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The Elements of Typographic Style

Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T Pullover

Minding the Earth, Mending the Word: Zen and the Art of Planetary Crisis

North Face Base Camp Duffel (Medium)




Entries in Enso (3)


Rattan Ensō

Six different species of rattan cane rolled up and carefully laid out on the Ledo Road in Shimbweyeng, Kachin State, Myanmar (see Packing Up In Shimbweyeng). Love the different colors and sizes. Reminds me of those Zen circles (ensōs) that symbolize "a moment when the mind is completely spacious and unfettered and true reality is allowed to manifest itself". Which may or may not describe my state of mind in January 2005 after finishing up six weeks of fieldwork in the Hukaung Valley (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey). 


Sand Painting

As part of ArtFest 2011 in New Rochelle, the Empty Hand Zen Center hosted the participatory creation of a sand painting. I set up my camera on a tripod, hooked it to pClix intervalometer, and took a picture every 15 seconds during the sand painting. I then stitched together the 1237 images using the Image Sequence feature in Quicktime Pro 7. The result is shown above. Beautiful work of art. Powerful teaching on impermance.[NOTES: The sand painting was conceived, drawn, and directed by Carolyn Fuchs (thx, Carrie). The pClix intervalometer performed flawlessly].


Sweetcake Ensō

In Zen Buddhist painting, the ensō, or brushed ink circle, symbolizes a moment when the mind is completely unfettered and true reality is allowed to manifest itself.  There are a lot of different types of ensōs, e.g. mirror ensō, moon ensō, universe ensō, each type expressing a subtly different meaning. These calligraphic circles are profound but they are not abstract, and when enlightenment and the acts of daily life-"sipping tea and eating rice cakes"- are one, there is true Buddhism.  The sweetcake ensō expresses this realization.

A unique traveling exhibit of sweetcake ensōs, including works from traditional calligraphers as well as more contemporary renderings, will be inaugurated at the Empty Hand Zen Center on October 2 and 3.  One of the pieces from the exhibit, Life and Death by Zen Master Nonin Chowaney, is shown above. Additional information about the exhibit, as well as artwork and writings from prominent scholars and American Zen teachers can be found here