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.

Monday, December 5, 2011

From the Author

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways is out of print, but the entire book is now offered in The Japanese Way of the Artist (Stone Bridge Press). What's more, you'll also get two of my other out of print titles: Brush Meditation and The Japanese Way of the Flower.

Shodo (the "Way of Japanese calligraphy"), budo (the "martial Way"), and kado (the "Way of flower arrangement") are just some of the numerous Japanese arts ending in “Do,” indicating “the Way.” Nonetheless, how these arts function as Ways isn’t always understood.

It’s common to state that these various disciplines represent a Way of life (thus the designation “Do”), and that by practicing, we can transcend them and grasp the art of living. While this is true, it’s uncommon to find a teacher (or book) that can explain how such Do forms lead to spiritual realization. While some books pay lip service to the ideal of the Way producing spiritual evolution, they also sometimes fail to offer direct explanations and methodologies to help students realize the Way. It’s frequently assumed that merely manipulating a brush or throwing an opponent will produce profound realizations.

This is untrue and unfortunate. It’s untrue because it’s the manner in which we approach the Ways that determines what we learn from them. Spiritual realization isn’t guaranteed.

It’s unfortunate because the conscious practice of Japanese Do forms truly can result in the cultivation of mind and body. But to use them as meditation, we must investigate exactly how they can lead to realization.

Japanese calligraphy, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, martial arts, and other Do has been the subject of numerous books. Few of these works, however, have explored how they go beyond art and enter into spirituality. Even fewer have offered methods to practice what can be thought of as “moving meditation,” and which are needed for personal growth to take place.

My book was written to answer that need, and I'm grateful for the kind reviews as well as the positive worldwide response.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Free Japanese Yoga & Martial Arts Classes!

 On Thursday, November 3 the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts will offer an introductory class in the Shin-shin-toitsu-do system of Japanese yoga and meditation, along with an introduction to Saigo Ryu martial arts. This event is FREE. The classes will take place at 1053 San Pablo Ave. in Albany, California, right across the bay from San Francisco.

The martial arts class is not required, and i
t will follow the Japanese yoga program, which starts at 7:00 PM. Since the Saigo Ryu aiki-jujutsu training will refer to principles of mind and body unification covered in the Japanese yoga class, everyone will want to participate in this first part of the evening. You can read more about both subjects at www.senninfoundation.com.

Wear loose clothing and bring a notebook. Preregistration is needed and easily accomplished. Just leave a voice mail at 510-526-7518. Give us your name and phone number, then indicate that you would like to participate in one or both classes. Let us know if anyone else is coming with you, and we'll see you on Thursday. Please arrive a few minutes early for general registration.

The classes will be taught by Troy Swenson Sensei, who has been studying and teaching at the Sennin Foundation Center for several years. He has teaching certification in Japanese yoga, and he received a black belt from the Shudokan Martial Arts Association Jujutsu Division. He is also the assistant editor of the SMAA Journal.

Don't miss your chance to learn how Japanese yoga and/or martial arts can help you realize better health, deeper calmness, and enhanced concentration in everyday life.

Friday, October 7, 2011


A number of Ways (Do), owing to the fact that a Do is a particular expression of the Way of the universe itself, have used the term mu to point to the sum and substance of the universe. And since it is the mind after all that perceives the absolute universe, various mental states in the Ways have appellations that utilize the character for mu as well. Originating in Buddhism, but having parallels in other religions, mu means, “the void,” or “nothingness.”--H. E. Davey, The Japanese Way of the Artist

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Japanese Way of the Artist

The Japanese Way of the Artist:
Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower

By H. E. Davey

512 pp
6 x 7.75"
135 B&W illustrations and photographs
ISBN 978-1-933330-07-5

Now in a single volume, three essential works on Japanese aesthetics, spirituality, and meditation.

About Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty
“Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts-calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremony, painting-and the spiritual meaning of such practice. . . . A wonderful complement for practitioners of meditation, especially Zen.”
Publishers Weekly
The Michi Mission: From chado—“the Way of tea”—to budo—“the martial Way”—Japan has succeeded in spiritualizing a number of classical arts. The names of these skills often end in Do, also pronounced Michi, meaning the “Way.” By studying a Way in detail, we discover vital principles that transcend the art and relate more broadly to the art of living itself. . . . Books in the Stone Bridge Press series Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways focus on these Do forms. They are about discipline and spirituality, about moving from the particular to the universal.

The three works anthologized here are essential to understanding the spiritual, meditative, and physical basis of all classical Japanese creative and martial arts. Living the Japanese Arts & Ways covers key concepts—like wabi and “stillness in motion”—while the other two books show the reader how to use brush calligraphy (shodo) and flower arranging (ikebana) to achieve mind-body unification.

In the Michi series, H. E. Davey explores the mind/body connection that lies at the heart of traditional Japanese arts and culture. Mr. Davey is Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

You can order The Japanese Way of the Artist here:

About Japanese Calligraphy: By H. E. Davey

Expanded attention, deeper relaxation, increased focus and resolve . . . shodo students have a chance to achieve lasting spiritual transformation through the classical art of Japanese calligraphy (shodo). Simple step-by-step exercises let beginners and non-artists alike work with brush and ink to reveal their mental and physical state through moving brush meditation.

