Zen In Art And Art

908 Words4 Pages
Prior to my enrollment in this class, I did not have exposure or any type of familiarity with the Zen tradition. The uniquely Japanese branch of Buddhism has indeed flourished, and focuses on eliminating the sources of human suffering, or in other words, dukkha. On its simplest level, the effect on the development of this Japanese-Buddhist culture continues to resonate among its followers, as it did approximately 2500 years ago. However, there is a question that remains to an even larger extent. How actually did Zen come to influence not only the worlds of art, literature, and architecture, but also popular culture and Western life? The connection involving Zen and art is incredibly mystifying, because upon examination Zen art itself appears to be very modern. Shunryu Suzuki explains that “Zen practice is the direct expression of our true nature” (32). He also mentions “when you practice Zen, you become one with Zen” (49). Fully exposing ourselves to foreign notions may be strange, but at which point is it that Zen transcends into art?
As said by an unknown essayist, Zen is the “spiritual journey towards enlightenment, known as satori, an awakening that is achieved through the realization that one is already an enlightened being” (1). In keeping with my previous question, traditional arts do have roots in the Zen tradition. In order to reach enlightenment, one has to find meaning within the scope of their everyday experiences. It is not particularly useful to create something new or search for significance in other objects. As day to day life is a component of Zen teaching, and there may be artistry well in the midst of routinal activities. Perhaps art is a guiding tool for those individuals who seek enlightenment. Therefore, the ...

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...by its boundaries” (Hoover 9). We hesitate to take a step back, look at the whole picture, and regain full composure. After all we are the products of lifetime conditioning, as it relates to our emotional and thought patterns.
All living beings try to avoid misfortune, except that negative emotions come from the mind and are nonexistent. Zen reminds me of the complete need for restraint and patience. You have to begin at one point and embrace life’s unique experiences as they come. When an individual is captivated and enthralled with the Zen practice, art is clearly an expression of their enlightenment. Zen artists, similar to Ranzan Shoryu, are not consumed by the lavish appearances of their art forms. The religion and religious art are interdependent, and may as well define each other. To find nirvana, is there not a need for disruption in interdependence though?
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