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Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony Paperback – September 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656388
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656389
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Mr. Davey's writing is fluid and engaging. He does not get overly technical and is easy to understand. The book kept my attention and made me wish for more balance in my life."--Reader Views

"This edifying paperback delivers the goods and makes crystal clear the close connection between art, meditation, and self-mastery."--Spirituality & Practice review

"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. It is a unique and fascinating presentation of a little-known art of self-cultivation." -Dave Lowry, author of Sword and Brush -- Review

From the Publisher

Brush Meditation is part of Stone Bridge Press's MICHI: JAPANESE ARTS AND WAYS series. 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. Featuring the work of H. E. Davey and other select authors, books in the 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... to benefit people of any culture.

More About the Author

H. E. Davey is the Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts (, which offers instruction in Japanese systems of yoga, martial arts, healing arts, and fine arts. His introduction to the arts of Japan came via traditional martial arts. Since the age of five, he's studied jujutsu extensively in the USA and Japan. He has received a seventh-degree black belt and the title of Kyoshi from the Kokusai Budoin, a Tokyo-based international federation. Kokusai Budoin defines Kyoshi as comparable to a "Master's Certificate" and equivalent to modern ranks of sixth- to eighth-degree black belt. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Shudokan Martial Arts Association (

In middle school, Mr. Davey began Shin-shin-toitsu-do, a system of Japanese yoga and meditation founded by Nakamura Tempu Sensei. He's the only member of Tempu-Kai, an organization established by Mr. Nakamura, who is a full-time professional instructor of Shin-shin-toitsu-do. He is also a member of the International Japanese Yoga Association in Kyoto and the Wakuwaku Honshin Juku in Osaka, and he holds the highest level of teaching certification from these associations, which are devoted to meditation and the teachings of Mr. Nakamura. He's practiced in Japan and the USA under Nakamura Sensei's senior disciples, including Sawai Atsuhiro Sensei and Hashimoto Tetsuichi Sensei.

Mr. Davey's also received extensive instruction in Nakamura Sensei's methods of bodywork and healing with ki ("life energy"), which he teaches. He's furthermore received training in Hatha yoga and Pranayama breathing exercises in the tradition of Indra Devi.

Mr. Davey also studied shodo, or Japanese brush writing and ink painting, for 20 years under the late Kobara Ranseki Sensei of Kyoto. Mr. Davey holds the top rank in Ranseki Sho Juku shodo and exhibits each year in Japan. He's received numerous honors in these exhibitions, including Jun Taisho ("Associate Grand Prize").

H. E. Davey's articles on Japanese arts and his artwork have appeared in numerous American and Japanese magazines and newspapers. He's the author of The Teachings of Tempu: Practical Meditation for Daily Life (Michi Publishing), Unlocking the Secrets of Aiki-jujutsu (McGraw-Hill), Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony (Stone Bridge Press), Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation (Michi Publishing), Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty (Stone Bridge Press), The Japanese Way of the Artist (Stone Bridge Press), and The Japanese Way of the Flower: Ikebana as Moving Meditation (Stone Bridge Press).

The Japanese Way of the Artist has its own Facebook page:

Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation also has a Facebook page:

H. E. Davey's Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts is on Facebook, too:

Be sure to also check out H. E. Davey's Art of Shodo Facebook page for world class Japanese calligraphic art:

If you're a fan of Mr. Davey's books on Japanese arts and meditation, you may also enjoying becoming a fan of these Facebook pages.

Customer Reviews

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My order came as promised and the book that I received was as described.
Joan H. Cameron
Most of the Japanese martial and cultural arts are concerned with the totality of an experience.
Joseph J. Truncale
From a beginner's perspective, this is an excellent reference, and I highly recommend it.
Brett Denison

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've been interested in Japanese painting and also brush writing for quite a few years. At the same time, I've also been fascinated by the idea of art as meditation. While I've read quite a few books that vaguely discuss how Japanese calligraphy is supposed to be "moving meditation," H. E. Davey's book is the first one I've read that clearly explains exactly how this takes place and how to start to use the brush in meditation.

Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind & Body Harmony not only deals with using Japanese calligraphy as a device with which to meditate, it does so in a manner that even people with no understanding of Japanese will be able to get something out of trying the exercises discussed. It seems to me, that you could apply the ideas in this book to most forms of art, and even in school, business, or family life, to arrive at a true understanding of calmness and personal harmony.