Kanji, or "characters," used in
both Japan and China, have transcended their utilitarian function and collectively can serve as a visually stirring piece of fine art. Shodo allows the dynamic movement of the artist's spirit to become observable in the form of rich black ink. In shodo, you can sense both the rhythm of music as well as the smooth, elegant, and balanced construction of architecture. Many practitioners feel that the "visible rhythm" of Japanese calligraphy embodies a "picture of the mind"--and calligraphers recognize that it discloses our spiritual state. This recognition is summed up by the traditional Japanese saying: Kokoro tadashikereba sunawachi fude tadashi--"If your mind is correct, the brush will be correct."

Some Japanese calligraphers and psychologists have written books on the examination of our personality through calligraphy. Just as Western companies have employed handwriting analysts to help them select the best individuals for executive posts, the Japanese have traditionally expected their leaders in any field to display fine, composed script. This stems from the belief that brush strokes reveal the state of the body and subconscious mind--its strengths and weaknesses--at the moment the brush is put to paper. It has also been held that the subconscious can be influenced in a positive manner by studying and copying consummate examples of calligraphy by extraordinary individuals. Japanese tradition teaches that by using this method, we can cultivate strength of character akin to that of the artist being copied. Since shodo is an art form, it's not strictly necessary to be able to read Chinese characters, or the Japanese phonetic scripts of hiragana and katakana, to admire the dynamic beauty of shodo. Within Japanese calligraphy, we find essential elements that constitute all art: creativity, balance, rhythm, grace, and the beauty of line. These aspects of shodo can be recognized and appreciated by every culture.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Amazon Reviews of Living the Japanese Arts & Ways

5.0 out of 5 stars
Blends theory and practise, June 1, 2003

By Prof. Robert E. Carter (Peterborough, Ontario Canada) -

This review is from: Living the Japanese Arts and Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty (Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways) (Paperback)

What becomes abundantly clear as one reads through this book is that H.E. Davey writes from experience. He has practised several of the "ways" to a very high level, and he is able to write about his experiences in a readable, almost conversational manner. He sees quite deeply into the heart of Japanese culture, taking the reader along a path of understanding and discovery as he presents the key concepts of that tradition. In addition to the text, the marginal reminders and definitions of the key concepts reinforce what one has already encountered in the text, and serve as a glossary of important terms. Davey provides exercizes to try at home, as well. All in all, this is a first-rate book -- helpful, accessible, accurate, and often profound. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
Accessible Meditation, May 15, 2003

By A Customer

This review is from: Living the Japanese Arts and Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty (Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways) (Paperback)

H.E. Davey excels at communicating an approach for the Westerner to Japanese concepts of universality, aesthetics, and human spirituality. Written in a very accessible form, this book is an excellent introduction to those topics for the beginner; as well as being a great reference book for those already practicing any form of meditation, martial art, or fine art. Full of concrete descriptions of ideas and relationships that often go mute in Western culture. Read it over and over! 

5.0 out of 5 stars
Accessible and informative, February 24, 2003

By A Customer

This review is from: Living the Japanese Arts and Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty (Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways) (Paperback)

Davey provides a clear and comprehensive overview of the principles and aesthetic qualities that characterize the Japanese arts. Ideal for Westerners interested in Japanese arts, particularly those who have practiced an art for some time and are looking to go beyond merely practicing the form and delve into the spiritual dimensions embodied in these arts. Highly recommended. 

5.0 out of 5 stars
meaning in every day, August 13, 2010

By matt (the reading room)

This review is from: Living the Japanese Arts and Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty (Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways) (Paperback)

Davey is one of my favorite authors on aesthetics, and to me, the best Western writer when approaching Japanese cultural aesthetics. I return often to this book as a touchstone to remember that life not only has meaning, but that the meaning can be played out consciously in my life by how attentive I am to my daily activities.

The Japanese excelled at seeking paths to inner refinement: tea ceremony, martial arts, music, dance, pottery, poetry, agriculture and a general outlook that understood nature and humanity to be in a relationship full of meaning (although not a transcendental meaning perhaps).

The layout of the book is very useful, as you can see from the `look inside' function. Calligraphy from the author's own hand illustrates the text, highlighting key points. Most pages are accompanied by insightful glossary-styled sidebars that rephrase his points, often using key Japanese terms.

I especially have come to appreciate the wabi-sabi approach to beauty, although I reject the materialist nihilism that lies behind the concept. Who would benefit from this book? Martial artists, artists, musicians, gardeners, poets and anyone who seeks to find a deeper meaning to the everyday cycle.

Other books of interest may include: The Essence of Budo: A Practitioner's Guide to Understanding the Japanese Martial WaysMoving toward Stillness: Lessons in Daily Life from the Martial Ways of Japan, Sword and Brush: The Spirit of the Martial Arts, The Japanese Way of the Artist: Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower (Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways), Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers and Poems (English and German Edition) 

Awesome and Unique, February 12, 2003

By A Customer

This review is from: Living the Japanese Arts and Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty (Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways) (Paperback)

This book is unique in that it gives Westerners a comprehensive insight into Japanese arts and ways. Not many are able to capture something so inangible as Japanese aesthics as well as Davey. A great read.
5.0 out of 5 stars

Friday, March 11, 2011

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Our thoughts go out to our friends and teachers in Japan, which was recently hit by a large earthquake and tsunami. We hope all our friends are OK, and we hope you will donate to help people in Japan. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can go to http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/japan-earthquake-tsunami-relief/.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011