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Art Teacher Zen Master

Post #1872 • August 27, 2020, 3:15 PM

Sokei-An, “Meditation,” collected in The Zen Eye, 1994:

I did not learn how to practice samadhi in a monastery but from my art teacher. When I was learning to paint the sea, my teacher asked his students to sketch at the seashore or copy the waves in ancient masterpieces. “Without brush or palette,” he said, “go alone to the oceanside and sit down on the sand. Then practice this: Forget yourself until even your own existence is forgotten and you are entirely absorbed in the motion of the waves.” We took our teacher at his word, and day after day in the summertime, we went to the seashore, to the so-called Ninety-nine-mile Beach on the Pacific Ocean, near Tokyo, and there we would stay all day long watching the waves. When we came back in the evening to our lodging houses and hotels, we felt as though we were still at the seashore listening to the pounding surf. Some young artists would stay there a week, then return to their studios in the city to seize their brushes and paint waves in the very rhythm of the sea. This is our way of art. This is also a way of samadhi. You transform yourself into the object you are confronting.




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