Dogen Sangha Blog


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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Zen and Art.

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

I hope you are well.

How might an artist bring Zen perspectives and practice to the creation of art (music, painting, calligraphy, photography, dance etc. etc...)?

Do you have any views or advice in this area?



(Gudo) Dear Harry San,

Thank you very much for your question, and my answer is as follows.

I think that all human beings, when they are in the balanced state of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), they can do their best. Therefore in the case of many kinds of artists, if they want to produce their best work, it is necessary for them to maintain his ANS balanced.

With best wishes Gudo Wafu Nishijima


Blogger Uku said...

I would say:
same way as you do zazen,
same way you should paint and create art.

By doing zazen you find the answers to create art with your true nature.

And what is zazen? Expressing your true, original nature.

When you are creating art without creating it, without thinking of it, when you forgot the whole idea of art - then you're creating art.


4:58 AM, October 04, 2007  
Blogger Harry said...

Dear Nishijima Roshi,

Thank you for your answer.

I think you are correct, and that the posture and view of Zazen can greatly inform and benefit the artist in his/her process.

Unfortunately, for us performing artists, there is the added complication of performance pressure (stage fright!). Being a nervous performer myself I can confidently report that my ANS goes crazy when I have to perform before an audience!

Roshi, did you ever feel nervous in front of an audience such as during your many teaching engagements?



7:34 PM, October 05, 2007  
Blogger GUDO NISHIJIMA said...

For markus "uku" laitinen San,

Thank you very much for your expressions.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

For hezb San,

When I was young, I had also tendency to become tense, but by practicing Zazen everyday, I have trained myself keeping the balance of ANS at every moment, and I have overcome the unbalanced ANS without noticing it.

1:46 PM, October 06, 2007  
Blogger Harry said...

Dear Markus,

Through zazen I have found that everything in my nature is true whether I percieve it thus or not: I think lies, deception and illusion can be used very succesfully by the artist. In fact all art could be said to be dishonest, abstract, unreal, unoriginal in a way.

I like you're idea of forgetting the idea of art: that seems like a very practical way to operate.



7:29 AM, October 10, 2007  

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