ABOUT PAO SHAN
Pǎo Shan (Don Woodward) is a lay-ordained Buddhist Monk and visual artist. In 2020, he became a full-time resident at the SokukoJi Buddhist Temple Monastery, in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he practices Soto Zen Buddhism, and is a student of Kyoun Sokuzan, a fully-transmitted Priest in the Soto Zen Buddhism Lineage.
Pǎo Shan was born in Scotland, but grew up in Brisbane, Australia, and considers it as his hometown. He moved to the Unites States in 2000. After studying art in high school, Pǎo Shan began painting Chinese and Japanese scenes using house acrylic paints on boards when he was 17. His university studies in Australia include degrees from the Queensland University of Technology, and The University of Queensland. He did not start publicly showing his artistic works in the United States until 2019.
Pǎo Shan has traveled extensively, and has visited and stayed in many Buddhist Temples and Monasteries in the United States, Australia and Japan.
"I love to utilize hand-ground Sumi Inks, applied with Chinese and Japanese ink calligraphy brushes, on to various media, including hand-made Japanese Heritage Washi papers and canvas. The contact of hand ground inks, employing a variety of calligraphy brushes, as it is applied to handmade paper, always surprises and delights me as I brush. Often, the brush-ink-paper interplay guides my hand, directing the final production of the piece.
Each one of my pieces is the result of what arises out of the teachings of the Buddhist path, sprung from concepts, thoughts, projections, conclusions and delusions that I contemplate during meditation. By going to the paper (or canvas) and applying swift strokes, I complete both the artwork and my meditation.
Pǎo Shan has devoted his life to the pursuit of helping others, through the Buddhist practice of Zen Meditation. His artistic endeavors are an integral part of that pursuit: sharing his exploration of the mind, and, indeed, the human consciousness, through artistic expression and mediums, and thus connecting with those whom it inspires.
"Each person's concepts... come into existence in dependence on the person's having formed an image of such an object,
but from the viewpoint of their representing the exclusion of everything which is not that object..."
Jeffrey Hopkins - from Meditation on Emptiness