Ensō: Zen Circles of Enlightenment

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Shambhala Publications, 2007 - Art - 170 pages
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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. 

 Pages 74–75

 

 Pages 118–119



Pages 124–125

 Pages 126–127
 

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Contents

Bamboo DeiryuKutsu
40
Rice Cake RyochuNyoryu
42
Toilet SoSaibai
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
What Is This? Shunso Joshu
82
Abiraunken Jiun Sonja
84
Oxherding Mamiya Eishu
86
Nothing Lacking Yamada Mumon
88
Nothing Lacking TaikanMonju
90
Enter into the Faith Hata Egyokyu
92
Enter from Here Hoshino Taigen
94
Board ChuhoSou
96

Board KosetsuSoryu
56
Wind and Bamboo Shibayama Zenkei
58
Barriers DaikyuEbo
60
Barriers Jiun Sonja
62
Cultivating Skill Chuho Sou
64
Pine DeiryuKutsu
66
Baking Pan SetsudoNyoun
68
Every Shape Every Form KeijuDorin
70
Cake Shunsojoshu
72
Eat This Fukushima Keido
74
Alone Am the Honored One ToreiEnji
76
Alone Am the Honored One ToreiEnji
78
Enso in Enso Nantenbo
80
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 ToreiEnji
110
Smiling Circle Ishikawa Bokugyu
112
Dream DeiryuKutsu
114
Epilogue
133
Biographies of Artists
139
Select Bibliography
165
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About the author (2007)

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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