Creative Expression

Excerpt: Creative Process as Art Practice

· Creative Expression, Sangha News, Zen Training

This excerpt is from Mountains and Rivers, the annual book-length journal of the MRO which features original contributions from dharma teachers like Hojin Sensei, an artist, ceramicist and director of training at Zen Mountain Monastery. Learn more here about the journal and enjoy this teaching Hojin offered on creativity, connection and spiritual integrity.

Hojin Sensei: You can do an entire art practice with your eyes closed, so it’s not about technique. It’s about connections, about staying connected, turning off those voices that judge. Or, let the judge do your work! What does ‘judging my work’ actually look like? What would a judge draw? I mean, give ‘em a pen! Say “go to it, judge,” you know. They’d probably be, like, “naw, not that. You’re going to do that? no way, that doesn’t look like art.”

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Painting Enlightenment—Healing Visions of the Heart Sutra

· Creative Expression, Reviews

The Buddhist Art of Iwasaki Tsuneo

By Paula Arai

Reviewed by Chikan Bacon

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Illuminated Journals

· Creative Expression, Sangha News, Zen Training · , , , ,

By Birgitte J. Haug

As fall ango came to an end, Monastery residents gathered to share their three-months of art practice. Led by Hojin Sensei, herself an artist, I felt that her deep interest in the work was contagious. Creative expression in art practice, one of the “eight gates” of Zen training, enriches our practice with something vital and uniquely alive. 

hello, puddle…
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Face To Face

· Creative Expression, Retreats · ,

Zen training in the Mountains and Rivers Order includes taking up creative expression—both the traditional Zen arts as well as contemporary arts—to deeply study the self through using our inherent human creativity.

Hojin Sensei spoke in March after her recent art practice retreat, “Face to Face,” offering these words: This exquisite magical display we call our body, our self. What is it? Of course ‘face’ does not always mean the physical part of the body. In another way it’s the surface of the mind’s mirror which is also being attended to—seeing our bodies, the directness with our embodiment, as a sacred awakened activity.

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Book Review: Not Hearing the Wood Thrush

· Creative Expression, Earth Initiative, Reviews · , ,

Oh my gosh! How did the high privilege ever come to me to review this book? I am lost in it and continually astonished. Margaret Gibson’s newest book of poems, Not Hearing the Wood Thrush, is ripe and full and endlessly transcendent. Not hearing the wood thrush is a fine art that we would all do well to learn

She makes her way and takes us with her through the dozen doors and windows of her poems into the woods, the river, and the star fields. 

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Art-Making Joy

· Conversations, Creative Expression · , , , , , ,

Michelle Seigei Spark, senior lay student in the Mountains and Rivers Order, spoke recently with Mountain Record about creative process, resilience and joy.

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photo by Mike Bitzenhofer

The Fork

· Creative Expression, Poetry ·

by Chase Takusei Twichell

A wooden Buddha gazes down
upon my desk from a small shelf
painted the same color as the walls:
Chinese Dragon. Beside him,
a picture Lucy drew when she was six
shows a bird with human face
and the words Have fun being a parrot
written below it in parrot colors.

Earnestly I vow to become one,
sleek-feathered, able to fly pathless
above human traffic in a kingdom
of light and air, no suffering.

I can’t go on feigning surprise
at the kalpas it’s taken so far,
since they’re all my kalpas.

I follow the path, but it forks.
To the right, faint blazes ruckle the bark.
The trail follows the brook all the way to Nirvana,
where I have never been. To the left,
the path soon splits again: right to Nirvana,
left to the trail that forks.

 


From Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, Copyright © 2010 by Chase Twichell, MRO. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

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Artwork by The National Buddhist Prison Sangha

· Creative Expression, Sangha News · , , , ,

The National Buddhist Prison Sangha (NBPS) was started over twenty-five years ago by John Daido Loori, Roshi after he received a letter from an inmate at Greenhaven Correctional Facility. The correspondence program developed by the Zen Mountain Monastery community now provides guidance in Zen Buddhist spiritual practice for people in prisons all over the country. This guidance is provided by Practice Advisors who are experienced students supported by the NBPS Directors.

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PREVIEW: The Buddhist Poetry Festival at Zen Mountain Monastery

· Creative Expression, Sangha News · , , ,

This summer, July 5 – 8, some of the country’s most celebrated contemplative poetic voices will be headlining the first ever Buddhist Poetry Festival at Zen Mountain Monastery. The festival spans an overflowing weekend of workshops and readings, writing and reflection, designed for anyone who resonates with Dharma and poetry, regardless of their own previous level of engagement. In addition to featured events, participants will have opportunities to join monastics and residents in periods of meditation, as well as liturgy, and communal meals. Yet the festival will also open up the usual Monastery schedule to be more, well, festive. In short, there will be something for everyone.

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According to the Gospel of Yes

· Creative Expression · , , , ,

by Dana Levin


It’s a thrill to say No.

The way it smothers

everything that beckons—

Any baby in a crib

will meet No’s palm

on its mouth.

And nothing sweet

can ever happen

to No—

who holds your tongue captive

behind your teeth, whose breath

whets the edge

of the guillotine—

N, head of Team Nothing,

and anti-ovum O.

And so the pit can never

engender

the cherry—

in No, who has drilled a hole

inside your body—

No.

Say it out loud.

Why do you love the hole

No makes.


Copyright ©2017 by Dana Levin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day by the Academy of American Poets.

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