Alongside our weekly dharma posts, Our Pureland Village is a blog series to provide updates on exciting events and initiatives around our pureland village, AMTB NSW. Keep up to date with upcoming activities by subscribing to our newsletter.
AMTB NSW Youth Group recently hosted the first Calligraphy and Chinese Class, an initiative of Yidi Chen, an art teacher and youth group regular. Yidi's inspiration for the calligraphy class comes from her desire to bring fun and learning through the introduction of traditional Chinese culture and, from a Buddhist perspective, bring about meditative concentration through practicing careful attention to writing Chinese characters.
The session began with an introduction to the four treasures of chinese calligraphy: the brush, paper, inkstick and inkstone. Youth members practiced the art as the ancient Chinese would, by grinding the inkstick onto the stone slab to generate ink. Though quite handily, modern day liquid ink bottles were also available to use!
The lesson started off with practicing straight horizontal and vertical lines, mindfully focusing on the thickness and length of each stroke. Once that was mastered, participants moved on the practicing on simple chinese characters each with increasing difficulty and strokes: 一， 二， 三， 山， 月， 米. The practice was all the more necessary as participants then moved on to the final object of the class, to write the four chinese characters 孝，悌， 忠， 信 that have significance in Chinese culture and Buddhism. 孝 (xiào) means filial piety, 悌 (tì) means brotherly (or sibling) love and respect, 忠(zhōng) means loyalty and 信 (xìn) means trustworthy.
The session ended with nervous excitement among the youth members as they tested their skills by writing the characters onto decorative paper. The practice all paid off at the end as everyone was able to leave with a precious keepsake as a reminder of those important values and of the merry Sunday in the delightful company of fellow youth members practicing calligraphy and immersing in traditional Chinese culture and language.