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    Haiku Mind Paid Member

    What relationship have you discovered between haiku and meditation? A certain kind of hokum accompanies much of haiku today. People imagine it to be something other than it is in spiritual terms. But haiku is very, very simple. In the same way that you make yourself very simple by following the breath. You clear your mind, let go of everything else. In the same way, writing haiku takes you right to the heart of the moment. That’s the Zen of haiku, really. Being able to let go of everything and enter into this space. Haiku is seventeen syllables long, so it seems very small. More »
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    Tantric Art: Then And Now Paid Member

    For over a thousand years, Tibetan society steadily absorbed the artistic and cultural influences of neighboring lands, developing a unique artistic tradition that flourished until the Chinese invasion in 1959. Between the eighth and twelfth centuries, Tibet became the direct inheritor of the various Vajrayana traditions of India, which represented the ultimate flowering of Indian Buddhist culture. From its southern neighbors, Tibet took on the ancient artistic traditions of the Pala dynasty of eastern India and the ingenious skills of the Newar craftsmen of Nepal’s Kathmandu valley. From the west and north Tibet was exposed to the styles of Kashmir, Khotan, and central Asia, while from the east came the stylistic influences of Chinese art. More »
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    Conversions Paid Member

    Name June Paik's Reclining Buddha, 1993 I AM NOT A BUDDHIST. I don't have the proper robes, I sometimes get confused during worship services in the zendos it has been my privilege to visit—yet, gate, gate, paragate,” I have been converted many tmes to Buddhism by experiences of its utter seriousness in practice and by its immense heritage of art. To say “I am not a Buddhist” seems tantamount to saying “I am not a human being”: an evident lie. One does not need to be formally Buddhist to recognize that the experience of great Buddhist Art is essentially a conversion. The quality of work of religious art may even, and properly, be assessed in terms of its power to convert. But to do so requires investigation of the meaning of conversion. More »
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    Emptying the Bell Paid Member

    Peter Matthiessen, author, environmentalist, and activist, began his Zen studies with Soen Roshi and Eido Roshi in 1969. He continued his studies with Maezumi Roshi, then with Tetsugen Glassman Sensei, from whom he received dharma transmission in 1989. Matthiessen's books The Snow Leopard (Viking, 1978) and Nine-Headed Dragon River (Shambhala Publications, 1986) both deal with his Zen studies. His latest novel is Killing Mr. Watson (Random House, 1990). He lives in Sagaponack, New York, where he runs a small Zen center. This interview was conducted for Tricycle by Lawrence Shainberg, who first met Peter Matthiessen at the Zen Studies Society. Subsequently, Shainberg has studied Zen with Kyudo Roshi at the Soho Zen Center in lower Manhattan. More »
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    Mind is Shapely, Art is Shapely Paid Member

    GARY SNYDER asked his teacher Oda Sesso Roshi, "Sometimes I write poetry, is that all right?" Oda laughed and said, "It's all right as long as it comes out of your true self." He also said, "You know, poets have to play a lot, asobi." The word asobi has the implication of wandering the bars and pleasure quarters. For a few years while doing Zen practice around Kyoto, Snyder quit writing poetry. It didn't bother him. His thought was, Zen is serious, poetry is not serious. In 1966, just before Oda Roshi died, he spoke with him in the hospital. He said, "Roshi! So it's Zen is serious, poetry is not serious." Oda replied "No, no, poetry is serious! Zen is not serious." More »
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    Sitting Around Paid Member

    July Waterfall, Pat Steir, 1991, oil on canvas I'VE HAD TRULY MIXED FEELINGS about writing this little meditation, but then it is not costumed as a dispensation. We apparently drown in discursive texts, lists of principles and, on occasion, turn in despair from recondite Buddhist studies to the poetry of Han Shan and Gary Snyder and many in between. I think it was a Zuni who said, "There are no truths, only stories." Perhaps that is why we are drawn back to The Blue Cliff Record and The Book of Serenity. After all, we live within a story and our own story is true. This is only to say what I have to offer is a tad simple-minded compared to what has been offered to me. More »