Zen circles of Kazuaki Tanahashi

The brush plunges into the shiny liquid. The master, with a sigh, a continuous motion, bows up. Similarly that when breathing becomes an exhalation, there is an imperceptible pause at the Summit, and then the brush rotation and slowly approaches the beginning. By Koncha pines-Pey


Kazuaki Tanahashi It is a master Japanese calligrapher, Zen master, author and translator of Buddhist texts from Japanese and Chinese to English. It is the pioneer of a genre called "the painting of the movement", as well as the creator of colorful circles "Enso" (Zen circles). His brushwork has toured many international exhibitions, galleries, museums and universities around the world. Tanahashi has also edited several books of writings by Dogen (your translation of) Shobogenzo It took him 20 years). His first encounter with Shunryu Suzuki was in 1964, after having read the book of Suzuki Zen mind, beginner's mind, saying: "at last I've seen Shobogenzo language is a language that is simple and very clear". It has helped notable Zen teacher training, as John Daido Loori. He is a member of the World Academy of art and science, but fundamentally it is an ecologist, pacifist and a tireless worker.

Konnichiwa Kazuaki Tanahashi-Sen (Bienvenido master Kazuaki Tanahashi) to these pages that are not circles...
The circles are in all parts of the work, seen and unseen, telescopic, microscopic, cellular and celestial. Circles us in nature and in human inventions, in spirit and in art, in the mystical power that accompanies all times and all cultures. They represent the cosmos, the cyclical nature of life, the fullness of being, the fundamental source that works both in the sacred symbol and sacred tool, in the sky and in the air.

Throughout Asia--and increasingly Western consciousness - has understood that the circle of the yin and the yang-Taoist symbol - represents men and women, of all the dichotomies of the world, where everything revolves in the life. Within the circle a small black circle, in the middle of the black there is a white circle. Nothing missing, nothing so much, everything is continuously rotating within the sphere of infinity.

A Potter focused a piece of clay on the lathe, slide fingers on both sides of the clay upwards like the twists of a perfect mountain. By magic, appears a round nave of thin-walled circular. Sweet grass strands are interlaced forming a basket; a skein of wool is round thread to be woven. The circles are all craft of all kinds and ritual arts of the world: wheels of medicine, the Dreamcatcher of the indigenous peoples of North America, tattoos spiral of the Maori of New Zealand, sangaku, the slats of wood forming circles and ellipses in allusion to the modern pre-matematicas of Japan, ephemeral pigmented "dreamers" Australia sand circles , paintings circle Hildegaard von Bingen, the swords in the Judy Chicago dinner plates, and the jewelry, earrings, chains, bracelets, and all "the ring", that symbol of union between the integrity, and eternity. Indeed, there is an inexhaustible variety of cultural meanings through the thousands of years of human history, and all of them converge at the point of stillness of the wheel spinning.

We are in our round planet, because we're always giving back to the Sun, feeling circles that we embrace and release us, cycles of the Lunar tides, seasons, birth and death, gain and loss, inhalation and exhalation. We dropped a stone in a pond and flying wave circles. Our ancestors came out of their caves and round shaped circles vessels suggested them to make nests, rocks and flowers under the celestial spheres. They made round housing: in the North the igloo; in temperate climates the tipi, in the heat of Africa a mud hut; in Europe, the stone circles. With the invention of the circle wine visionary architecture: wheel, glittering domes and minarets of Islam, the dome of the rock in Jerusalem, the Parthenon Greek and Roman cathedrals with its domes pointing heavenward, the towers of Europe with pink windows, domes up to modern residences. Maybe it was the effort to rationalize the irrational which led to significant changes in the architecture of the circles of our streets, our homes, our urban environments.

Circles have been the basis of our social organization from King Arthur to the sacred dances. We danced in a circle, symbol of unity and integrity. We have the energy of the circle, patterns, rhythms and the dance steps... feeling a deep connection with ourselves, others and the world. We are in the circle of the home, and are insurance, insurance of being ourselves and share our energy with ours, whether it's meditation in quiet movement to playful laughter. Our circles create sacred spaces. We have within us a circle and create and recreate our cosmos and our realities through sacred space.

He was in Rome, in the 14th century, when Pope Benedict planned to order a series of paintings about San Pedro; I wanted to select the best artist of the Earth. A courtier was sent to Siena and Florence to meet with several masters of painting and mosaic and bring representative samples. When it came to the workshop of Giotto, he borrowed a small drawing to show the Pope. Giotto immediately took a sheet of paper, dipped in red ink pen and holding his arm firmly made a perfect circle. He returned to the Court and said: "Here is the drawing for the Pope". The Courtier said to him: "Don't have more drawing this?". "This is enough and is too", said Giotto. When the Pope saw the circle, he declared that Giotto was the largest of his time painter.

Giotto, the circle represented the perfection itself. It was the image of divine mercy, the Lord of the absolute quintessential. In Renaissance painting circle abounds. Nicholas of Cusa said that the circle was "the symbol whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere, the circle of infinite radius".

happiness_redWhat is the difference, teacher, Zen or Enso circle and the brushstroke Asian, asymmetrical, irregular, unpredictable, off-center?
The Enso is different from perfection and fullness understanding, a direct and spontaneous mind unconditioned, enlightened expression, the unlimited presence. The path of the wisdom of the self is linear, will reach understanding through concentric fields and linked shapes. When we talk about the concentration on a single point, the words themselves already say return to the Center. To achieve this goal, the words themselves imply the power to focus the Centre and the renunciation of our attachment to the linear process. Only then, apparently, appears the answer to our feet, that has led us down a tortuous path: "Oh, I have reached the starting point - we say-. It was there all the time."

