Introduction

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The Zen orientation

Up through the centuries since the Buddha's time, a very large number of people in the Far East have searched for the way or ways in which this code operates. With their own beings as laboratories, they have conducted numberless experiments. Out of this work, especially since Bodhidharma's union of Taoism and Buddhism, has come a body of ideas and attitudes and a set of techniques to facilitate the operation of the code. This approach is what we call Zen.

The Zen way of living may be applied in any field of human endeavor—business, art, teaching, farming, carpentering, parenting, housekeeping. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that men and women can live according to the Zen way in various fields of human endeavor. For this is not a trick to be applied to increase one's output or one's degree of happiness. Rather, it becomes a total reorientation to one's whole array of behaviors.

This course approaches Zen and Zen art through a series of Zen tenets representing aspects of this orientation. Each tenet is illustrated by two paintings with accompanying commentary and haiku. While you are looking at these "landscapes of the soul," meanings of the tenet for each picture will be becoming clearer and richer inside you.

The way you are sitting, the way you are looking, the way you are reacting to the stimuli will all facilitate the structuring of this aspect of Zen. The work of building new insights will go on primarily below the threshold of consciousness.