Workshop in Freiburg ; Lantern light

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Calligraphy ” Tomoshibi ” by Rie Takeda

Thank you very much for attending the workshop on Sunday.

I do appreciate your effort to learn the art of Japanese calligraphy with such opened mind!
All of you did very well – compliment on your full concentration and mindfulness process. Great job!

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Calligraphy display from workshop participants 21.10.2018

We had lots of (high) Autumn Otehon texts, mainly with the ” fire 火 ” element and yes, sure some ” misty fog / Kiri 霧 ” and  ” maple tree / Kaede 楓 ”

  • Autumn / AKI  秋
  • Lantern light / Tomoshibi 灯

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The illustration shows the pictographically developed composition.

Rice plant(s)  +  Fire  =  Autumn 秋

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Tomoshibi in Sanshotai : Link

The next workshop in Freiburg is on Sunday 18th November. It is at the moment fully booked, but one can be on the waiting list.

The November workshop will be the last one for this year. Then we will start again in the New Year 2019 on 20th January.

Meanwhile I hope you all will enjoy your Shodo practice in this beautiful season.

Happy Practice!

Arigato, Rie
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HISHIRYO 非思量 : non-thinking

KONNICHIWA,
Are you ready to go through some deep thoughts in one of your autumn evenings?!

I’ve been thinking about HISHIRYO: NON-THINKING for a quite while now, especially in conjunction with the essence of Do-Arts ( SHODO, KYUDO, JUDO, SADO, KADO, KARATEDO, AIKIDO….)

I guess when one practises the Do-Art ( in my case I did Kendo, have been practising Shodo for more than 35 years and Sado: Tea ceremony for 8 years) regularly and constantly if not everyday, one gets the nucleus of HISHIRYO. I do not particularly sit and meditate every day for 30 min, not at all – but instead I do meditation while I do calligraphy. “Calligraphy-SHODO” is for me an automatic switch to become meditative, this is my meditation. I do not have to make any effort or try hard to get to that point anymore. Sure, I am not doing Zazen or sitting, but the flow of the mindfulness-process, the flow of movement which I practise every day, creates such a natural comfortable silence. I become one with the moment – and feel through the brush, the ink and then see how the oneness appears on the paper. That is for me the closest understanding of HISHIRYO now.

And I often remember how my calligraphy teacher and my tea master teacher always said ;

” stop thinking, trust your hands and body – don’t worry

they know what to do ”

HISHIRYO 非思量 is found in one of the most essential works called SHOBOGENZO/Fukanzazengi 正法眼蔵/普勧坐禅儀 ( 1231-1253) from the Zen master Dogen-Zenji ( 1200-1253 )

I found this very interesting article which describes HISHIRYO quite clear. See below.

*For German speaking readers, there is an interesting article too by Gert Scobel in the new moment by moment magazine; under the theme” Meditation” ( www.moment-by-moment.de)

*Credit and Copyright:
Originally written in Japanese by Rev. Tairyu Tsunoda ( Komazawa University ), Translated by Rev. Issho Fujita
Assisted by Rev. Tonen O’Connor and Rev. Zuiko Redding
*Links and Materials from Soto Zen Buddhism: sotozen.net

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Calligraphy ” HISHIRYO ” by Rie Takeda

Hishiryo (non-thinking)

Etymology of Hishiryo

Hishiryo (非思量) literally means “non-thinking.”

Shiryo (思量) means “thinking” and hi (非) is a prefix of negation and opposition.

So hishiryo amounts to “unthank” or “not the matter of thinking.” This word hishiryo appears in Dogen Zenji’s Fukanzazengi (although not in his signed manuscript), Shobogenzo Zazengi, Shobogenzo Zazenshin and in Keizan Zenji’s Zazen Yojinki. It is one of the most important words used to describe zazen. Hishiryo in these writings comes from a dialogue between Yakusan Igen (745~828) and an unnamed monk, which is described in Keitoku

Dentoroku and other Zen texts.

Great master, Yakusan Kodo was sitting zazen. A monk asked him, “In steadfast sitting, what are you thinking?” Yakusan said, “Thinking of not-thinking.” A monk said, “How are you thinking of not-thinking?” Yakusan replied, “Non-thinking (hishiryo).”

In answering “hishiryo,” Yakusan is pointing out a realm beyond discriminative thinking, a realm of being one with not-thinking, which is the original person, or true person. This dialogue is meant to signify that zazen is the practice of being one with the original person, the person we originally are.

In the Zen tradition the word hishiryo is also found in a much earlier text, the Third Sosan’s Shinjinmei.

The empty enlightenment illuminates itself.
There is no need for the slightest mental effort.
It is a realm of non-thinking,
A realm beyond the apprehension of reasoning and emotions.

