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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 4, December 2016

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Angelee Deodhar
Chandigarh, Union Territory, India


Ensō

We go to my favourite restaurant for lunch. The last time we were here was six years ago on my birthday, before my late husband’s diagnosis of a lymphoma. The décor and table arrangements are the same, as is the silvery Buddha screen. The Chinese music is loud and jarring and I ask them to turn it down.

We sip jasmine tea and talk about her sumi-e painting of Mt.Fuji and experiments with suminagashi. We munch kimchee followed by Thai curry on wild rice and talk about our families as if nothing is amiss, as if this will be but one of many more lifetime meetings.

just like before
I trace over the red circle
on the black menu card


Author’s Note:

Ensō (circle) is a sacred symbol in the Zen school of Buddhism and is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy, even though it is a symbol and not a character. The ancient ensō symbol refers to the beginning and end of all things, the circle of life and the connectedness of existence. It can symbolize emptiness or fullness, presence or absence. All things might be contained within, or, conversely, excluded by its boundaries.

Suminagashi is the Ancient Art of Japanese Marbling—a process of marbling plain paper with water and ink to transform it into something vibrant and colorful. It originated in Japan as early as the 12th century.

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