Wednesday, August 05, 2009

In Praise of Four Enso

The Ensō is one of the most prevalent images of Zen art. It has been subject to a rich variety of interpretations—seen as everything from a rice cake to a symbol of infinity. But regardless of how it is understood, the ensō is above all an expression of the mind of the artist who brushes it. It is said that the state of the practitioner can be clearly read in his or her execution of the circle.

very nice Enso at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The poem to the left of the superb Enso above reads:

With a heart permeated with innocence, The virtuous dragon walks alo

The first card in the Tarot is numbered O. The Fool.

"When a courier was sent to the Florentine painter Giotto (1266?–1337) to obtain an example of the painter’s work for Pope Benedict, the painter created a perfect circle in red ink. When the courier asked the painter if this was the only example of his work he was to receive, Giotto explained that the image was “enough and too much,” and asked that it be sent to the Pope to see if he would understand. The drawing was delivered, and the Pope immediately realized Giotto’s talent." -Yoshiko Seo, Enso

In the picture above an atom is depicted. The atoms that compose our bodies are mostly empty space. Empty space pervades the material world, and every sub-atomic particle is the excitation, or vibration, of an empty vacuum. The physicist Stephen Hawkings says "In the case of the whole universe, one can show that the negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy of the matter. So the total energy of the universe is zero." Is the universe of modern quantum physics a giant Enso?

Minneapolis manhole cover/ Enso

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