The Enso (sumi circle): examples on the Internet

The painted sumi-ink circle, or "Enso", is a spiritual symbol of deep significance for many religious people, particularly Zen Buddhists. The following Internet links take you to some of the people and organizations who currently make spiritual use of the sumi-ink circle as part of their religious practice, or who provide historical descriptions of the artistic and spiritual practices which have historically surrounding it.

Internet Link


Excerpt from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism by Gary Gach. A circle -- known as "enso" in Japanese -- universally implies completeness, all. A zen circle can also imply zero, sunyata, absolute, true reality, enlightenment, no beginning/no end in all phenomena, no symbol, the spread of Dharma as a turning wheel, harmony, and womb.

Enso by Kasuaki Tanahashi
Kenyon College Enso as the featured symbol for Religious Studies 360: ZEN BUDDHISM
Zen Dojo Traditional Enso as the symbol of the Zen Dojo in Germany.
Zen Occidental Another Zen link. Art "This Zen “circle of enlightenment,” illuminates the emptiness of all phenomena."
Towson University  "The enso is one of the deepest symbols in Japanese zen: a symbolic representation of enlightenment, encompassing the universe in an endless, cyclical line." 
Dharma Rain Calligraphy by Shodo Harada Roshi of Sogenji.
Zen Paintings "Paintings of Zen inspiration were first brushed in Chinese monasteries approximately 1,300 years ago. Characterized from the start by starkness, the approach has changed little over the centuries. Certain themes are constantly repeated: iron rods, skulls, images of the great patriarch Daruma and, above all, circles." 
One Drop Zendo  "To support the "One Drop Zendo (North Europe)" project, the Zen Master Shodo Harada Roshi has written traditional Zen calligraphies to be offered for sale."
University of Wisconsin "The enso is one of the most profound subjects in Zenga. The enso is simply a circle usually created in one brush stroke. Most say that the enso is the all, the void and enlightenment itself. Some say the enso has no fixed, finite or static meaning. Some have said that the enso represents a continuing action through time; when the painting is seen, it communicates at various levels of understanding depending on the viewer. This is why some say that Zenga embodies the experience of Zen."