Zen Mind, Brush Mind: Kaz Tanahashi


Kazuaki Tanahashi will be leading Brush Mind: Zen Calligraphy and Brushwork, September 11–13, 2015

A lot could be (and has been) said about  Kazuaki Tanahashi (who is affectionately known as “Kaz”) — a deeply precious teacher, artist, and activist.  Here, we’ll let his masterful bushwork do most of the talking.  Enjoy.




Zen Circles

“In the Zen tradition ensos, or circle symbols, have been drawn with black ink on paper, to represent enlightenment. As the multi-colored flow of paint represents the interconnectedness of all life, each circle reflects my hopes, visions and aspirations for a world making healthier choices for the benefit of future generations.”




Brush Calligraphy

“The ideography that originated in China has been a common writing system in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan for centuries, although the ideographs are pronounced differently.”




One-Stroke Paintings

“Tanahashi’s one-stroke paintings … always painted in just one breath, leave a passionate swash whispered trace.”

– Kyoto Journal

To see more of Kaz’s artwork, and to learn more about this incredible master, please visit his website, and check out this documentary on Youtube: Zen Brush Mind; Life and work of Kaz Tanahashi

And to learn more about the upcoming retreat that Kaz will bea leading at Shambhala Mountain Center, please click here.

Make Your Mark with Barbara Bash

Barbara Bash 4One of the community’s most well-known and talented artists, Barbara Bash is bringing her artistic skills and teaching talent to the Shambhala Mountain Center April 19-21. She will be teaching, “Brush Spirit: The Expressive Art of Calligraphy.” Bash studied Dharma Art with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Chinese pictograms with Ed Young. She also recently wrote and illustrated the True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude.

Of her chosen art form, Bash says: “Calligraphy is an inherently sacred activity because it synchronizes mind and body. It is a contemplative practice because it reveals who we are and brings the deep principles of meditation into action and manifestation in the world.” Furthermore, she adds, the practice of writing has been intertwined with religion, including her chosen practice, Buddhism.

“The Medieval monks wrote out texts in their scriptoriums, Buddhist monks copied sutras, Arabic calligraphers created elaborate ornamental designs for the name of Allah,” she explains.

#1 Barbara BashAt this workshop, students will learn three key things, including the strengthening the sense of embodiment in the making of a mark, says Bash. They will work first with the Chinese straight line discipline, which is actually a Tai chi practice, sitting at tables. Then Bash will guide them in bringing this settled and flexible body experience into the creation of large brush strokes while working on the floor.

“Using the whole body brings stability and relaxation into the practice of brush calligraphy,” she says.
As well, students will be illuminating the experience of mind, Bash adds. “’Calligraphy is a picture of the mind,’ according to the Chinese. Working with large brushes opens us to seeing where we are at each moment.”

Finally, students will be using the ancient principles of heaven, earth, and human as the bones of their abstract strokes. “This gives us a way to be held by the process, showing us how to begin, how to follow through, how to resolve and let go–in mark making and in life,” Bash explains.

Bash is looking forward to the workshop. “Being part of the community of a workshop brings me delight,” she says. “Everyone’s strokes are inherently interesting, imperfect and beautiful.  I never get tired of seeing what unfolds in the conversation between humans and brushes!”

Barbara Bash 3