Order The Japanese Way of the Artist

Order The Japanese Way of the Artist
Click on the image above to order The Japanese Way of the Artist. Including extensive illustrations and an all-new introduction by the author, The Japanese Way of the Artist (Stone Bridge Press, September 2007) anthologizes three complete, out-of-print works by the Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts. With penetrating insight into the universe of Japanese spiritual, artistic, and martial traditions, H. E. Davey explores everything from karate to calligraphy, ikebana to tea, demonstrating how all traditional Japanese arts share the same spiritual goals: serenity, mind/body harmony, awareness, and a sense of connection to the universe.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Crazy for Kanji"

H. E. Davey Sensei's Japanese calligraphy will be featured in the upcoming Stone Bridge Press book Crazy for Kanji. A sample of his brush writing, which will appear in the new book, can been seen above. It shows the three different script styles commonly used in Japanese calligraphic art.

The kanji, or "Chinese character," depicted in all three illustrations is do (a.k.a. michi), which means "a road" in its more utilitarian usage and "the Way" in more spiritual terms. Many traditional Japanese arts that are practiced for spiritual realization end with the character for do. Examples are shodo ("the Way of brush calligraphy") and budo ("the martial Way," in other words, martial arts). In the illustration above, do is brushed using kaisho, gyosho, and sosho script styles. Moving from left to right, each script becomes more and more abbreviated and abstract.

You can learn more about how shodo functions as an ancient system of writing, moving meditation, and abstract art, by visiting our sister blog Art of Shodo at http://artofshodo.blogspot.com/.

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, the book that this blog is devoted to, is now out of print. However, the entire book has been reprinted in The Japanese Way of the Artist. You can purchase Davey Sensei's latest book The Japanese Way of the Artist, which covers Japanese calligraphy in detail, through Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Way-Artist-Living-Meditation/dp/1933330074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229545807&sr=8-1

Want to find out more about the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts Integrated Shodo & Meditation program? Just drop by www.senninfoundation.com.

You can read more about The Japanese Way of the Artist and the upcoming Crazy for Kanji at www.stonebridge.com. Stone Bridge Press focuses on books about Japanese culture that will appeal to many readers of this blog.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ForeWord Magazine Review

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty
by: H.E. Davey
Issue Month:
November/December 2002
Category: Spirituality
50 illustrations
244 pages
ISBN: 188065671X

A spiritual path can emerge from learning Japanese calligraphy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, or martial arts. While millions of people around the world begin these practices, few go deep enough to experience the spiritual dimensions that are possible. How-to guides rarely cover enlightenment. This one, however, brings forty-five concepts the underpinning of all traditional Japanese cultural practices into focus. Understanding these Ways, the essence of living, points readers toward asking profound questions, getting inspired to take up a practice, and awakening to ultimate reality.The author illustrates how Japanese arts, followed with the right attitudes, can turn ongoing practice into moving meditation: "The Ways involve activity, and so their underlying principles can be discovered only by doing." Continued practice eventually embodies these essential universal truths in the body and mind of the practitioner, to achieve harmonious and effective ways of being in the world. A lifetime of mindful practice creates a physical understanding of, for example, in-yo, the Japanese equivalent of yin-yang, "the basic, complementary, and inseparable dualism evidenced in the relative world." Davey explains such aesthetic and spiritual terms at length, including some that Westerners may think they know like ki (life energy) or Do (the Way).

Connecting with the deepest possibilities in Japanese arts is a tall order. Davey is one Westerner able to deliver. He learned Japanese martial arts from his father and has practiced since he was five. He is now the highest-ranking American in the Nihon Jujutsu and Kobudo divisions of the Kokusai Budoin. This federation, sponsored by the Japanese Imperial Family, has conferred on him the title of Kyoshi or "Master's Certificate," equivalent to a sixth- to eighth-degree black belt. He is currently President of the Sennin Foundation, sponsor of Michi ("The Way") Online, an Internet magazine. In addition, he practices and teaches Japanese calligraphy and brush painting as well as a Japanese form of yoga at the highest levels. He has written books on the particulars of these Ways.

