black ink

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)

matsubwSumi 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

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