In this context, hishiryo is explained as a realm beyond the ability of reasoning and emotions to grasp. Later, this word was used in this more developed way. For example, in Unmon Koroku (Unmon’s Extensive Record) we find this dialogue below.

A monk asked, “What is a realm of non-thinking like?” Unmon said, “Beyond apprehension of reasoning and emotions.”

The meaning of hishiryo in Soto Zen

In both Fukanzazengi and Zazen Yojinki, hishiryo was introduced right after an instruction on zazen posture that uses the expression, “steadfast sitting.” Therefore, hishiryo can be understood as

a description of the state the mind should be in once zazen posture has been properly established. As for this state of mind in zazen, we find these instructions:

*In Fukan Zazengi
Do not think “good” or “bad.” Do not judge true or false. Give up the operation of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could it be limited to sitting or lying down?

*In Zazen Yojinki
Drop mind, intellect and consciousness, leave thoughts, ideas, and views alone. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. Do not judge true or false.
If you want to cease your confusion, you must cease involvement in thoughts of good or bad.Stop getting caught up in unnecessary affairs. A mind “unoccupied” together with a body “free of activity” is the essential point to remember.

I think the key to understanding the meaning of hishiryo is found in these teachings.

It is said that when we practice zazen we stop all kinds of thinking, such as true or false, right or wrong and let go of all thoughts and calculations. With this attitude, we just sit. This is the instruction given by Dogen Zenji and Keizan Zenji. And that is what hishiryo is all about.

Hishiryo is not a state of no-thoughts

To stop “the operation of mind, intellect, and consciousness” and to stop “measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views” does not mean to totally stop all mental activities. To stop “operation” and “measuring” means stopping arbitrary thought and calculations, rather than maintaining a state of having no thoughts during zazen. The idea of having no thoughts is itself an arbitrary thought. It is not that a special state of mind results from regulating the mind through zazen. Rather than having a special state of mind, zazen is not to have a special state of mind.

For example, we find this passage in Shobogenzo Zazenshin:

A monk asked, “How are you thinking of not-thinking?” Indeed, though the notion of not-thinking may be old, here it is the question, how do you think of it? Could there be no thinking in sitting fixedly? … When we think of not-thinking, we always use non-thinking.

When we sit in zazen, it is not that we have no thoughts but we think of “not-thinking.” It is called “how do you think of it” and “non-thinking.”

In zazen we just sit by regulating the body (posture) and regulating the breath. As for the posture, we aim at sitting in the way that is described in Fukanzazengi and Zazen Yojinki. This posture naturally regulates the breath. Then, we just let the breath happen as is described in Zazen Yojinki; breath freely passes through the nose, and naturally gets regulated. Hishiryo is the state of our mind when we are sitting in this way. But what kind of state of mind is it?

When a thought arises, be aware of it. When you are aware of it, it will disappear

In the Tenpuku version of Fukan Zazengi (Dogen Zenji’s signed manuscript), we do not see the sentences, “Think of not-thinking. How do you think of it? Non-thinking.” Instead there are these sentences: “When a thought arises, be aware of it. When you are aware of it, it will disappear. Continuously put aside everything outside and make yourself into one piece.” It is taught as “the essential art of zazen.” In other words, in the popular version, “When a thought arises, be aware of it. When you are aware of it, it will disappear. Continuously put aside everything outside and make yourself into one piece” was deleted and “Think of not-thinking. What kind of thinking is that? Non-thinking” was inserted. Even if this substitution was made by Dogen Zenji himself, it is still important to know that the instruction “When a thought arises, be aware of it. When you are aware of it, it will disappear. Continuously put aside everything outside and make yourself into one piece” appeared in the signed version, because this expression helps us understand hishiryo.

This expression is a description of our state of mind during zazen. When a thought arises during zazen and we become aware of it, it disappears by itself. And when another thought arises, we again become aware of it and it disappears. If we maintain this process, we naturally put aside everything outside and become one with ourselves. This is exactly the state of mind during zazen and the content of hishiryo.

Hishiryo is not to attain a transcendental state of mind through meditation or to enter a state of no thoughts and no images. It is not to remain in a state full of defilements and delusions or to keep discriminative thinking, either. This is what Dogen Zenji meant when he used the word hishiryo. This concept was steadfastly handed down to Keizan Zenji’s Zazen Yojinki. Thus, in the Soto Zen tradition we now emphasize hishiryo as a state of mind during zazen.

*Credit and Copyright:
Originally written in Japanese by Rev. Tairyu Tsunoda, Translated by Rev. Issho Fujita
Assisted by Rev. Tonen O’Connor and Rev. Zuiko Redding

*Links and Materials from Soto Zen Buddhism: sotozen.net

Happy Practice!