Because this learning must be experiential, there's much that won't be mastered by reading alone. However, the book offers some exercises called "experiments" to physically learn about the human center of gravity (hara), calmness (ochitsuki), and ki. An appendix provides sources for finding a good sensei (teacher). This holistic perspective presents a practical base of philosophy-in-action for those who want to take their Japanese arts beyond surface understanding. (November)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Writings of H. E. Davey

Selected Publications

Listed below are some of H. E. Davey’s award-winning books

Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu

“H. E. Davey’s book provides a useful overview of this fascinating art and a sampling of techniques from Saigo-ryu aikijujutsu . . . I would recommend Davey’s book to readers who are unfamiliar with aikijujutsu and looking for a concise introduction to this somewhat esoteric martial art.”
Journal of Asian Martial Arts

The first book in English about the techniques, history, and philosophy of aiki-jujutsu, a Japanese martial art. Published in 1997, Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu features Introductions by Sato Shizuya (jujutsu 10th degree black belt), Kawabata Terutaka (kobudo 9th degree), and Walter Todd (judo 8th degree, aikido 6th degree), among the world’s highest ranking martial arts experts.

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony (Stone Bridge Press)

“H. E. Davey combines a remarkable technical facility in the Japanese art of the brush with a deep understanding of its spiritual profundities. His book offers a marvelous practical introduction to Japanese calligraphy as well as insights into the essence of the art.”
Dave Lowry, author of Sword and Brush and numerous works on Japanese culture

One of the top ten best selling Stone Bridge Press books of 1999, Brush Meditation details the time-honored art of Japanese calligraphy and how it functions as meditation in motion. Read more about the book at http://brushmeditation.blogspot.com/. Read an excerpt here: http://books.google.com/books?id=HccZLz4VFvoC.

The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation (Stone Bridge Press)

“A very welcome addition to students of Japanese culture, interior decorators, florists, and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in floral arrangements, The Japanese Way of the Flower is an impressive, authoritative, and comprehensive introduction.”
Internet Book Watch

Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arrangement, and The Japanese Way of the Flower shows how it can lead to a deeper connection with nature and life. Published in 2000, it received numerous positive reviews. Read more about the book at http://japanesewayoftheflower.blogspot.com/.

Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation (Stone Bridge Press)

“Will make many yogis feel right at home... Davey's readable, friendly guide is definitely worth a look.”
Yoga Journal

The first book in English on the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation. Published in 2001, it received top reviews around the globe, including favorable comments from Yoga Journal in the USA and Tempu magazine in Japan. Yoga Japonesa: O Caminho da Meditacao Dinamica, the Brazilian version of Japanese Yoga was published by Editora Cultrix in 2003. Read more about the book at http://japaneseyoga.blogspot.com/. Read an excerpt here:

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty (Stone Bridge Press)

“Demonstrating the Japanese aesthetic of elegance (shibumi), Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts--calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremonies, painting--and the spiritual meaning of such practice.”
Publishers Weekly

Published in 2002, Living the Japanese Arts & Ways covers many classical Japanese arts and crafts, showing that universal principles of mind-body harmony underlie disciplines as diverse as martial arts, calligraphy, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and other art forms. In 2003, Spirituality & Health magazine presented H. E. Davey with its Book of the Year Award for Living the Japanese Arts & Ways. The same book was one of ForeWord magazine's top five books and a finalist for their Book of the Year Award. Read more about the book at http://japaneseartsandways.blogspot.com/. Read an excerpt here:

The Japanese Way of the Artist
(Stone Bridge Press)

Published in 2007, this anthology features some of H. E. Davey’s most popular books: Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower, and Living the Japanese Arts & Ways. Three complete works, with an all new and detailed Introduction by the author. Read more about the book at http://japanesewayoftheartist.blogspot.com/.

