Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: The Zen of Creativity Introduction and Chapter One PROMPT

  1. #1

    The Zen of Creativity Introduction and Chapter One PROMPT

    Hello everyone and welcome to our first prompt.

    Before starting any of the prompts, once you have assembled your materials/media, I would just like to ask you to sit for at least five minutes, just as you do in zazen, allowing the mind to settle and putting aside any expectations and ideas of what might ( or might not!) happen next. Just be with yourself.

    So, for this first prompt, I want to draw together in one simple practice some of the creative experiences John Daido Loori touches upon in his introduction to the book and its initial section 'Melting Snow'. In particular let's look at the effect witnessing a tea ceremony and a calligraphy demonstration had on Daido Loori – leading him to say at the end of this section that everything had led to 'this moment, this teacher, this bow'. Reading about both the tea ceremony and the calligraphy, there is a sense of both practices taking place in, and perpetuating, a sense of calm, of letting go of all irrelevance, of being focussed entirely on the moment. Of doing, and being completely at one with that.

    The simple practice which I want us to do in order to have that same experience ourselves, is to create enso. (Forgive me if the macron above the o doesn't appear, it doesn't work on some of my devices.) Enso is probably one of the symbols most associated with Zen, I'm sure we are all familiar with it and Google will show you hundreds of examples. Find a Wiki definition here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ens%C5%8D ). There is also an existing thread about enso on this forum, some lovely innovative work here https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...rt-Circle-Enso . I leave it to you to do as much or little research as you want, but the important thing is the doing!

    Very simply, enso is a circle, sometimes complete, sometimes not, that should be completed in one continuous and meditative movement. I find it easier to compose myself on the inbreath then create the enso on the outbreath, but that's up to you. The main thing is to bring your whole self to a point where you drop all thought, judgement and self consciousness around what you are doing and focus on the connection between yourself and the practice, so that you, the movement and your chosen materials become one.

    You will need: something to make a mark with – brush and paint/ink, pencil, felt tip, ballpoint, crayon, chalk etc; and something to make a mark on – plain paper, newspaper, the back of an envelope, the page of an old book ( old thread bound hardbacks make wonderful journal/sketch/collage books especially with a coat of gesso on the pages) .

    If you have none of those, you could pour salt or flour or sugar onto paper or a plate or bowl in a circle or mark an enso in the salt with your finger; you could even dip your finger into your coffee and draw onto paper. If you are outside you could take a stick and draw in sand or earth, as you can see, the possibilities are many and varied! Your enso can be tiny, it can be huge. You can do as many as you want, but remember this isn't about trying until you get what you think is a 'perfect' enso, because they will all be perfect, just as they are, just as you are.

    With this first Enso we are making marks in a fairly traditional way, but please do think about continuing your Enso practice using your favourite medium – this might be photography, words, music, sewing, knitting, even planting in the garden – let your ideas run free. This is a beautiful meditative practice that you can come back to again and again in so many ways.
    Prepare your materials, sit for five minutes, bring yourself to the moment...and create.

    I don't want to say any more for now because it's important that this is an experiential practice rather than a guided one. However, it would be good to reflect upon how making this enso resonates with the questions we are posing in the discussion and whether it has changed your responses. Above all, have fun!
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nd-chapter-one

    IMPORTANT: Please, please photograph your results and post them here, a very important part of this process for us all!


    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    I will not be joining in with the book discussion at this time... but I really kind of want to participate in the art projects if something strikes me. May I, even if I am not reading the book? I realize that these projects are based in ideas and teaching from Loori and I will not interfere if you wish.

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Geika View Post
    I will not be joining in with the book discussion at this time... but I really kind of want to participate in the art projects if something strikes me. May I, even if I am not reading the book? I realize that these projects are based in ideas and teaching from Loori and I will not interfere if you wish.

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    Geika, please do join in whenever you want, you are welcome. hopefully at some point in the future you will feel inspired to read the book too.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltodaylah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    I do plan on reading it, yes, and it is on my wishlist, but I have too many to read at this point.