It's a useful book. I only wish it were longer. I hope the author comes out with a second, perhaps intermediate level, volume soon.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Brett Denison on January 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
I recently finished reading the book, Brush Meditation: A Japanese Way to Mind and Body Harmony, by H. E. Davey. The book is excellent. I am novice (hardly even that, actually) when it comes to Shodo (having only recently begun studying Shodo), but your book provides a very smooth introduction, and does a great job of getting across the relationship between it and the other Japanese cultural arts (chado [tea ceremony], budo [martial Ways], kado [flower arrangement], etc).
It is written in a very positive way and contains many beautiful pieces of artwork. I very much enjoyed the "four experiments toward a positive mind," these are great examples of introspection. Though I am far from an expert in budo, I have spent many years training and researching this topic, yet several of the explanations, provided for terms such as fudoshin, hara, and ki shed new light on these concepts, beyond just their relationship to Shodo.
Chapters three and four provide a very gentle introduction to the physical techniques while also providing an overview of the relationship between good posture and the proper state of mind. The importance of the coordination of mind, body, and spirit is presented in a way that should be easy for someone that is new to the Japanese cultural arts to grasp and understand.
I am again impressed with Davey sensei's ability to communicate a complex subject in an interesting and informative way that maintains the readers interest, while still capturing the subtleties of the topic.
From a beginner's perspective, this is an excellent reference, and I highly recommend it.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Strike with the katana, the Japanese long sword. Arrange a blossom in that brief interval after it's been cut, before it withers. Whisk a bowl of tea into a perfect froth. Seemingly disparate activities, yet each demands a similar sense of irrevocable action; absolute commitment; total coordination of mind and body. Once begun, none can be retracted. The consequences of each are obvious: a blunder is, if anything, more manifest than a flawless execution. In perhaps no other Japanese form of creative impulse is this concept of ichi-go, ichi-e--"one encounter, one chance"--more dramatic or obvious than when the calligrapher first touches an ink-wet brush to the dry expanse of white paper before him. Shodo, the Way of the Brush, exemplifies the spirit of Japanese art. In its potential for artistic expression contained within the rigid demands of form lies the challenge and the infinite reward of all the classical Ways of Japan.

From the budo (martial arts) to kado (or ikebana) to chado, the discipline of the tea ceremony, the range of these traditional Japanese Ways introduced to the West in the past half century has been extensive. Shodo, for the most part, remains an exception. The elegant art of the Japanese brush has, in large degree, been overlooked by Westerners in pursuit of the various Ways. Instruction outside Japan is limited. There are a few books on the subject; nearly all focussed on technical aspects of the art or else scholarly in direction, devoted to tracing the development of brush writing from its origins in China to its importation and evolution in Japan.

In pleasant contrast, H.E.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Shodo ideally represents one of the greatest levels of harmonybetween thought and action: it both serves as a mechanism fordepicting this unity and supplies a path for cultivating it." H. E. Davey
This brief excerpted quote is a great summary of the focus of H. E. Davey's new book. In it, he not only describes how working with black ink, brush, and white paper reflects the level of personal integration and harmony, but how to use this medium to integrate and harmonize the self. His insights into these processes are rich and clearly expressed, and beautifully illustrated: readers can carry away both inspiring examples of quality shodo (Japanese calligraphy), and exercises with which to begin their own progress on this Way.
After a short preface and introductory linguistic orientation, the work unfolds in four chapters. The first, "The Language of Shodo," might be considered the roots: it traces the historical basis of Japanese writing and calligraphy, then explains several fundamental aesthetic principles and spiritual concepts--such as wabi, sabi, shibumi, shibui, ki, and hara--that underlie this and other traditional Japanese arts. Chapter 2, "Mind & Body Connection," is the central stem or trunk that grows from these roots and is the support or core from which the later material grows. In it are included specific "experiments" to help relax, focus, and connect our mental and physical abilities, critical for artistic expression via a brush with black ink on white paper.
Branching from this trunk is "Uniting Mind, Body & Brush" (Chapter 3) in which a further series of "experiments" walk us through preparations for actually putting ink on paper, including correct posture and manipulation of the artistic tools.
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