Selected Magazines and Newspapers

H. E. Davey’s articles and Japanese calligraphic art have been featured in magazines and newspapers throughout the United States and Japan. Some of these publications are listed below.

· Body Mind Spirit
· Excellence: A Magazine about Porsche Cars
· Furyu: Journal of Classical Japanese Martial Arts and Culture
· Gendo
· Hokubei Mainichi
· Journal of Asian Martial Arts
· Karate Kung-Fu Illustrated
· Miata Magazine
· Miracles Magazine
· Nichibei Times
· Porsche Panorama
· Seeds of Unfolding: Spiritual Ideas for Daily Living
· Shudokan Martial arts Association Journal
· Yoga Journal

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Art of Shodo Blog

To learn more about the Japanese calligraphy in Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, visit our sister blog Art of Shodo at http://artofshodo.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Asian Reporter Review

From The Asian Reporter, V14, #2 (January 6, 2004), page 11.

Practical pearls from Japanese "Ways"

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty
By H.E. Davey
Stone Bridge Press, 2003
Paperback, 212 pages, $18.95

By Oscar Johnson
Special to The Asian Reporter

At first glance, this glossy paperback may appear to have all the trappings of a wispy New Age treatise penned by the stereotypical Western "master" of eastern something-or-other. But if ever there’s a need to suspend judgment until beyond the cover, it’s with this book. Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty may not be exempt from such trappings. But it is far more than the sum of its words.

"Certain philosophical and aesthetic standards are shared by all Japanese arts," writes author H.E. Davey. "From the martial arts, to Japanese dance, to flower arrangement, distinctive artistic codes are held in common. These aesthetic codes have had a profound effect on the unfolding of the Ways."

The book conveys a depth of understanding in simple language that is as practical as it is profound. Dō (pronounced doe) or "Way," akin to its Chinese predecessor, Tao, is imbued throughout a myriad of traditional Japanese arts and crafts. It’s implied in the ubiquitous suffix of such words as Budo (way of martial arts), Chado (way of tea ceremony), Kado (way of flower arranging), and Shodo, (way of calligraphy). Traditional practice of these and other arts aims beyond hobby and expertise toward inner refinement: "Many paths, one Way." Both get ample play. But Living the Japanese Arts & Ways is not a dissertation on either.

While offering tidbits of the "paths" and the "Way," it points to some fundamental principles by which just about anything worth doing can be done better. That will — as the old song says, ironically and philosophically — "bring us back to" Dō ….

Davey, director of a San-Francisco-based Japanese cultural arts center, respected calligrapher, teacher, and author of books on shodo, kado, and Japanese yoga, sidesteps the esoteric. He uses plain language to unlock some essentials in Japan’s traditional cultural and spiritual aesthetics. In doing so, he draws from a well of not just knowledge, but experience, to offer readers a revealing glimpse of them. The emphasis is more on the why than the "how to."

The book, however, gives insights into subtle and often hard-to-grasp concepts that pierce the veil of tradition for observer and practitioner alike: an appreciation of Shizenteki or naturalness; Mono no Aware, the ability to eye beauty’s impermanence, freeing the artistic mind from what it saw or thinks it should see; balancing Wabi, a subtle sense of austere simplicity, with Sabi, a sort of melancholic solitary timelessness. The ethereal is also melded with the concrete.

Ample attention is given to the physical. Principles of posture, timing, rhythm, kata — basic forms for repetitious practice — also are spelled out in the context of mindfully pursuing an art, craft, or "Way": The postured precision in the ceremonial whisking of tea, the rhythmic timing of an austere dance poise or martial-art move that slams an assailant to the floor. The paradoxically mindful yet whimsical strokes of a calligrapher’s brush all emanate from a single point, according to Davey’s interpretation of this aesthetic tradition.

