Sumi-e, the painting meditation. - InnerUnion

Sumi-e, the painting meditation.

Sumi-e It's a school of Japanese art rooted in the Zen tradition.

What these artists do is they paint typical things, like in this example a cliff in nature (less common these days in the modern world for us) and they use ink to capture raw pieces of the scenery while leaving huge unpainted spaces.

What is the meaning of this? It's a form of meditation, they paint to capture reality in it's simplest form. It's very similar to getting a satori from a koan, just as they try to get loans to make you experience the ultimate reality, so they paint in the same manner, as sudden and simple as possible.

The most amazing thing is the technique they use. A Zen master sits in a blank sheet of paper and gazes it until his mind becomes reduced to that black sheet of paper. Then they they introduce in they introduce the thought about what they want to paint.

Then they say that you must feel what you want to paint, the wetness of branches, the thickness, the breeze... Then they enter into a pure awareness of the thing they want to paint and allow the hand to move. They emphasize that there's no technique no method, nothing to do, no effort to make.

This is because thought is limited, once you have something in mind it becomes a limited memory and doesn't capture anything new. One's mind needs to become aware without words in order to be fully open. Then the mind doesn't seek because it has no notion of expectation, which is what was limiting it.

If you painted a good bamboo once and you act upon that memory, you will be frustrated because your experience must match an extremely tight criterion. What did that painting before was no word or memory but raw intention without someone intending. A bamboo alone in the sky of awareness.
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