Tell me about Sunryu Suzuki...
When he was Abbot of the Zen Center of San Francisco, it was one of the first Zen teachers in the West and was approaching his death. A disciple knelt next to him, and asked him: "Rosi, where we'll meet again?". Worn hands of the master came out from under blankets, palms together, and holding a finger in the air, drew a circle in the air... returning to put together their hands again. He epitomized a lifetime of practice Zen and Buddhist understanding of this simple gesture. Later a friend asked the disciple that the master had meant with that. According to Zen: "I don't know"; According to Zen humor did you mean something like: "look to your around".

Enso's a teacher or a symbolic circle, it is drawing without a trace in the air or pulling the brush to paper white, revealing the fullness of being, not conditioned mind dance. Form arises from the vacuum, maintains the vacuum, and looking at the circle only we realize space within and around the line, vast formless realm.

What is circle?
The Zen circle expresses the mind awake and vibrant, at home, in the integrity of the present moment. Its benchmark natural is the full moon. In the 13th century the Eihei Dogen Zen master said: "enlightenment is like the Moon reflected in the water. The Moon is not wet or water breaks it. Although its light is large and wide, the Moon is reflected even in a puddle of an inch wide. Across the Moon and the sky are reflected in the drops of dew on the grass, and even a drop of water". From the radical simplicity of the enso to mandala, everything is spiritual technology of Buddhism, skillful means to awaken the true nature of the universe, which is shunyata: fertile, unlimited vacuum.

The word Mandala in Sanskrit it means circle, and the circle of esoteric Buddhism, as in Western religious iconography, is drawn with pinpoint accuracy. Mandalas are visual representations of the mystical interconnection of the most powerful ritual tools of the cosmos. It is an architectural drawing of a sacred space, a Palace, a mansion. A mandala is activated through special techniques of meditation and recitation of secret mantras for the deities representing.

The circle as the mandala represent the intersection of samsara - the earthly Kingdom of greed, anger and ignorance - and nirvana - the Kingdom of lighting-through successive pictures within circles in squares and inside circles.

And the zero-what can you tell me?
On the exoteric level of mathematics, looking back in history, we find that the circle which we call zero, already used by the Babylonians, it was a simple placeholder. In their counting system, however, was an anathema to the Greeks. The infinite powers of zero and the vacuum powerful Greeks. Rejecting to zero, Westerners gave their vision of the universe the durability. India embraced him, had no fear of the infinite or nothing. That's a big difference between East and West.

Then the Westerners not did never peace with zero?
The architect Filippo Brunelleschi was the first to create a realistic magic square through the vanishing point, but at this early stage the mathematicians knew little more than the artists on the properties of the zero. In fact Leonardo da Vinci wrote a guide to draw in perspective... The zero had transformed the art world

Let us enter into the zero, master?
Let's having circle as starting point. The Zen master, the artist - that is the same person - the circle is introduced and is revealed through the vibrant encounter with this time.

What is the circular painting for you?
It is an act of empathy and social conscience, since it means the spiritual union. Sometimes I give to the people who are going to die a circle to remind them of the integrity of his life and the fullness of his love. The circle is a catalyst for healing, even when all attempts to cure the disease have failed. Deep and conscious breathing is the most basic form of the body to enter the circle. Through my exploration of the meditative art, using the brush I've learned that visualize the breath, smile and sing action is useful.

Many of these visual healing meditations are titled miracles of each moment, in tribute to the Doge. We are living breathing. Isn't every breath the accumulation of innumerable miracles? Is not every encounter the fruit of unknown miracles?

You spoke of "compassionate circles"...
The project was presented at a California Hospice, in July 2006. Draw circles is a simple exercise to help those who have a serious illness or are going to die, including those that accompany them in the process of dying. This simple exercise can be learned by caregivers and thus benefit significantly from relaxation, focus and attention during an operation or the process of dying. Realizing the value of life in each moment, patients can reduce your anxiety and maintain its vital force. The patient draw a circle and is an infinite way of expressing compassion.

You, master Tanahashi, is famous for its public works, its giant circles...
Yes, they are my Visual contributions to the peace and environmental activism. They have a large and I invite the associations of different origins, races, ages, nationalities, genders and religions to participate in the process. As the circle of the United Nations. These projects represent the sacred interconnectedness of all life, and point to the need to pay attention to the vulnerability of our planet and all its forms of life at this time. Close the gap illusory between artistic creation and spiritual truth, research and the community.

Have some accused him of "art propaganda"?
Yes, once he was speaking on a panel on art and spirituality, and said that the word "propaganda" concerning my art was a deliberate hoax. If we want to deal with the issues of peace, justice, and art, everything must be ethical and organic. Sometimes we create art for art, and sometimes we feel obliged to send a message. At a time of global crisis, a disaster or a war, the artist has to make a choice. We need to choose where to put our art, and where you can get greater benefit.

Circle is a reminder that every moment is not only present, but includes all past moments and the liability that one has on the future. Our vision and imagination can create a positive and hopeful future.

Arigato gozaimasu (thank you). I wish I can see you soon by Spain, master. Thank you for your generosity.

Koncha pines-Pey

P.S. thanks to Sherry Chayat for his book Endless Vow: The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa.


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By • 2 May, 2013 • section: General