It has been crossing my mind for quite some time that I want to use ink and brush as a means to relax, focus, and ground myself. Traditionally, calligraphy has been one means to do this. For August, I decided I would attempt to do the Heart Sutra. Nadja van Ghelue has a wonderful site, The Art of Calligraphy, about doing just this – as well as showcasing her own beautiful work – and has published a book with the Heart Sutra in seal script. On her site, she also shows her work, and that of others, of the Heart Sutra in kaisho, as well as a section dedicated to writing the sutra as a form of meditation.
Van Ghelue is, in my opinion, a very accomplished calligrapher. Her videos – 0nly three in number – show a lissome flow of brush work. As you watch her, observe how her brush moves about the paper, up and down, a pause, pressure. Her wrist remains straight with subtle movements to create the brushwork needed for a point, to turn a corner. There is a gracefulness and serenity in her movements where other calligraphers may be more dynamic.
H.E. Davey is another accomplished calligrapher from the west. He writes in his books, The Japanese Way of the Artist, and Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony, about Japanese calligraphy as a form of meditation. Davey has been involved with Japanese cultural arts his entire life, and is currently the director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in the San Francisco area. Historically, bushido encompassed mastery in the arts beyond war.
Certainly, there are benefits to focusing on what one enjoys. Expertise, finesse, internal, external, integration. Artistry. Joy. Self expression. Moving beyond present skills. Expansion. My own project is for meditative purposes, but it is also a journey into refinement of my own skills – an exploration of my own adventures in ink, brush, and line.