Enso: Zen Circles of Enlightenment

Overview

The ensō is one of the most prevalent images of Zen art, and it has become a kind of symbol of the clean and strong Japanese aesthetic. It has been subject to a rich variety of interpretations—seen as everything from a rice cake to a symbol of infinity. But regardless of how it is understood, the ensō is above all an expression of the mind of the artist who brushes it. It is said that the state of the Zen practitioner can be clearly read in his or her execution of the circle.

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Overview

The ensō is one of the most prevalent images of Zen art, and it has become a kind of symbol of the clean and strong Japanese aesthetic. It has been subject to a rich variety of interpretations—seen as everything from a rice cake to a symbol of infinity. But regardless of how it is understood, the ensō is above all an expression of the mind of the artist who brushes it. It is said that the state of the Zen practitioner can be clearly read in his or her execution of the circle.

Audrey Yoshiko Seo brings together a collection of the best examples of ensō art to show the wonderful variety of the form and its variations, from the seventeenth century to the present, each with facing commentary. The commentary focuses on the meaning of the art and its historical context and provides an analysis of each artist’s technique. Also included are biographies of the artists, many of whom are important Japanese Zen teachers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834805750
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/27/2007
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.12 (w) x 8.13 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Audrey Yoshiko Seo, PhD, is an independent scholar and consultant on Japanese art. Her areas of research and publication include painting and calligraphy by Japanese Zen masters from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, and contemporary Japanese fashion. She is the author of several books, including Zen No Sho: The Calligraphy of Fukushima Keido Roshi. 

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Table of Contents


Foreword     xi
Acknowledgments     xvii
Introduction     1
I Alone Am the Honored One   Torei Enji     20
I Alone Am the Honored One   Torei Enji     22
Autumn Moon   Gasan Jito     24
Autumn Moon   Inzan Ien     26
Katsu   Mokurai Soen     28
No Space in the Ten Directions   Hakuin Ekaku     30
Peace   Takuju Kosen     32
Sakyamuni and Maitreya   Bankei Yotaku     34
Unborn   Yamada Mumon     36
Not One Thing   Ryonen Genso     38
Bamboo   Deiryu Kutsu     40
Rice Cake   Ryochu Nyoryu     42
Toilet   So Saibai     44
What Is This?   Fukushima Keido     46
What Is This?   Daido Bunka     48
Dog   Kasumi Bunsho     50
Mr. Moon   Nantenbo     52
True Emptiness   Ungo Kiyo     54
Board   Kosetsu Soryu     56
Wind and Bamboo   Shibayama Zenkei     58
Barriers   Daikyu Ebo     60
Barriers   Jiun Sonja     62
Cultivating Skill   Chuho Sou     64
Pine   Deiryu Kutsu     66
Baking Pan   Setsudo Nyoun     68
Every Shape, Every Form   Keiju Dorin     70
Cake   Shunso Joshu     72
Eat This   Fukushima Keido     74
I Alone Am the Honored One   Torei Enji     76
I Alone Am the Honored One   Torei Enji     78
Enso in Enso   Nantenbo     80
What Is This?   Shunso Joshu     82
Abiraunken   Jiun Sonja     84
Oxherding   Mamiya Eishu     86
Nothing Lacking   Yamada Mumon     88
Nothing Lacking   Taikan Monju     90
Enter into the Faith   Hata Egyokyu     92
Enter from Here   Hoshino Taigen     94
Board   Chuho Sou     96
Catch It   Nantenbo     98
Autumn Moon   Inzan Ien     100
Rice Cake   Morita Goyu     102
Mochi    Nantenbo     104
Mochi   Yamamoto Gempo     106
Fancy Words   Godo Soken     108
Nothing Else   Torei Enji     110
Smiling Circle   Ishikawa Bokugyu     112
Dream   Deiryu Kutsu     114
Endless Purity   Dairyu Sojo     116
Great Peace   Nakagawa Soen     118
What Is This?   Kaizan Sokaku     120
What Is This?   Torei Enji     122
Mouse   Okada Kido     124
Universe Lingers   Ranzan Shoryu     126
Mu   Kojima Kendo     128
Triangle   Fukushima Keido     130
Epilogue     133
Table of Names     135
Table of Significant Texts     137
Biographies of Artists     139
Notes     159
Select Bibliography     165
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