…..leonard cohen…………

Today, I head to Dublin to see Leonard Cohen in concert………so todys blog I leave to Leonard…………


“Going Home,” the first song on Leonard Cohen’s new album, “Old Ideas,” comes from the perspective of his inner self, or, as Cohen—who lived for five years in a Zen monastery—might call it, his Buddha nature. It is this spiritual Higher Leonard who is looking forward to “going home without my burden, going home behind the curtain, going home without the costume that I wore” as he moves through the latter decades of his life. That costume is the Earthly Leonard, in his suit and fedora, “who knows he’s really nothing but the brief elaboration of a tube.” It is Higher Leonard, we learn—without surprise—who is the craftsman and seer behind Cohen’s twelve mostly brilliant studio albums: Earthly Leonard “only has permission / to do my instant bidding / which is to say what I have told him to repeat.”

But Earthly Leonard is a smooth and dapper creature, and even Higher Leonard is not immune to his charms: “I love to speak with Leonard / He’s a sportsman and a shepherd.” Earthly Leonard is not only essential to Cohen’s creative process as a vessel and a scribe; it is this Leonard—racked with longing and “living with defeat”—who has the misadventures his inner counterpart requires to mold into music. The Earthly Leonard is still, thankfully, dancing around the wheel of desire, like the rest of us, eluded by enlightenment.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/02/leonard-cohens-zen-sensuality.html#ixzz26IHBZ3KL

…..sumi-e art…..

A selection of the sumi-e paintings that sung to me today……..

Wonderful, this road to Cold Mountain —
Yet there’s no sign of horse or carriage.
In winding valleys too tortuous to trace,
On crags piled who knows how high . . . 
Han-shan (from #48 of “Cold Mountain”)



Sumi-e’ is painting what is not there!



…on zen art……sumi-e…….

Oriental artists are not interested in a photographic representation of an object but in interpreting its spirits . . . . Occidental art . . . exalts personality, is anthropocentric . . . . Oriental art . . . has been cosmocentric. It sees man as an integral part of nature . . . . The affinity between man and nature was what impressed Oriental artists rather than their contrast, as in the West. To Occidentals, the physical world was an objective reality–to be analyzed, used, mastered. To Orientals, on the contrary, it was a realm of beauty to be admired, but also of mystery and illusion to be pictured by poets, explained by mythmakers, and mollified by priestly incantations. This contrast between East and West had incalculable influence on their respective arts, as well as on their philosophies and religions. (1963:253-255).

Art in the West has developed a complex linguistic symbolism through which the artist manipulates his material to communicate something to his audience. Art as communication is basic to Western aesthetics, as is the corollary interrelationship of form and content. Music is considered a language of feeling (Hanslick 1957) and consists of”sonorous moving forms.” A landscape painting in the Western tradition is not merely an aesthetically pleasing reproduction; the artist uses his techniques of balance, perspective, and color, to express a personal reaction to the landscape–his painting is a frozen human mood. The aesthetic object is used as a link between the audience and the artist’s feelings. And the artist’s technique is used to create an illusion of the forms of reality.

The Zen artist, on the other hand, tries to suggest by the simplest possible means the inherent nature of the aesthetic object. Anything may be painted, or expressed in poetry, and any sounds may become music. The job of the artist is to suggest the essence, the eternal qualities of the object, which is in itself a work of natural art before the artist arrives on the scene. In order to achieve this, the artist must fully understand the inner nature of the aesthetic object, its Buddha nature. This is the hard part. Technique, though important, is useless without it; and the actual execution of the art work may be startlingly spontaneous, once the artist has comprehended the essence of his subject.

Belief in the superiority of spiritual mastery over technical mastery is evidenced by numerous stories of bushido matches (Japanese sword fighting) in which untrained monks defeated trained samurai because they naturally comprehended the basic nature of the bushido contest, and had no fear of death whatsoever.

A Chinese painter was once commissioned to paint the Emperor’s favorite goat. The artist asked for the goat, that he might study it. After two years the Emperor, growing impatient, asked for the return of the goat; the artist obliged. Then the Emperor asked about the painting. The artist confessed that he had not yet made one, and taking an ink brush he drew eight nonchalant strokes, creating the most perfect goat in the annals of Chinese painting.

The style of painting favored by Zen artists makes use of a horsehair brush, black ink, and either paper or silk. It is known as sumi-e. The great economy of means is necessary to express the purity and simplicity of the eternal nature of the subject, and also because it is a generalizing factor. Zen art does not try to create the illusion of reality. It abandons true to life perspective, and works with artificial space relations which make one think beyond reality into the essence of reality. This concept of essence as opposed to illusion is basic to Zen art in all phases.



…………………big brush enso……..

……and whatabout big brush enso ?……….if you have more images of big brush or huge brush enso painting, I would love to see them…………..

unusually, white on black…… found @    http://itp.nyu.edu/~mm4839/Blog/?m=201001

…..and… not a painted enso but a captivating wooden enso table……..   found @ http://beta.3rings.reallysimple.to/2009/05/05/at-bklyn-designs-09-aim-for-enlightenment-with-eric-manigians-enso/



I would love to try this……………



Seo writes:  The Enso 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 enso is above all the 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


from Enso: ZEN Circles of Enlightenment (Paperback) by Audrey Yoshiko Seo

The follwing are a selection of ensos that chose me as I browsed through google images this morning……


…….The beauty of each enso lies in the distinctive characteristics that the calligrapher brings out to shine through. An enso is not just the line and circle itself, but the inside space as well, reinforcing the dual quality of emptiness/fullness of life………

from   http://mattmacabre.tumblr.com/post/15728584179/the-symbol-of-the-crcle-is-refered-to-as-enso-in



…..This enso is by Torei Enji (1721-1792), who excelled at the Zen circle. Torei began this one by pressing his brush down hard at the lower left and swiftly continuing around the circle while lifting the brush.

The calligraphy says “In heaven and on the earth, I alone am worthy of honor,” lines attributed at birth to the historical Buddha…...

from http://7junipers.com/log/torei-enji-enso/

…and  gallery of ensos that repays a look………..


from http://zen-brush.com/zen_circles_gallery