Although one can do a walking meditation, the most effective mind-clearing practice is to just sit. Yet, as a teacher once told us, “At some point you need to get up and go do something.” Hopefully that “something” will be a result of your meditation and beneficial for you and others.
So, get some vigorous exercise, perhaps with a partner, on a regular basis. It is good for your mind / body relationship.
When you visit a museum or gallery, you are expected to not touch the art. Frank enjoys the fact that his art is not only touched, but walked on:
Abbot Master Jian Hu walks on the Dharma Wheel
First Community Gathering at the Dharma Wheel Peace Pole
Dharma Wheel Peace Pole completed
It was Frank’s great honor to be hired as a consultant to assist in the property purchase, development and construction of a new Zen monastery in Seattle, where Master Jian Hu served as the first abbot. This was a dream fulfillment for Frank.
This new monastery replaced a dilapidated facility, once a church that degenerated into the living space of drug users and prostitutes. The local community received a great blessing with a new Zen spirit in their neighborhood upon completion of the monastery… a true sanctuary for those seeking truth and peace.
Through Frank’s experience in managing the work of government agencies, contractors, architects, and engineers, he was able to save the Zen monastery well over one million dollars in the acquisition and build-out process.
After completion, It was then Frank’s greater honor to envision, build and gift an outdoor public art installation, a Peace Pole and Dharma Wheel combination, seen in the pictures above, for the enjoyment of all at the monastery , including Master Jian Hu. Frank was also commissioned to paint an outdoor welcome sign at the entrance to the monastery.
While starting out with a great classical art foundation from Thomas Leighton, Frank realized early in his art career that he lacked basic landscape fundamentals, so he once again looked for the best teacher. One of Frank’s most important learning experiences came from working with Charles H. White, internationally collected landscape artist.
Here are a few sample images of paintings produced by Charles:
Though Charles offered great classroom opportunities, the best part of Frank’s instruction from Charles was walking together with Mary Fleisch through the foothills of Mt. Diablo, taking pictures. The best time was the summer when the California hills turned a golden brown. Charles knew this as a business mind; the demand for those types of paintings greatly exceeded the green springtime hill paintings he produced. The results of their vigorous outdoor hiking can be seen in the painting below by Frank of the Mt. Diablo foothills above Walnut Creek. Frank’s return favor was sharing with Charles a digital camera experience, as an option to the traditional 35 mm film photography Charles was using at the time.
Here is Frank’s Mt. Diablo painting, oil and acrylic on a 27.75″ x 21.75″ stretched canvas with the painting continuing around the edges:
The compelling nature of seeing a path as an entry point to a painting was also suggested by Charles. To Frank, this also brings significance to our path through life as we select the trails and trials that might be experienced… keeping an eye out for the joyful opportunities.
We at Art and Zen are remembering this 100th anniversary year of his birth. Thomas was Frank’s portraiture teacher. There is more about Thomas and some of his work on the Teachers page, including a rare portrait of Frank, drawn by Thomas just before he died on December 31, 1976.
Some wisdom from a great teacher, Shunryu Suzuki, on sincere Zen practice and how to know when art is good:
Sincere practice and good Art.
“What is sincere practice? When you are not so sincere it is difficult to know, but when you are sincere you cannot accept what is superficial. Only when you become very sincere will you know what it is. It is like appreciating good art. If you want to appreciate good art the most important thing is to see good work. If you have seen a lot of good work, then when you see something that is not so good you will immediately know that it is not so good. Your eyes have become sharp enough to see.”
Now some may say, “But I thought there was no bad art.”
Well, the title of Suzuki’s book from which his above teaching is quoted is: “not always so.” So we will just leave it at that, with the further notion that good sincere teaching is also very important (more on specific teachers in the next few posts).
You might want to pick up a copy of “not always so” for just a few dollars on Amazon or some other source. This is some of the most accessible Zen wisdom available today: