Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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.