Category Archives: Zen Practice

The Art of Zen Warriors

The Art of Zen Warriors

The Art of Zen Warriors
The Art of Zen Warriors

In Japan the samurai practiced Zen to master the sword. As long as the samurai was afraid of losing his life, he could not act with his full ability. When he was free from the idea of killing or being killed, he could just react to his enemy’s activity, and win. If he tried to win, he might lose. So practicing how to act without fear, which limits your activity, is the most important thing. Although it was a matter of surviving on the battlefield, the samurai fought his fight during his meditation practice.

Shunryu Suzuki

Welcome

Let us open our leaves like a flower, and be passive and receptive.

John Keats

Welcome
Welcome

The acrylic on wood drawing / painting above titled “Welcome” hangs in the entrance to the Art and Zen Sanctuary, to greet all who enter. The overall creation area is 29” x 50” which includes the hand-crafted 3-D frame that Frank built to emulate an Asian character symbolizing an open receptiveness.

Frozen Hummingbird Feeder – Video

Frozen Hummingbird Feeder in the Art and Zen Sanctuary Video (2:15):

If video window does not display above, this is the YouTube link below: http://youtu.be/2_wCAj0tpV0
A Big “Thank You” to Jingle Punks for providing the music for this video!

Please remember to assist others when you get the chance…thank you.

Trying to be as Zen as a Lighthouse Light Keeper

Frank’s lighthouse series brought a commission for a public wall mural. The mural below, painted in the reception area of a Silicon Valley business, is a takeoff on Frank’s Pigeon Point set. The scene is a rare sunny day setting for Frank, but more typical of what the pubic likes to view.

Office Lighthouse Mural

Several organizations use a lighthouse theme, portraying themselves as a guiding light. Frank is more interested in the diligent work of the keeper, who in a Zen monk-like way, maintained the life-saving beacon through the night, keeping the oil or kerosene topped-off and all systems running.

Inspiration from the discipline of the light keepers played a key role in the completion of the mural project.

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Backstory: Frank was asked to paint the mural over a weekend to reduce impact on the business. Frank agreed, as long as the wall was prepared with an undercoat on Friday evening after hours, by a pro, according to Frank’s specifications and color. That way it would be dry and ready for the art on Saturday morning, which Frank estimated would take the entire weekend, if all went well. The wrinkle is that when Frank showed up Saturday morning to begin, the wall had not been painted. The “pro” didn’t show.

Frank set about immediately to shop for and find the paint to do the necessary undercoat. The primer coats were done, but the wall was not dry enough to begin the painting until Saturday night. Thinking of how the keeper of the light would work through the night, Frank could not shrink from his duty and painted all night, collapsing to nap occasionally on the seats in the picture.

By late Sunday afternoon, Frank thought the picture done, and invited his wife Mary and others to come view the production, and take him home. Everyone raved when they walked in the door, while Mary showed Frank a quizzical look, after studying the mural. Frank knew that look and placed high value as always on Mary’s artistic eye. Taking her aside, she offered her view toward perfection, suggesting to Frank that the perspective on the two windows on the side of the keeper’s house was a bit askew. Frank stood back, a little bleary eyed, refocused, and saw exactly what she had pointed out while others still went on about how cool the painting had turned out. After thanking Mary for her valuable assistance, it took about 15 minutes to paint the correction. Then a smiling Frank, with Mary’s concurrence, declared the lighthouse mural done.

The business owners were very pleased Monday morning when they showed up for work.

Hummingbird Alert

Hummingbird Alert:

If the temperature outside is freezing the liquid inside your hummingbird feeder, please buy a second feeder. Have it inside ready to change out with the frozen one in the morning.

These amazing little creatures are becoming used to your supplying them with what they need. So, don’t let their tongues contact an ice-cube inside their feeders. Thank you very much for caring for all living beings.

Below is a (1:23) video of a hummingbird in the Art and Zen Sanctuary…enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by the Sanctuary.

Be Inspired to Live Your Dreams, Along the Right Path

We all have the chance to live our dreams. It means making a lot of right decisions, focused on the right path of attainable goals.

One of Frank’s patrons returned from a South Pacific sailing vacation and commissioned Frank to paint a new work. She wanted a composite scene from her memorable time with a friend. Frank painted the “Dream” below in acrylic on a 30” x 15” stretched canvas.

Dream - Vacation Peace
Dream

Live your dream. Be inspired by it.

Just make sure it is realistic, and down the right path…and you know what is right.

 

 

 

Tranquil Zen Fire at the Kubota Garden

While Zen is often equated with tranquility, the fire of hard work is at the core of an effective practice. There is no better example of practicing Art and Zen in landscaping than the monumental accomplishment of Fujitaro Kubota and his sons Tak and Tom.

In 1927, Fujitaro purchased 5 acres of logged-off swamp land and began exercising his passion for gardening. Over the years, the garden grew into 20 acres of the most scenic landscaping imaginable. The Kubota family brought in huge boulders (over 400 tons of stone), creating water courses while planting the most magnificent plants and trees. In the middle of fulfilling his dream, Fujitaro and his family were forced into internment at Camp Minidoka in Idaho during World War II. Most men would have been discouraged by such treatment, but not the Kubota men. Fujitaro was driven by a passion to have his garden one day open to the public to improve American understanding of Japanese culture and worked until his death in 1973 at the age of 94 to fulfill his dream.

Now designated a historic landmark by the City of Seattle, it remains a hidden treasure, with few visitors, which helps support the tranquil atmosphere. The Kubota Garden is located very close to the Zen Monastery Frank supervised in construction. It was at the Kubota Garden that Frank inquired about finding a Zen landscape artist and was quickly referred to Terry Welch. And though it took nearly a year to make the connection, Terry taught Frank concepts in stone placement learned from masters in Japan. They artistically performed together in putting the finishing touches on the Zen Monastery construction, in sync with the first abbot Master Jian Hu.

Kubota Garden
Kubota Garden

If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area, this hidden treasure is worth the discovery. You will have a chance to peacefully connect more closely to life on this planet.

Here is a link to the Kubota Garden website for more history and location: http://www.kubotagarden.org/about-us/history/