Journal of Classical Japanese Martial Arts and Culture, The Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Body Mind Spirit, and Yoga Journal. His artwork and writings have been printed in Japanese publications such as Hokubei Mainichi, Nichibei Times, and Gendo. He is also the author of Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu (McGraw-Hill), Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony (Stone Bridge Press), The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation (Stone Bridge Press), Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation (Stone Bridge Press), and Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty (Stone Bridge Press), and The Japanese Way of the Artist (Stone Bridge Press). Brush Meditation was one of the top ten best-selling Stone Bridge Press books in 1999.


In 2003, Spirituality & Health magazine presented Davey Sensei with its Book of the Year award for Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty. Also in 2003, the same book was one of ForeWord magazine's top five books and a finalist for their Book of the Year award.


H. E. Davey Sensei is the Director of the
Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts, President of the Sennin Foundation, Inc., and the editor of Michi Online: Journal of Japanese Cultural Arts.

From the Publisher


“Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review) on
H. E. Davey’s Living the Japanese Arts & Ways

The Japanese Way of the Artist

By H. E. Davey


Including extensive illustrations and an all-new introduction by the author, The Japanese Way of the Artist (Stone Bridge Press, September 2007) anthologizes three complete, out-of-print works by the Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts. With penetrating insight into the universe of Japanese spiritual, artistic, and martial traditions, H. E. Davey explores everything from karate to calligraphy, ikebana to tea, demonstrating how all traditional Japanese arts share the same spiritual goals: serenity, mind/body harmony, awareness, and a sense of connection to the universe.

Supplemented by resource guides and glossaries of Japanese terms, the three books in THE JAPANESE WAY OF THE ARTIST bring ancient teachings to life:

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways presents 45 essential principles—like wabi, “immovable mind,” and “stillness in motion”—that are universal in the Japanese classic tradition. It received a Spirituality & Health magazine Best Spiritual Books Award.

Brush Meditation provides an extensive introduction to Japanese calligraphy, showing how even the most elemental brush stroke reveals your physical and mental state.

The Japanese Way of the Flower examines practical methods for looking at nature and leads the reader through simple meditations as a prelude to learning how to create simple, elegant ikebana compositions.

H. E. Davey is Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts (
http://www.senninfoundation.com/) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Mr. Davey's articles on Japanese cultural arts, and his Japanese calligraphic art, have appeared in such magazines as Karate Kung-Fu Illustrated, Furyu—The Budo Journal of Classical Japanese Martial Arts and Culture, The Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Body Mind Spirit, and Yoga Journal. He has also contributed to Japanese publications such as Hokubei Mainichi, the Nichibei Times, and Gendo.


The Japanese Way of the Artist:
Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower
By H. E. Davey
494 pages, 6 x 7 ¾", 135 B&W illustrations and photographs
Paper, ISBN: 978-1-933330-07-5, $19.95
September 2007

If you are interested in printing an excerpt from THE JAPANESE WAY OF THE ARTIST, or in scheduling an interview with Mr. Davey, please contact Ari Messer at 510-524-8732 x116 or ari@stonebridge.com.

More about the Book

The Japanese Way of the Artist:
Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower


By H. E. Davey

512 pp
6 x 7.75"
Paperback
135 B&W illustrations and photographs
ISBN 978-1-933330-07-5
$19.95

Now in a single volume, three essential works on Japanese aesthetics, spirituality, and meditation.

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty

“Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts-calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremony, painting-and the spiritual meaning of such practice. . . . A wonderful complement for practitioners of meditation, especially Zen.”

Publishers Weekly


The Michi Mission: From chado—“the Way of tea”—to budo—“the martial Way”—Japan has succeeded in spiritualizing a number of classical arts. The names of these skills often end in Do, also pronounced Michi, meaning the “Way.” By studying a Way in detail, we discover vital principles that transcend the art and relate more broadly to the art of living itself. . . . Books in the Stone Bridge Press series Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways focus on these Do forms. They are about discipline and spirituality, about moving from the particular to the universal.

The three works anthologized here are essential to understanding the spiritual, meditative, and physical basis of all classical Japanese creative and martial arts. Living the Japanese Arts & Ways covers key concepts—like wabi and “stillness in motion”—while the other two books show the reader how to use brush calligraphy (shodo) and flower arranging (ikebana) to achieve mind-body unification.

In the Michi series, H. E. Davey explores the mind/body connection that lies at the heart of traditional Japanese arts and culture. Mr. Davey is Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can order The Japanese Way of the Artist here: http://www.amazon.com/.