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    The Zen of Creativity introduction and chapter one

    …the question is not how skillfully something may be realistically or impressionistically painted (any creative action word can go here e.g. sewing, singing etc.). It is rather a matter of how freely, as the self-expressing creative subject, the Formless Self- expressed itself.
    (my words in parenthesis)

    Shinichi Hisamatsu, from Zen and the Fine Arts

    The Zen of Creativity, Cultivate Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori: Introduction and Chapter one

    Hello everyone,

    We each will read this book, and each have a very different take-away. Here are my thoughts from the introduction and first chapter. They can be discussed, or anything that you find relevant please bring to the discussion. We encourage all input.

    INTRODUCTION: Daido Loori writes about the genesis of Zen art, its purpose as part of the life of the followers, both the artist and the audience. How the art is inseparable from the artist, encompassing creativity and spiritual practice all pointing to the nature of reality. The purpose of this art is not product oriented, whether a haiku poem or a piece of music. But the act of creativity itself.
    In some ways I think this introduction is the most important section of the book, as it describes the inherent creative spirit, we ALL possess. Zen art is not about skill, technique, but being present to the creative force within and letting go of judgement and self-absorption. Art makes itself if we can let go of this judging self and ego for that moment and just be present.

    Possible Discussion points:

    -Creativity: as Daido Loori points out creativity is our birthright. Although this book focuses on artmaking, creativity is not just making 'art'. This is a critical point! Every time you solve a problem, mediate a dispute, plan a menu, plant a garden etc. you are being creative. What is creativity to you?
    -How to let go of our judging mind and self consciousness? How can we quit judging our skill level?
    -How to focus on the moment rather than the product of our action?
    -He talks about art as a way to the express the nature of reality… I’m not sure what that means. What does it mean for you?

    CHAPTER ONE (MELTING SNOW) is autobiographical. JDL writes about how he moved from being a photographer depicting outside objects to becoming the camera, the image, the moment. How his art brought him to his spiritual quest.
    And how Minor White taught him how to get out of his own way and be with his subject without choosing, but let the subject choose him. In his words ‘He helped me to return to a state of ‘not knowing’.

    Possible Discussion points:

    -How important are teachers in this process?
    -JDL was in touch with his intuition and followed that instinct with curiosity to see where it would lead. How do we get back that curiosity? And trust our intuition? not knowing?

    For this our first post Meitou will post her prompt separately because of length issues ( Most important have fun with the prompt and relax. Remember no judgement from yourself or any of us! We are really looking forward to a lively discussion and participation. Any ideas, thoughts, experiences please share.



    ‘The teachings of Zen always point directly to the inherent perfection of each one of us. The Zen arts are a from of that direct pointing.’ JDL
    Last edited by Cooperix; 05-25-2019 at 07:01 PM.

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