The Problem of Books: Linear Thought

In many ways, the idea that any matter can not be explained but only experienced is quite right.  Zen masters speak of giving an ideal lecture on the nature of Zen by simply walking into the room, ringing a gong, and then walking out. For in that sound and whole experience is all that is needed to fully comprehend everything.  Yet, we can not.

We are bound to words.  We are bound to words and words are bound to sensible sentences…and those sentences are bound to lines.  Lines do not in any way describe what actually exists they only serve to crudely translate to our limited minds what we have only begun to understand, and then those translations are interpreted as symbols.  Before continuing, please refer to this video I have edited specifically for this blog entry.  It is an excerpt from “Alan Watts: A Conversation with Myself” The initial spark for this entry most certainly were these considerations:

What must be expressed and considered is that language as we know it to be is too primitive and, as we evolve further and further, must too evolve and be improved upon.  Continue reading

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Hand-Writing All 1,947 Jōyō Kanji: Ten Things I Learned.

“The Jōyō kanji are the 1,947 most essential kanji in the Japanese language as designated by the Ministry of Education.  I hand-wrote them all.  This is what I learned…”

Waves of Kanji

Waves of Kanji

In an effort to improve my Japanese writing finesse and satisfy my nearly insatiable interest in Chinese characters I undertook the daunting task of hand-writing every single one of the 1,947 Jōyō kanji as included in this book.  I literally went through every single one of the kanji included in this reference book and wrote and rewrote them until I had gone through all of them.  The focus was on repetition and muscle memory, and maintaining the correct stroke order was pivotal to the entire exercise.

To set the record straight, I really enjoy studying kanji…really enjoy.  What to many is boring and impossible, I find meditative and relaxing, insightful and enlightening.  Within each kanji there is a story and a reason for its construction.  Every kanji is based in a history that is long and clouded and originates in ancient China making them living artifacts, speech relics that are as good today as they were one-thousand years ago.  Each stroke is carefully planned and, when performed in the correct order, smooth and natural to your hand. Continue reading