Formless Form IV

An Exhibition of Sho (Calligraphy) by Ronald Y. Nakasone

Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday - Sunday, by appointment
DRBU University Building, Second Floor [Map]
Free and open to the public

The DRBU Arts Initiative presents Formless Form IV, an exhibit, talk, and workshops by Ronald Y. Nakasone. The exhibit continues Ronald Y. Nakasoneʼs exploration of the aesthetic and spiritual geography of the hand-written word. Just as a geographer studies the features of the Earth and the impact of human activity on the physical landscape, the Art of Sho requires an appreciation of the visual topography—line, space, and time (rhythm)—that emerges as the brush moves across the writing surface, and more importantly, the underlying spiritual contours that guide the sho artist. 

The pliant brush, replete with ink, creates vigorous, quiet, warm, hard, immovable, and even mischievous forms (lines) and space. In addition to communicating ideas, feelings, and aspirations, the handwritten word is a vehicle through which the sho artist discovers, nurtures, and gives form to his or her formless spiritual landscape. Free flowing ink and permeable paper are ideal for chronicling moments in a sho artistʼs pilgrimage of self-discipline, self-surrender, and self-exploration. The forms that appear from the brush give form or “color” to a formless and asensual aesthetic-spiritual geography. Transcending formal aesthetic values, formless forms have the capacity to embrace and draw the viewer into a rarefied world.

On Saturday, February 8, at 2:00pm, DRBU will hold a reception and short talk with Ronald Y. Nakasone in the exhibit space. DRBU invites the public to this free event to view the exhibit and hear the artist’s story. Light refreshments will be served.



Sunday, February 9, 10:00am - 12:00pm
Saturday, May 9, 2:00 - 4:00pm
DRBU Art Studio [Map]
Registration required below

In conjunction with the exhibit, Ronald Y. Nakasone is holding two workshops. Each two-hour workshop includes an introductory presentation of the calligraphy style and its history; a demonstration by the artist; and hands-on practice with individual guidance.



$20 Workshop fee (includes all art materials)

The workshop is complimentary for DRBU, IGDVS, and the CTTB community. Service scholarships and financial aid are available upon request. Please email for an application form.


Participants aged 16 or older at all levels of experience are welcome; space is limited. All art materials are included with registration. 



Ronald Y. Nakasone

Ronald Y. Nakasone is a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where he lectures on Buddhist thought and aesthetics. Professor Nakasone has produced scholarly publications on Buddhist doctrine, ethics, aesthetics, aging and spirituality, and Ryūkyūan (Okinawan) Studies. He is an ordained Jōdo Shinshū (Pure Land) cleric and a sho (calligraphy) artist.

Born and raised in Hawai‘i, he studied at the University of Hawai‘i, Ryūkoku University, and University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received special recognition from the Thai Royal family for contributions to Buddhist studies in 2008 and was the recipient of the 2011 Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graduate Theological Union.


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