Zen Art

Bochum, Germany

On August 28, the Buddha Spur (Buddha’s Trace) exhibition opened at the Kunstmuseum in Bochum, Germany. There are fourteen zenga on display from the Felix Hess’s Kaeru-an collection, including scrolls by such great masters as Fugai, Hakuin, Sengai, Tesshu, and Ishikawa Jozan. I served as curator. The zenga selection has a separate room in the … Continue reading

Zen Art

Zen Reflections in England

In England, I visited the Tate Gallery to see the works of J.W.M. Turner (1773–1851), Britain’s most celebrated painter.  Turner is considered a romantic artist, and most of his paintings, almost all landscapes, are full-blown productions often featuring shipwrecks, fires, natural disasters, wars, and epic historical events. Again, not my taste, but Turner’s paintings near … Continue reading

Zen Art

Paul Reps' "Zen Fish"

For the past forty years, anyone with even a passing interest in Zen has likely read Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel and Zen Flesh, Zen Bones by Paul Reps (and probably Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki as well). Reps was an eccentric character who lived as a beggar-poet and … Continue reading

Zen Art

Finding Zen Scrolls, Part 2

In Japan, there are home demolition specialists that tear down a house, salvaging anything that looks of value, for example, interesting pieces of wood and the things a family leaves in the attic, in closets, and in drawers. The contents are sold off—a kind of estate sale. As in the US, there are treasures to … Continue reading

Zen Art

Finding Zen Scrolls, Part 1

Where do Zen scrolls come from? Every Saturday, I visited the antique stores in Sendai. The dealers were my mentors and friends, and a few were serious Zen students and ardent tea ceremony devotees. (Or they were gangsters.  These guys had acquired high quality goods as collateral for loans they had made over the years. … Continue reading

Zen Art

Upcoming Summer Seminar

I will be leading an Aikido seminar in Belgium from July 16 to July 22. This is the 23rd year that the seminar has been held.  We focus on the spiritual side of Aikido—misogi, chinkon-kishin, kototama, kuji-giri, and aiki cosmology, topics that are not normally practiced and discussed in seminars, alas.  If you are in … Continue reading

Zen Art

An Update on Sendai

In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that stuck northern Japan on March 11, my friends and family in Sendai report that they have, as much as possible, returned to life as normal. This, of course, is important not just for the rebuilding of the area, but psychologically as well—looking forward instead of bemoaning one’s … Continue reading

Zen Art

Zen Art in Greece

I participated in the International Art Seminar organized by Eamonn Devlin and Aikido of Athens from May 5–8 in Nafplio, Greece. I taught classes on Zen calligraphy, Misogi, and Aikido as well as giving three lectures, including one on Samurai Zen art. Other instructors were Janet Clift (Aikido), Michael Ibers (Aikido, Iaido, and theater), and … Continue reading