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  5. #5
    Hello,

    thank you both for bringing this to life.
    Normally, I am constructing, adding levels of 'meaning' etc. to the things, I am creating.
    Very tempting, playing with different materials and adding more 'meaning' to this.
    But I think it's worth, exploring it in it's simplicity of just being one with the activity.
    So for a first try, I stuck with the traditional ink with brush on washi paper.
    Prepared the ink on the stone and enjoyed the action and smell.
    Sat for a moment.
    One breath, one stroke, one Enso. One.
    Interestingly different from what I am used to. I think I'll continue with one Enso a day, before maybe playing with other materials.

    Enso-01.jpg

    Gassho, Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    Hello,

    thank you both for bringing this to life.
    Normally, I am constructing, adding levels of 'meaning' etc. to the things, I am creating.
    Very tempting, playing with different materials and adding more 'meaning' to this.
    But I think it's worth, exploring it in it's simplicity of just being one with the activity.
    So for a first try, I stuck with the traditional ink with brush on washi paper.
    Prepared the ink on the stone and enjoyed the action and smell.
    Sat for a moment.
    One breath, one stroke, one Enso. One.
    Interestingly different from what I am used to. I think I'll continue with one Enso a day, before maybe playing with other materials.

    Enso-01.jpg

    Gassho, Kotei sat/lah today.
    Ah, lovely to see and to read Kotei!
    Yes, preparing the stone is a very important part of that traditional process. I only have bottled ink so I spend some time getting that to the consistency I want, swirling the brush in gentle circles in the bowl. The process itself, like a journey, can become the destination.
    An ensō a day is a beautiful practice.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  7. #7
    hello everyone,

    Here's my effort. Making the image with no-thought, w/o judgement and with one exhale was a departure from my usual fretting, speculating and judging. Thanks for the project, Meitou.

    The red clay used is from northern NM. And because it has special meaning for me that entered into the moment. I first had to slake it out and get to the right consistency and used a brush, rather than my finger. Which I might try later! although I have a bandage on my right index finger.

    enso.jpg

    And Kotei, your enso / practice is a beautiful reflection of a still mind. thanks for participating.

    Gassho,
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  8. #8
    Thank you, Meitou, for this prompt. I just used a black marker on paper. I hope I can upload the picture:
    Enso.jpeg

  9. #9
    Hi Meitou,

    Thank you for this post. I will certainly participate with my enso. I have been doing them for quite a few years now and every time is a whole new experience. None of theme are alike! Each represent a stage of life.

    I'll sit for a couple of days with this and I will post my little enso

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Sat/LAH
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  10. #10
    Hi all!

    I had forgotten how simple this exercise is, and yet how difficult at the same time!

    My media were a shodō brush, calligraphy ink and recycled paper.

    After sitting and breathing, sometimes the brush moved smoothly, sometimes it did not. It took a few attempts to find a rhythm and fluidity.

    I brushed around twelve enso. These are three of them that seemed the most aesthetically pleasing:

    Enso 1
    Enso 2
    Enso 3

    Thank you Anne and Meitou for running these explorations.

    Gasshi
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  11. #11
    Thank you Meitou and Anne for running this lovely project!
    I'll gladly participate with my prompts although with no book for the time being

    Gassho
    Washin
    st/lah
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  12. #12
    Great work everyone, please keep going, I'm doing this too and will post in a couple of days. Now that some of you have immersed yourselves in this, can you see how it relates to the discussion Anne has opened https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nd-chapter-one
    How does this practice relate to John Daido Lori's observations? For future posts we will have just one thread for the discussion and prompt, but for now please put your comments on the discussion thread.
    Washin, have a look at the discussion, I think it's possible to make some observations without having read the text as Anne's opening remarks are pretty comprehensive.
    Deep bows to everyone, thank you for your practice.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Satwithyoualltoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  13. #13
    Hello Meitou and everybody,

    I've being excited to do this reading and this prompt since I saw it last weekend. But I could only find time to do it today, as my classes were cancelled because of a students party at the same time (not my idea to cancel them, director's order, by the way).

    I did wanted to buy a Japanese Calligraphy Set I saw, but since the price was a little too high, I ended up buying instead two brush pens and a paper (I thought it was plain paper when I bought it, but it ended up having a kind of frame printed in it, but I used it any way).

