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John Daido Loori, 1931-2009

Post #1411 • October 30, 2009, 9:22 AM • 7 Comments

John Daido Loori died earlier this month. Born in Jersey City, he went on to receive dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi Roshi, found the Mountains and Rivers Order, and establish Zen Mountain Monastery as an important training center for Zen and related practices.

Of note to this blog, Loori's introduction to Eastern thought came from working with Minor White, from whom he learned meditation as well as photography, and whose take on art (such as that expressed in his creative audience method) he adopted as his own. Loori's photography has been widely exhibited, and he is the author of The Zen of Creativity, which would be of interest to anyone whose religious life and artistic life intersect to any degree.

I trained at ZMM a few times - it is where I met Kazuaki Tanahashi - and at one point several workshop attendees were relaxing outside with Daido in the drear upstate New York weather. Somehow it came up that I spoke Italian, and was asked to say something. "Fa schivo," I said about the drizzle-filled fog. Daido saw an opportunity to pounce. "No, fa magnifico," he countered, as his hand, never releasing its cigarette, went palm up and across as if he were introducing a movie star. "Fa perfetto." Crushed in dharma combat, in Italian, by a smoking Roshi. I was always fond of him thereafter.




October 30, 2009, 3:57 PM

This seems apt:

Shigaraki 1
Shigaraki 2
Shigaraki 3
Shigaraki 7

Again, there is no applied glaze or decoration here. What you see is the effect of the natural interaction between the "kiln gods" and the clay body.



October 30, 2009, 4:07 PM

For OP: it's a tea bowl, about 40 years old.



October 30, 2009, 6:11 PM

Jane and I attended a 1-day retreat at the N.Y. Zen Center in Brooklyn, the N.Y. branch of the Zen Mountain Monastery, a few years ago with Pat Steir. It was great. I knew he was a photographer but didn't know the Minor White connection.



October 31, 2009, 1:33 PM

Last night I viewed the film 'Let the Right One In' (Sweden, 2008), after which the host raised the lights about half way and gave convincing piano renditions of Gnossiennes #1 and #5 (Satie), particularly complimentary to that film, which functions as an exquisitely crafted exhibition of photography of the first order and as a narrative film with a disarmingly fresh treatment of a familiar theme. 'Disarmingly' because I'm one who views contemporary film with a not a little skepticism.


Chris Rywalt

October 31, 2009, 2:49 PM

I hope you saw a copy with the correct subtitles.

I didn't. I still thought it was an excellent film, with beautifully composed images. There were a couple of scenes where the dialog seemed confused and unrelated to the movie on the screen, though.



October 31, 2009, 3:06 PM

Ours had English dubbing, no subtitles. I didn't care for that, and would've preferred to have been able to read a synopsis with script in advance (like I do for an opera I don't know) or after, than to have to deal with dubbing or subtitles, which always distract. Even with the dubbing though, this film was captivating.



November 1, 2009, 3:02 PM

A small (about 2.5 inches in diameter x 2 inches high) sake cup:

Hagi 1
Hagi 2
Hagi 3

So simple, yet simply beautiful.



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