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Enso, meaning of the zen circle

Enso, meaning of the zen circle


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Enso, traditional meaning of the Zen circle and its declinations in modern culture. The choice of the meaning to get a tattoo and its symbolism in Zen Buddhism.

The Ensō (in Japanese: 円 相) is a word that means circle and contains a deep and well-rooted meaning in Zen Buddhism. The meaning is a symbol of illumination, infinity and the absolute universe. How Zen philosophy represents everything (the universe) and nothing (absolute emptiness). Let's see together what these things mean and why many people choose it as a subject for a tattoo.

Enso, meaning of the zen circle

The Japanese wordEnso, written correctlyEnsō, it meanscircle. Its meaning is not so much related to thecircle symbolbut to what it represents in theZen philosophy.

Thezen buddhismcontains inenso, circle symbol, ameaningdeep and complex.

L'Ensōit represents illumination, strength, the universe. At first glance it may seem like a simple circle but it is believed that a person's character and attitudes are completely revealed by the way he draws thiscircle.

In short, even if themeaning of meaningis universal, everyensoit is unique and contains the very essence of the person who designs it.

Enso Buddhism

The ensō is a sacred symbol in zen buddhism, and is often used by Zen masters as a signature in their works.

So do all Zen masters sign their works with the same symbol? At first glance it might seem like some sort ofstandardizationbut it is not at all. As stated, eachenso symbolit is unique and hismeaningindividual cannot ignore the hand of the Zen master or the artist who draws it.

For example, some draw the meaning with an opening in the circle while others complete it. Some make perfectly closed, harmonic lines, while others leave some sort of"Ink smear". Any choice cansymbolizesomething and conceals its meaning. The opening, in fact, could underline the basis of Zen Buddhism, that is, that everything is connected in the universe and that the Zen circle is not, in that case, separated from the rest of things and is part of a much larger design.

How to draw an enso

Thezen circle designis "easy"to realize. Traditionally, the Zen circle is drawn with a single brushstroke made on rice paper or silk. The design must be processed in a single gesture, without any possibility of change or correction.

The Enso is a metaphor of absolute Zen, the true nature of existence and enlightenment. InZen Buddhismit is thought that this character, in its deepest authenticity, can only be drawn by a mentally and spiritually complete person.

Enso tattoo, the zen circle tattoo

For the charm of hismeaning, the Zen circle, theisnso, is often chosen as the subject for a tattoo. A Zen symbol to be tattooed on the shoulder, chest or following circular elements of the body (knee, elbow, finger…).

Explain the meaning ofensoit's a bit like wanting to explain, in a few lines, the entire Zen philosophy. L'enso in fact it symbolizes:

  • the perpetual cyclical change, expressed by the circle.
  • The union between two opposites, expressed by the fullness of the circular path and by the void inside it.
  • The union of the beginning and the end.
  • Strength, the Universe, Illumination, the Void, everything and nothing.

If it is true that this is its meaning, it is equally true, as stated in advance, that there are many declinations. These shades can be best used to make atattoothat it is as personal as possible.

Thezen circleit can be symmetrical or unbalanced, drawn with a thick or thin brushstroke, with a strong or jagged brushstroke, closed or open ... Depending on the creativity and spirit of those who want to get this tattoo, there are then different declinations or "types of enso" or the same enso can becustomized.


Video: Zen: An Introduction (June 2022).


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