Zen And Creativity :: An Homage To A Mentor

May 31, 2012  •  3 Comments


Sermon At The Bo Tree

I recently created a small series of composited photographs, collectively called "The Bodhi Lands"  that were originally made in homage to the passing of a great Zen teacher and master photographer, Roshi John Daido Loori who passed from us October 9th, 2009. These four images were my simple way of conveying the significance of one's life who had touched mine over crossed paths, even though we never formally met. Today's post comes on the day I received a seminal book of Roshi Loori's, titled "The Zen of Creativity ~ Cultivating Your Artistic Life"

I haven't yet had the pleasure of diving in deep with this book, but even before you get to the table of contents, you are met with this poem from Walt Whitman:

"Come said the muse, sing me a song no poet yet has chanted, sing me the universal 

In this broad earth of ours, amid the measureless grossness and the slag, enclosed and safe within its central heart, nestles the seed perfection."

And chapter one, titled "Melting Snow", starts with "All the way to heaven is heaven itself."  Not a bad way to start a journey into creativity and cultivating an artistic life!

There are a great many other voices, in many other fields than photography in particular that have something incredibly valuable to share about the creative process. If you want to become a more interesting, compelling and creative artist and photographer, go talk to a musician about creativity in his language. Seek out a poet to lay some lines on you about where the muses live. Ask a local farmer what to him makes a beautiful vegetable. Find a fine restaurant's chef and ask her what it is about creating with food that gives her the most joy.

Explore life more deeply and richly, and you will have no choice but to convey that in your images. To quote another dear mentor whom I never formally met (though our paths crossed not in time, but in space), "The influence of a vital person vitalizes!" ~ Joseph Campbell

Go be vital... !      


2.trace photographs
Ha, three copies + a kindle version... you are a true man of Zen yourself, Andy! Thank you for your wonderful comment, and I can see how well you implement the teachings in your own work. I do not as yet have any of Roshi Loori's photography books, but I'm really looking forward to exploring them. Any recommendations you have in particular would be appreciated...
1.andy ilachinski(non-registered)
Trace, I have *3* copies (all dog-eared) lying around within easy reach *and* a kindle version. No words can do justice to how much wisdom is contained between its front/back covers (and on them;-) His passing is a great, great loss for all of us. I assume you either have, or will soon get, his photo books as well? Pure Zen. Remarkable work.
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