Arigato,
Rie
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Kokoro, Heart and Herz

I am in it!!

New issue of “ moment by moment” magazine.

The theme is “ heart “.

Thank you to the mindful team of the moment by moment magazine for working together!!

The issue is available in Kiosk and book shops in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

モーメントバイモーメントの最新号に嬉しくも私の書道メソッドなどを取り上げていただきました。

この号のテーマは“心、Herz, Heart”

編集、写真、グラフィック、オーガナイズに関わりサポートしてくれた皆さんに感謝です!

キオスクや本屋さんで購入可能です。

*https://www.facebook.com/momentbymoment.magazin/

*moment by moment Ausgabe4/2018

http://www.moment-by-moment.de

Happy Practice!

Rie

SHODO course in Basel

I give a Shodo course in Basel since this September. 

It has been great to see these beautiful participants making lots of progress and challenging their mindfulness process every time. 

Compliment on their calligraphy pieces and the “shou-nen 正念” right mindfulness!

Next lesson is on the 5th. December.

And I do love Basel! – Full of “Arts” and inspiration..

The atelier is just in front of Museum of Contemporary Art in St. Alban Rheinweg!

More info : Calligraphy course in Basel 

Happy Practice!

Arigato, 

Rie

www.shodocalligraphy.com

Otsukimi: Moon viewing

I hope you are enjoying the beautiful Autumn colours.

I would like to update a new Autumn text in Hiragana.

It is suitable for the beginners and those who are eager to brush up Hiraganas.

The Otehon text : OTSUKIMI おつきみ

It has four Hiraganas.

Tip :

– For medium to big brush,  both hard and soft.

– make sure you fold the paper into four boxes

– Loads of Nuki* Slide out techniques in the text,  so the warming-up practice with spirals recommended.

– For Hane*jumping technique, make sure you do the 1*2*3 movement with your brush.

Movement 1; Pause~ the place where you stop at the first stroke 

Movement 2 ; Preparation~ you open the hair of brush little bit.

Movement 3 ; To jump ~ you pull the energy up through your naval and slowly proceed to jump.

– Make sure you are able to imagine the clear picture of the moon you like and an extra feeling for that moon. 

– Kanji for that text is; “お月見”  or “月見”, you can drop the お.
Happy Practice!

Arigato, 

Rie

Otehon Text; Koharu

Otehon for early spring….

” Koharu ” in Kaisho style

*Ko: small

*Haru : spring

➡early spring,  the beginning of spring

Tip~

*For the beginners to the inter-mediate level1.

*With a medium or a big brush

小: Hane-Jumping technique ; directly before sarting the jumping, the curve should go little outwards(to the right hand side). More cursuve than straight. The Hane Jumping does not need to be big.

春: Three horizontal lines are in 1. bending upwards,  2.straight up,  3. bending downwards

Left Harai: A long streching lune. Just before letting the enegry/pressure out, try to open the hair little bit.

Right Harau : Starting calmly rather thin and gradually opening the hair. Always checking the balance. 

Before you do the Sun”at the end,  check the middle line and adjust. The right vertical line of the Sun should be longer.
Happy Practice!!

Rie

www.shodocalligraphy.com

Shakyou Calligraphy

I am just introducing the Shakyou 写経calligraphy with the Heart Sutra (Hannya-Shingyo) to the advanced students.

They are doing very well!! Despite the tiny Shakyou brush…. 

Once one gets used to it, the brush movement would become lighter and smoother – and eventually you would feel very meditative just like hearing the hymn of Heart Sutra.
Happy Practice!!

Rie

www.shodokalligraphie.com

Otehon texts for new year 

I first prepared three calligraphy texts for Kakizome,  the new year’s calligraphy. And one Sumi-calligraphy for the Rooster year!!

“Tori doshi 酉年”: the year of Rooster.

“Toridoshi” in Kanji. 

Top one: Rooster, below: Year

This Kanji Rooster, only used for zodiac calendar.

“Toridoshi” in Hiragana

The Kanji, Tori.

The text for kid’s calligraphy class.

“Tori 鳥”in Sumie-calligraphy style. 

This Kanji literaturely means bird.

The new year calligraphy is always quite playful. To begin with, we talk about our Christmas holiday how it was, with a cup of green tea. And warming-up,  practise practice and practise…

At the end of lesson,  I ask students what their new year’s theme/resolution is and let them pick a word that describes the theme,  like “peace”or “stress-free” and so on…  And I translate the word into Japanese and pick a best matched Kanji for the word.

Student then calligraph-s the name, date and the Kanji on the best Seisho piece at the end.

Happy Practice!

Rie