Written for:  Carpe Diem #1071, Zen-Calligraphy
Japanese calligraphy was influenced by, and influenced, Zen thought. For any particular piece of paper, the calligrapher has but one chance to create with the brush. The brush strokes cannot be corrected, and even a lack of confidence shows up to the work. The calligrapher must concentrate and be fluid in execution.
Zen calligraphy is practiced by Buddhist monks and most shodou or shodo practitioners. To write Zen calligraphy with mastery, one must clear one’s mind an let the letters flow out of themselves, not practice and make a tremendous effort. This state of mind was called the “mushin” (“no mind state”) by the Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitaro. It is based on the principle of Zen Buddhism, which stresses a connection to the spiritual rather than the physical.

Before Japanese tea cermonies (which are connected to Zen Buddhism), one is to look at a work of “shodo (shodou) to clear one’s mind. This is considered an essential step in the preparation for a tea cermony. (source: wikipedia)


a charcoal drawing
in the tokonoma
koan of life

young monk
brush in hand one with nature
writes Mu *

© Chèvrefeuille (our host)

Here is my attempt:

Eyes fixed on painting
arrangement of plum blossoms
for tea ceremony


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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One Response to Zen-Calligraphy

  1. jazzytower says:

    Yours is a beauty too:)

    Liked by 1 person

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