In a trip to Hangzhou, almost 2 years ago, I participated in one (the biggest if I'm not mistaken) of the Chinese National Amateur Weiqi Championship as a (Brazilian) foreigner.
During one of the subevents, the organization wanted the foreign participants to play a team game against monks from a monastery. Kind as they almost always (not on the Weiqi board lol) are, the monks brought us some souvenirs, the main one being a fan.
On the fan, there is an inscription that, according to the event official translator is difficult to translate. I don't recall the meaning she gave me back then, but it was something related to the Japanese Shu Ha Ri (she didn't mention Shu Ha Ri, that's my perception actually). Here is a picture of the fan (now with Kim Jiseok 9p's autograph also):
Shu Ha Ri would be a succinct description of the cycle of mastery of a craft, usually referring to Aikido. On the Wikipedia page:
It is known that, when we learn or train in something, we pass through the stages of shu, ha, and ri. These stages are explained as follows. In shu, we repeat the forms and discipline ourselves so that our bodies absorb the forms that our forebears created. We remain faithful to these forms with no deviation. Next, in the stage of ha, once we have disciplined ourselves to acquire the forms and movements, we make innovations. In this process the forms may be broken and discarded. Finally, in ri, we completely depart from the forms, open the door to creative technique, and arrive in a place where we act in accordance with what our heart/mind desires, unhindered while not overstepping laws.
What I remember is the official translator telling me that it was something like (I really don't remember her words accurately) "first you see; then you don't; then you don't need to". Contextualizing: first (Shu), you would think that everything is simple, you simply follow rules; then (Ha) you realize that things are much bigger then they seem, you can innovate with your knowledge, but you're just scratching the surface, you're overwhelmed; then (Ri), finally, you don't need to see anything, you represent the craft, you are it.
I think this should be some sort of somewhat famous chengyu, but I'm not sure, it didn't seem that familiar to the translator.
So... could someone please give me the meaning of the inscription and some references on the topic?