Ink, Paper, Brush: An Introduction to Kanji, with William Kando Johnston

Northeast USA  

September 14, 2013
10:00 amto4:00 pm

Zen Center of New York City

Many of us are intrigued by Chinese characters, or kanji, in Japanese, and feel drawn to their fluid lines and striking beauty, as well as their richness of meaning. Whether we’ve appreciated the dynamic calligraphy of ancient masters or simply wondered about these characters as we encounter them in our Buddhist practice, for most of us, kanji remain elusive and mysterious. Learning to write characters with a calligraphy brush is a wonderful way to get to know kanji and so deepen our appreciation of this ancient Zen art.

By using brush calligraphy as a base, this workshop will help provide a basic understanding of some of the common kanji found in Zen practice. Beginning with some of the simple characters that appear frequently, we will examine not only the brushwork but also the structure of kanji, their evolution over time, and some examples of their use in Buddhism, especially by some of the great calligraphers, such as Dogen, Ikkyu, and Hakuin. There are three common styles of calligraphy — formal, semi-cursive, and cursive — and we will learn how to write all of these for a number of kanji.

It has been said that calligraphy is all about becoming a certain movement, to be repeated ad infinitum, yet each time fresh and unique. With this in mind, we will practice letting our bodies and minds harmonize with ink, brush, and paper, expressing creatively within this classical form and discovering the natural joy and serenity of calligraphy practice.

About the Instructor: William Kando Johnston started his formal practice of calligraphy while a graduate student in Japan in 1978. Since then, he has continued practicing calligraphy, most recently studying under Kaz Tanahashi. He is professor of Japanese history at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, where he currently serves as department chair. He has been practicing Zen for over thirty years, and became an MRO student in 2001.

Cost: $75 (MRO Students: $65)

For more information, or to register:
Ink, Paper, Brush, with Kando Johnston
Zen Center of New York City
500 State Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 875-8229 • •