ABOUT PAO SHAN
Pǎo Shan (Don Woodward) is a Scottish-born, Australian visual artist who moved to the United States in 2000. 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. He received formal precepts (and his Dharma name), on December 1, 2021.
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, in Education and Music Composition and History. 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.
"The medium is hand-ground Sumi Ink, 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 an extended contemplation and meditation practice on the meaning and teachings of the Buddhist path, as they arise in nature or my mind, sprung from concepts, thoughts, projections, conclusions and delusions that arise during meditation. Then going to the paper (or canvas) and applying swift strokes, I complete both the artwork and the meditation session."
Pǎo Shan has devoted his life to the pursuit of helping others, through the Buddhist practice of Zen Meditation. He is an ordained Buddhist lay practitioner, with the intention of becoming a fully ordained Monk and teacher, and he lives at the SokukoJi Buddhist Temple Monastery, in Battle Creek, MI. 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