Creative Expression

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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Painting Peace

· Creative Expression, Reviews · , , , , ,

Media Review
Painting Peace

by Kaz Tanahashi
Shambhala Publications
Review by clyde fusei forth, MRO

paiting peace

It is perhaps a widely held assumption about the Zen arts that they occur in a bubble of tranquility and equanimity unsullied by the chaos of the world.

One might picture a solitary painter or poet, or a silent line of archers practicing kyudo (Zen archery), each focused singularly on the completion of a perfect act. That assumption might be correct to a point, but Painting Peace, Art in a Time of Global Crisis by Kazuaki Tanahashi opens up a different view.

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Monastery Store launches new line of mountain-made wares

· Creative Expression, Earth Initiative, Sangha News · , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today, the Monastery Store takes a big step in increasing its offerings of sangha-made items. For several years we’ve featured bird house gourds, incense holders, beeswax candles and of course honey from our own hives. All of these products and more have celebrated age-old traditions of handcraft using resources cultivated and harvested from our own grounds. As you’ll see and read below, a number of these endeavors have been fermenting and evolving behind the scenes and we’re very excited to now share them with the wider world. (For now, most of these items will only be available at our in-person store, but we’ll expand to offering them online as quantities become available.)

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photo by Ponjalishussness, MRO

Thanks

· Creative Expression · , , ,

Poem by Yusef Komunyakaa


 

Thanks for the tree
between me & a sniper’s bullet.
I don’t know what made the grass
sway seconds before the Viet Cong
raised his soundless rifle.
Some voice always followed,
telling me which foot
to put down first.

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Dusting

· Creative Expression, Poetry · , , ,

Poem by Marilyn Nelson


Thank you for these tiny
particles of ocean salt,
pearl-necklace viruses,
winged protozoans:
for the infinite,
intricate shapes
of submicroscopic
living things.

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Photo by Chizen Brown, MRO

You Can Change the Story, My Spirit Said to Me as I Sat Near the Sea

· Creative Expression · , , , ,

by Joy Harjo

I am in a village up north, in the lands named “Alaska” now. These places had their own names long before English, Russian, or any other politically imposed trade language.
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One Thing

· Creative Expression, Teachings · , , , , ,

by Jody Hojin Kimmel

Master Dogen taught in his fascicle Henzan—Encountering Everywhere, that whole-hearted practice of the Way is to take up the study of one thing and to understand it deeply. He encouraged us to “study each dharma exhaustively and then to study it still further.”

In Spring of 2000 during one of our three-month training intensives, called ango, we were presented with an art practice assignment: to choose one thing, one object, and be in its presence for next 90 days with full attention. Daido Roshi charged us to enter into the continuously changing nature of our experience, and bring our understanding into a form of creative expression.

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The Gate

· Creative Expression · ,

by Marie Howe

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Barriers and the Creative Process

· Creative Expression, Teachings · ,

by John Daido Loori, Roshi

As our work with the creative process evolves and we see how creativity extends beyond art into our lives, we may notice barriers that keep us from seeing in a way that’s unhindered by ideas or attitudes. These barriers pop up as we struggle to find equanimity in our art and day-to-day activities.

It is critical that we acknowledge these barriers, and work through them. To be willing to find our own freedom, blocked though it may be, is the first breath of that freedom. We have to be willing to turn toward the barrier and be intimate with it. As long as we think we can run away from it or deny it, the barrier stays with us.

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