Complete with a series of exercises and experiments, peppered with factoids, and topped off with cultural guidelines for the would-be student of traditional Japanese arts, the book has appeal for those ranging from mildly curious to serious "Way" wondering.

Spirit of Change Review

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways was reviewed in Spirit of Change magazine. You can find the review below, and you can visit Spirit of Change at http://www.spiritofchange.org/index.php.

Spirit of Change Review

As Westerners, we are all familiar with the calm beauty of flower arranging, tea ceremonies, calligraphy and Aikido. Yet another path to our awareness of the present moment is presented in Living the Japanese Arts & Ways which helps us “find the beauty in every fragile facet of life, even in the fading of a flower or the aging of a friend.” We learn that the ultimate nature of the Japanese arts involves underlying principles that are discovered “in the doing” through these moving meditations in the course of daily life. In his attempt to communicate the essence of these arts, H.E. Davey provides us with generous access to their historical, philosophical and aesthetic underpinnings. Living introduces the various cultural influences of Taoism, Zen, Confucianism and Shinto, and their contribution to the transformation of Japanese arts and activities into a spiritual path. Davey offers us a deeper look at the artistic expression of “Do,” including concepts somewhat foreign to our Western sensibilities: elegance with a feeling of austerity (wabi), a detached connection with nature (furyu), a beginner’s mind that allows us to see timeless permanence in constant change (shoshin), and the inclusion of the imperfect beauty found in naturalness (funi). Peppered throughout the midsection of the book are experiments to be performed with a partner which enables readers to actually experience the dynamic balance of mind and body in the correct and natural use of ki (“the elementary essence of existence.”) In the final section of the book, we are reminded that the ways “don’t involve philosophical speculation, but actually doing something.... offering us the chance to explore unification of body and mind in the instant.” Davey concludes with the hope that the study of the Japanese arts and ways enables us to realize not only a unity of East and West, but also the “the union of humanity with the way of the Universe.”

Renga Roads Review

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways was reviewed at Renga Roads by Japanese poetry expert Jim Wilson. The review can be found below, and to visit Renga Roads go to http://rengaroads.blogspot.com/2008/05/living-japanese-arts-ways-review.html.

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways:45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty

by H. E. Davey

A Review

Those of us who take an interest in Japanese arts are often attracted by the philosophical view surrounding these arts. By arts I mean traditions such as Tea Ceremony, Kado or Flower Arranging (also known as Ikebana), Kyudo (or ceremonial archery), and, of course, such poetic forms as Renga. It is not easy for non-Japanese to grasp the esthetic categories through which Japanese arts and ways are formulated. There are some differences between western and Japanese approaches and these manifest in both big and small ways. For example, in the west flower arranging is considered a merely decorative pastime, while in Japan flower arranging evolved into a high art. Why is this so?

The best presentation of the basic ideas underlying Japanese approaches to the arts I have found is H. E. Davey’s “Living the Japanese Arts & Ways.” Davey is the Director of the Sennin Foundation for Japanese Cultural Arts in the East Bay. He is an accomplished practitioner of several of these arts, including Japanese Yoga and Calligraphy. He has been certified by traditional Japanese schools.

The book is divided into 45 sections, grouped into four chapters: 1. The Essence of the Japanese Arts & Ways, 2. Spiritual Aesthetics in the Japanese Arts & Ways, 3. Mind & Body Unification in the Japanese Arts and Ways, and 4. Traditions & Personal Relationships in the Japanese Arts & Ways. Each of the 45 Sections is headed by a Japanese term, such as “Yugen”, “Mono no Aware”, "Wabi", and "Furyu". These terms are then explained and illustrated. As the book unfolds, and as new terms are introduced, the new terms are related to the previously introduced terms so that a fabric of relationships among the terms is gradually woven.

