A monk asked Master Isan for a gatha expressing enlightenment. Isan refused saying, "It is right in front of your face, why should I express it in brush and ink?"
The above exchange took place amongst Zen monks in the eighth century and is the first reference to Zen circle art or enso. Enso is a quick circular brushstroke of black ink on rice paper that forms a circle. It is said to have such a meaning that to express it in words is impossible.
The gye yal (Eng. Brushstroke) is a form of Zen circle art. It is the spontaneous circle mark found on the inside or out of a tea bowl. It embodies the same 'no mind' that the black ink of a calligraphers' enso has come to represent.
Contemplating the gye yal is to look deeply into nothingness.
What is this???