Copying Sutra

I like Sutra chanting. Not being a great singer myself, this is a good way for me to unify breath and body through voice, together with others. But I must admit that chanting a text which is the Japanese pronunciation of a Chinese translation of something coming from India I do not really understand, is not fully satisfying.

A copy of the Heart Sutra at Tokoji Temple

A copy of the Heart Sutra at Tokoji Temple

So another activity I enjoy doing here at the International Zen-Dojo during the afternoon „free practice“ hour is Sutra copying, a practise called shakyo (写経) in Japanese. For someone who likes calligraphy, this is a pleasant exercise! And a Sutra-text does not really start making sense, unless one seriously tries to discover the meaning behind it’s underlying Chinese characters, instead of just reading nonsense syllables in Latin alphabet from a sheet of paper. Even more, slowly writing the characters while rehearsing their pronunciation, helps me a lot to memorise the text.

K-san suggested I might want to offer my copy to the temple, maybe the Roshi will accept it for their collection. But it was J’s birthday the next day, and I didn’t have any present … so I had a better idea what to do with my hand-brushed copy Hannya Shingyo.

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