Analysis of the Ensō Symbol

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Ens? (??) is a Japanese word meaning ?circle? and is a concept strongly associated with Zen Buddhism. It is the most common object in Japanese calligraphy, despite being a symbol and not an ideogram.

Its symbolism refers to the beginning and end of all things, the circle of life and the connection of existence. It can symbolize emptiness or fullness, presence or absence. All things may be contained or, on the contrary, excluded by their limits.

It may also mean that one should not confuse doctrines, teachings, or explanations, which are intended to guide one towards enlightenment, enlightenment itself. Ens? can also represent the reflection of the moon in the water, thus symbolizing the futility of seeking illumination outside of oneself.

Ens? symbolizes many other things, including: strength, elegance, the universe, the unique mindset, the artist?s state of mind at the time of creation, and the acceptance of imperfection as perfect.

It also represents the oneness of life and all things contained therein, the spirit of harmonious cooperation, personal development and refinement of character, the visible and the invisible, absolute fullness in emptiness, simplicity, perfection, infinity, perfect harmony, the circle of infinity and the cyclical nature of existence.

Ens? is a manifestation of the moment, an expression of absolute enlightenment, a visual manifestation of the Heart Sutra, and a representation of our true and intimate self.

The incompleteness of the circle symbolizes the beauty of imperfection and that the circle will only close when one recognizes its Buddha nature, that enlightenment was not a privilege of Prince Siddhartha Gautama but a right of us all.

However, like all symbols you can find many other meanings for Ens?. After all, it is both full and empty.


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