Hombu Dojo 1968

Hombu Dojo 1968

Friday, September 28, 2007

heavenly dance - tenbu

Heavenly Dance - Tenbu
By Ze'ev Erlich (c)2007

In our house, at the entrance there is a beautiful Japanese calligraphy. Many people ask for its meaning and I tell them that the words in it say "Ten-Bu" - "Heavenly Dance". They usually nod and go on... Most people don't ask for further meaning.

Have you ever seen autumn leaves swirling in the wind? How about smoke rising up beautifully, creating spontaneous and harmonious drawings... In Israel we can sometimes see huge flocks of starlings (birds) forming amazing dancing clouds...

Looking at such wonderful natural dances make us feel the beauty of our world. In many forms of arts, we can find similar feeling. Especially when we see masters perform their arts. It can be seen not only in Asian arts but of course also in arts from all over the world. Especially in classical arts. When we see the flowing movements of the brush in the hands of a master calligrapher, the graceful movements of a ballet dancer, a virtuose pianist, an Aikido master... We can also see it in very skilled artisans.

When I see such movements in nature, in artists, in artisans - so harmonious and beautiful, I always remember this expression "Heavenly Dance".

In 2005 I saw once in Kyoto (Japan) a fantastic example of Heavenly Dance. It was in the evening on my way to a well known Zen temple called Kyomizu Dera. Several of my students were with me and we passed in front of a small Buddhist temple. The priest was chanting the sutra and while he was chanting, he played a special drum and sometimes hit his bell. At the moment the priest began chanting, his grandson who looked maybe two years old, stood up and began moving around, taping with his legs and moving his body to the rhythm of the priest. I am glad I had my camera with me because I can share this memorable view with you.
I hope you enjoy it and get some of the feeling. Here is a link to the video clip:

That "Heavenly Dance" calligraphy in my house was written by A famous Zen priest. His name was Nakagawa Soen. You can find many articles about him and by him on the internet and in books. Please look for them. Meanwhile, please enjoy his happy face in this photo:

I hope you all have a wonderful autumn.

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