The Zen of Creativity by John Daido Loori
Cultivating Your Artistic Life

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Synopsis

For many of us, the return of Zen conjures up images of rock gardens and gently flowing waterfalls. We think of mindfulness and meditation, immersion in a state of being where meaning is found through simplicity. Zen lore has been absorbed by Western practitioners and pop culture alike, yet there is a specific area of this ancient tradition that hasn’t been fully explored in the West. Now, in The Zen of Creativity, American Zen master John Daido Loori presents a book that taps the principles of the Zen arts and aesthetic as a means to unlock creativity and find freedom in the various dimensions of our existence. Loori dissolves the barriers between art and spirituality, opening up the possibility of meeting life with spontaneity, grace, and peace.

Zen Buddhism is steeped in the arts. In spiritual ways, calligraphy, poetry, painting, the tea ceremony, and flower arranging can point us toward our essential, boundless nature. Brilliantly interpreting the teachings of the artless arts, Loori illuminates various elements that awaken our creativity, among them still point, the center of each moment that focuses on the tranquility within; simplicity, in which the creative process is uncluttered and unlimited, like a cloudless sky; spontaneity, a way to navigate through life without preconceptions, with a freshness in which everything becomes new; mystery, a sense of trust in the unknown; creative feedback, the systematic use of an audience to receive noncritical input about our art; art koans, exercises based on paradoxical questions that can be resolved only through artistic expression. Loori shows how these elements interpenetrate and function not only in art, but in all our endeavors.

Beautifully illustrated and punctuated with poems and reflections from Loori’s own spiritual journey, The Zen of Creativity presents a multilayered, bottomless source of insight into our creativity. Appealing equally to spiritual seekers, artists, and veteran Buddhist practitioners, this book is perfect for those wishing to discover new means of self-awareness and expression—and to restore equanimity and freedom amid the vicissitudes of our lives.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About John Daido Loori

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John Daido Loori (1931-2009) was one of the West's leading Zen masters. He was the founder and spiritual leader of the Mountains and Rivers Order and abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery. His work has been most noted for its unique adaptation of traditional Asian Buddhism into an American context, particularly with regard to the arts, the environment, social action, and the use of modern media as a vehicle of spiritual training and social change. Loori was an award-winning photographer and videographer. His art and wildlife photography formed the core of a unique teaching program that integrated art and wilderness training by cultivating a deep appreciation of the relationship of Zen to our natural environment. He was a dharma heir of the influential Japanese Zen master Taizan Maezumi Roshi and he authored many books.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Ballantine Books. 272 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Self Help, Arts & Photography, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Zen of Creativity

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This deeper look at the precepts of Buddhism strives to eliminate the misconception that Zen is just a form of meditation, putting it forward as a philosophy of day-to-day, minute-to-minute living.

Apr 09 2007 | Read Full Review of The Zen of Creativity: Cultiv...

Publishers Weekly

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Loori, the revered and celebrated founder and abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in New York, has authored numerous books on Zen Buddhist practice (The Eight Gates of Zen ).

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Publishers Weekly

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Loori (Riding the Ox Home: Stages on the Path of Enlightenment) is the abbot of the Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskills, a former photographer and a writer for mainstream Buddhist publications such as Tricycle and Shambhala Sun.

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Loori offers an explanation of the Buddhist precepts, or vows taken as an initiation into Buddhism, together with a commentary on the classic instructions of Master Dogen concerning moral and ethical behavior.

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"Naturalness, spontaneity, and playfulness are all aspects of the ordinary mind that catches a glimpse of the world of things just as they are," writes Loori, the founder and abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery, in the Catskill Mountains.

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Spirituality & Practice

He opened the Zen Arts Center in Mount Tremper in 1980 as a place where "Zen training would be used as a vehicle for studying, enhancing, and cultivating a creative life."

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