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Artist and scholar Kazuaki Tanahashi recently visited Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago, where he taught a calligraphy workshop Saturday, July 9 and gave a Dharma talk Sunday morning, July 10.

During the workshop, Kaz’s eager students had fun brushing Chinese characters, with Kaz’s skillful guidance. Kaz also shared his laws for Joyful Living and for De-aging. For Joyful Living Kaz recommends: “The happier you are, the more you can help others,” and “The more relaxed you are, the happier you are.”

On Sunday, Kaz talked about his new complete translation of Dōgen’s masterpiece Shōbōgenzō, published last year. The publication of the weighty tome, a major event for American Buddhists, involved a couple of dozen collaborators, including Ancient Dragon Zen Gate guiding teacher Taigen Dan Leighton. Kaz also described his own deep life connection with Dōgen, beginning as a young artist with his calligraphy of a poem by Dōgen about “snow as the mountain.” The audio recording of this talk will be available on our website.

During the weekend a number of paintings by Kaz were hung in our temple. One of them, a landscape called “Snow Within” done with one brushstroke, remains on our zendo wall as a reminder of our inner cool during the Chicago summer, and during the winter that the snow is within as well as outside.