Below is perhaps one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken, and some really wonderful and thought-provoking calligraphy. It was real pleasure and honor to see the opening of the meditative calligraphy exhibit by Thich Nhat Hanh at ABC Carpet and Home last night.
The evening started in somewhat typical NYC fashion, when many of us arrived a few minutes late, only to be told that we could not go up to the talk by Vietnamese Zen master and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh, because the chanting had already started. A nervous usher tried to get people to be patient and wait 20 minutes until the chanting ended before they entered the space of the talk and calligraphy exhibit. This was almost too much for many people to deal with. For a moment my friend Ericka Phillips, Director of NY Shambhala, and I thought there was going to be a riot at a meditation event! True NYC, we giggled to ourselves at the cognitive dissonance. But then we were allowed in, and Thay, as he is called, gave a beautiful lecture about his calligraphy and then led a silent walking meditation around the exhibit. After he had circled the entire exhibit, he became the exhibit. He took his seat at a calligraphy table that they had set up for him to execute calligraphy on the spot. I got a front row look at his work, which was amazing . The deliberate way and mindfulness with which he handled his tea, his ink, and his brush were a true teaching transmission to watch. I have often found many of his Dharma concepts very beautiful in their simplicity, but to have this first-hand experience of how embodied he is; it was amazing. It reminded me of videos I’ve seen of Chogyam Trungpa executing calligraphy. It is hard to describe. Pictures of my three favorite calligraphies, which I also posted to Instagram are posted below.
I’m heading into the weekend inspired to get back to practice and study this fall. New Yorkers, I hope to see you Monday night at IDP or Tuesday night at the Shambala Center, where we don’t make you wait if you are two minutes late, because we know how dangerously impatient New Yorkers can be 🙂