Feb 012012

Lesson 1 – Getting Started

In a previous post I promised to give some regular guide and inspiration for studying Zen-Calligraphy. Of course, the best option is working with a qualified teacher, but these are hard to find … so I hope my posts will help you to enjoy practising Zen with brush and ink, or Hitsuzendo (筆禅道).

Maybe you already have some basic experience with Shodo, the Japanese art of calligraphy. Maybe not … in that case I suggest you browse the web to look up some basics I won’t explain. A good introduction page is for example here, a book I can recommend is “Zen Brushwork” by Tanchu Terayama.

Next, set up a daily (or weekly) schedule, some 30 to 60 minutes for regular practise. I consider it important to exercise regularly. Say, each morning (or each other day or each Sunday), some time before breakfast … morning is better than evening!

  • Set up your place (ideally, the evening before … or keep it always ready).
  • Start with Zazen, your preferred time, 5 minutes, or 10, or 20. Don’t skip the Zazen!
  • Do a few minutes breathing exercise, Qigong, Tai-Chi …
  • Practice calligraphy for about 10-15 minutes by copying the sample a few times (details following in a next post).
  • Close with Zazen.

The purpose of Hitsuzendo or Zen-Calligraphy is not producing a nice piece of art. It is a Zen-exercise, so you can, like I do it, use newspaper to write upon, and throw the result after your practise is finished.

… to be continued.