what kind of thing is kokoro
I cannot say –
it is painted in ink…
the sound of wind in the pines
Ikkyu (translation by Stephen Addiss)
Sumi painting uses just black ink and a brush. Black ink is black ink, but black ink is not black as a single color. Katagiri roshi (Returning to Silence) draws our attention to the subtle color in black. When I draw a pine tree or the kanji character that is in effect the abstraction of a pine tree, I’m drawing the tree, the ground, the sky, and all the beings that inhabit the environment containing this lone pine. You may not immediately perceive it; it’s a collection of black lines after all! But perhaps, you can sense what these lines evoke in you. A scent, an outline along a ridge, birdsong, a rustle of movement in the needles under the branches.
Thank you for practising,
Image: Kanji character matsu/pine tree