In addition the book begins with a broad overview of East Asian philosophy that is at once insightful and accessible to the ordinary reader. I was particularly impressed by the author’s emphasis on Confucian influences on the arts and ways; a point which, I think, many western writers on this topic have missed. There is also a section on the influence of Shinto, which is equally insightful. Davey really has a broad grasp of Japanese cultural foundations.

Davey sees the arts and ways of Japan as sharing an underlying view which he states as seeing the universal in the particular. That is one reason why Flower Arranging could become a high art in Japan, because the idea is that, when framed correctly, one can apprehend that which is universal in the particularity of the impermanent flower arrangement, and thus a flower arrangement can function as a gate to this universality.

Davey does not talk directly about Renga in his book, but his book touches on many of the esthetic ideals that are foundational for Renga and which all Renga poets shared. The idea of a flow of images is rooted in this understanding that the universal resides in the particular and for this reason Renga, like Flower Arranging, became a Way, or Path, in Japan during its heyday. I think Renga can still function in that way. I have read this book several times and found each reading to be helpful. I highly recommend Davey’s book for all those interested in the Japanese approach to the arts and particularly for those interested in Renga.

Note: “Living the Japanese Arts and Ways” was originally published as a separate book, but I believe it has gone out of print. It has, however, been reprinted in its entirety in “The Japanese Way of the Artist”, by the same author which contains, in addition to the “Arts and Ways”, his book on calligraphy, “Brush Meditation”, and his book on flower arranging, “The Japanese Way of the Flowers”.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Reviewed by the Journal of Asian Martial Arts

"It is most helpful that Davey is a competent and well-organized writer, as no one of lesser ability could take on this massive subject in such a meaningful way…Living the Japanese Arts and Ways serves as a reminder to seasoned marital artists of what originally led them to study a particular "way" in the first place, and of its importance in their daily lives."
Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Volume 12, Number 3, 2003
Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty is out of print, but the entire book was recently included in the new anthology The Japanese Way of the Artist. The Japanese Way of the Artist can be purchased at www.amazon.com.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly

Practitioner and teacher of a number of traditional Japanese arts, Davey, author of Brush Meditation and The Japanese Way of the Flower, tackles a meta-question: what do the traditional Japanese arts have to do with living? The answer is: everything. Demonstrating the Japanese aesthetic of elegance (shibumi), Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts-calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremonies, painting-and the spiritual meaning of such practice. The arts are disciplined, particular ways of expressing and living the great universal Way-the Chinese Tao, or natural order of the universe, which historically influenced the development of Japanese arts and spiritual understanding. Davey is thoroughly steeped in Japanese culture and able to respectfully introduce and explain how those sensibilities are inextricably woven through the arts. As an American who has been accepted within traditional Japanese arts realms, he can offer a helpful cross-cultural lens on what terms and behaviors mean. The book does not offer instruction in any of the arts, but it does contain interesting exercises that call attention to the essential role of the body, and its relationship to mind, in any Japanese arts practice. The subtitle is confusing; it's hard to figure out what those 45 paths are. However, this book is a wonderful complement for practitioners of meditation, especially Zen. It provides illustrations of meditation in action beyond the cushion. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty is out of print, but the entire book was recently included in the new anthology The Japanese Way of the Artist. The Japanese Way of the Artist can be purchased at www.amazon.com.

Synopsis of "Living the Japanese Arts & Ways"

Ikebana and tea, karate and calligraphy-what do these traditional Japanese arts have in common? All represent different forms of training and practice, but all stem from shared principles of spiritual practice, moving meditation, and beauty. With practical examples and easy-to-follow exercises, this book concisely introduces 45 living concepts of the Way, from "wabi" and the "immovable mind" to "respect" and "duty," explaining their traditional Japanese roots and also how to incorporate them into our daily lives for greater serenity, concentration, and creativity.

H. E. Davey is Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts (http://www.senninfoundation.com/).
Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty is out of print, but the entire book was recently included in the new anthology The Japanese Way of the Artist. The Japanese Way of the Artist can be purchased at www.amazon.com.