One-Stroke Calligraphy by Venerable Master Hsing Yun
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 09.00 – 18.00 and Saturday 10.00 – 18.00
“If one must speak of the value of One-Stroke Calligraphy, one can only say that they are but the product of the desire to establish good affinities and bring happiness to people by a monastic who has renounced lay life for 78 years. I hope that everyone can take home with them the Dharma within my writing and the Dharma joy of faith.” Hsing Yun
Forty-eighth patriarch of the Linji Chan School, Venerable Master Hsing Yun was born in 1927 in Jiangsu province, China. At age 12 he entered the Qixia monastery at Nanjing as a novice, receiving full ordination at the age of 18. He was educated at a Buddhist seminary, but poverty and war in China prevented him from practising calligraphy. After he arrived in Taiwan, he began writing characters on pieces of paper as a way to decorate the plain walls of the dilapidated temple during chanting rituals. For many years, this was how he practised his calligraphy art. One day a devotee handed him money for some of his calligraphy. He was very taken aback. Word got out and other requests followed. He is gratified that his calligraphy brought joy to others.
In 2005 an exhibition of his calligraphy was organised at the National Art Gallery Malaysia, without his knowledge. Since then many exhibitions have been held in national museums in China, Austria, Denmark and many countries. This is the first time his art has been exhibited in London. “I encourage people to not just look at my writing but to look instead for my heart in these writings. For me, it is the bit of compassion that I can show you,” he says.
Now at the age of 90, he has gone blind and cannot read, but that has not stopped his art. He explains: “Since I cannot see, I can only estimate the spacing between characters. Once my brush is dipped in ink, I must complete it within one stroke – otherwise, I will not know where to start with the second stroke. Relying on my intuition, no matter how many characters from a phrase I need to write, I must accomplish it in one stroke in order to reach my goal. Thus it is called ‘One-Stroke Calligraphy.’
Tea drinking has a long-standing relationship with the Buddhist tradition. Masters in the Chan Buddhist School had a high regard for tea drinking. Visitors to this exhibition will be treated to an experience of Chan and tea culture in a Tea Ceremony led by Fo Guang Shan practitioners. You will also get a chance to try your hand at printing your own calligraphy.
This event is supported by The Pure Land Foundation.