    I did 5 minutes of zazen, them treined seven times using a small pen before the final version done in one breath. I got really inspired to try some calligraphy and, thinking about my niece, ended up writing the character for "healthy" after the enso. Promise not to do it next time.

    Here is my first enso:
    2019-may-31 (1).jpg

    Gassho,
    Mateus
    Sat today/LAH
    Last edited by mateus.baldin; 05-31-2019 at 06:56 PM. Reason: Correcting bad English

  14. #14
    Washin, have a look at the discussion, I think it's possible to make some observations without having read the text as Anne's opening remarks are pretty comprehensive.
    Thank you for the link, Meitou. I'm following the discussions now...

    Here's my first Enso prompt I attempted few days ago..
    20190529_122212.jpg
    Tools: handpalm on sand

    I'll keep on practicing further also using more traditional approach

    Gassho,
    Washin
    st-lah
    Last edited by Washin; 06-01-2019 at 08:43 AM. Reason: inappropriate size of the photo
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  15. #15
    Hello everyone,

    I had tried to post yesterday, then my laptop crashed Now I have switched from Mac (lifelong Mac user) to a PC laptop, but it works and I'm a big believer in cloud storage, so I am grateful and "up and running" enough (work and school).

    i recently received the book in the mail, have not had time to start reading it yet due to the storms this past week and then the tech issues. hope to soon.

    gassho
    kim
    st lh
    "Not all those who wander are lost." (J.R.R. Tolkien)

  16. #16
    Hello everyone, again thank you for your wonderful work - Mateus, you can do whatever you feel is right, it's your creativite practice! In fact I think the calligraphy at the end is perfect and appropriate because it's exactly what arose for you in that moment, most important.
    Kim, whenever you are ready is fine. I know all about computer probs, mine died a few months ago but I managed to raise this old PC from the dead and I'm really grateful too to be up and running.

    Here are my two enso for this week.

    This first one was drawn using some nice chunky charcoal on printer paper

    prompt 1.1.jpg

    After I had sat with it for a few minutes, I decided to cover its area with more charcoal, then draw an enso with my finger in the charcoal dust. I liked the reverse effect idea and how the enso are 'not one, not two' but fully interconnected.

    prompt 1.2.jpg

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  17. #17
    Hello everyone,

    Some very fine enso paintings here! I know they represent a silent non judging mind and an exhale! Lovely.

    Thanks for participating in our project. If you get a chance check out the post on the first two chapters (https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...nd-chapter-one) and Meitou, Onkai and Mateus' thoughtful and thought provoking responses.

    Toward the end of the week/next weekend we will post our discussion and prompt for chapter 2 (Mountains and Rivers). Just a head's up.

    Gassho,

    Anne

    ~lahst~

  18. #18



    Three enso I scratched with a stick into sand at Morecambe bay. I’m showing three in the order that I did them. With each attempt I noticed my mind interfering more and more. I think the first one is ‘better ‘, but the again that’s a post hoc judgement after the event. It’s the application of an aesthetic and I’m not sure that should be part of this exercise but the mind craves it.

    Gassho,

    Martyn
    Sat today


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Wow. Seeing all these ensos is inspiring. Not knowing any of the makers too well, I feel like each tells me something I could not know through typical channels of communication. As if each is a window into the person who made it.

    Totally did not expect that.

    Also, I did not expect the making of my own enso to be so intense. I chose a new medium for me: a pan pastel with a sponge for a brush. I got the paper and the tools ready and then sat in zazen for 20 minutes. Then with sponge in hand, it took me another 60 seconds before I found the right moment to make my enso. Blown away.

    Having never done this before, I spent a week thinking, "it will be just a circle." But it was not just a circle.

    So glad to be on this journey with all of you!


    WIN_20190602_21_00_33_Pro.jpg

    Gassho,

    Kate SAT/lah
    Kate

  20. #20
    Hi there,

    sorry I am late in joining in, have ordered the book now and looking forward to the experience of sharing our thoughts and ideas.

    Thank you Anne and Meitou for initiating the journey,

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    sat today

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •