Circles of enlightenment.
Full and empty
Circles express completeness, connection and unity. They point to the natural cycle of birth and death, and to the interdependence of all that exists. At the same time they go beyond duality. By their very nature they are not straight and linear, but organic and dynamic, powerful and unpredictable. They are a vital expression of chi (or ki), the energy of life.
In Chinese and Japanese Zen Buddhism the circle (ensō) is used for many centuries by artist-monks. It is said to be a symbol of emptiness (shunyata). This does not mean that nothing is there – on the contrary, it is like an undifferentiated limitless source, a flow from which all things are emerging.
If you are completely mindful and awake, in this moment and with each breath you take, you may experience that fullness and emptiness go together (Dutch: vol-ledig-heid). You feel compassionate and free. This presence is sometimes called enlightenment.
In my work I try to give expression to the wonders of each moment, respectfully building on the work of all my predecessors – artists and teachers –, yet in a contemporary style. My deep wish is, that my paintings will provide inspiration and contribute if even so slightly to a more peaceful universe.
The Circles of enlightenment may be appreciated and experienced in the same way as they were made. As Kazuaki Tanahashi (21st century, C.E.) states: ‘There is no suffering in immediacy, only in its delay.’ Yang-shan (9th century, C.E.), talking about a circle, put it in a more mystifying way: ‘To understand this with thinking is second best; to understand this without thinking is third best.’ And to quote the last line of a poem by myself: ‘No trace remains, no thought, no me.’
Circles can be admired for their playfulness as well. So if you may find the spiritual dimension too far-fetched, I invite you to just enjoy them as they are, their shape, colors and movement. Still you never know what they may bring to you…
May everybody be happy!
Do-Kan, April 2013