‘Seeking the Olive Branch’.
It’s there if we look. That symbol of renewal and rebirth.
Planting it comes next, and following that nurturing it for transformation.
This will take work and determination and a simpler attitude to life, so that there is time to water it daily and provide a healthy environment.
Circles in general feature often as a symbol in Buddhism. Mandalas representing the universe are made in sand to remind Tibetan Buddhists of impermanence and as an aid to concentrate the mind. The idea of the Dharma Wheel, the wheel of reality is important and is said to turn in both directions.
The ensō is one of the most common subjects in Zen calligraphy. It symbolises enlightenment, power, and the universe itself. It is a direct expression of thusness or this-moment-as-it-is.
Generally it is a brushstroke, or sometimes two, painted in a single breath and can be symmetrical or irregular, thin or thick, heavy or delicate. They are generally accompanied by a verse (san) composed either by the artist or a separate commentator. The enso acts as a visual koan.
Koan pictures, alongside the riddle of the words, represent that moment between not being and being enlightened. The idea is that everything around one can be used as an aid to enlightenment and one just needs to have eyes to see it and apply it to whatever problem you are facing in the moment.
The circle may be open or closed. If it is open it represents beauty in imperfection and transience (wabi-sabi), allowing for movement and developmentand if closed, perfection and completion.
The notion of wabi-sabi is that beauty is found in combinations of symmetry, irregularity, simplicity, weathering, basicness, simplicity, without pretence, freedom and tranquillity.
Painting of Enso is be used as a spiritual practice as often as once a day by many practitioners. Once painted it evidences the state of the practitioner at that moment and is not added to or redrawn.
This spiritual practice of writing Japanese calligraphy for self-realization is called hitsuzendō meaning ‘the way of the brush’.
I am currently working with the breath to create enso.
The breath is life, ch’i, prana, the vital force. Don’t take it for granted.
Current exhibition online:
“Out Of Darkness Cometh Light” – a collection of work by twenty one artists in Wolverhampton remaining creative during lockdown: http://www.newhamptonarts.co.uk/out-of-darkness-cometh-light/?fbclid=IwAR22tcQ0VMWu38m65qHXZHC2J1jFsDH6Kde3RvsIp5kseVV2I6pSD8j3Lis