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Recalling the Shunryu Suzuki and Zen in America – Patheos

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The Zen priest Shunryu Suzuki died on this day, 48 years ago, the 4th of December, in 1971.

I write about him from time to time. Here I repeat some of that, with some editing and a small addition or two

To begin at the beginning there are actually two Suzukis who stand large at the dawn of Zen breaking forth into our larger North American culture.

The first is Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, best known as D. T. Suzuki, a scholar, translator, and essayist, whose writings both directly and through the popularizations by his sometime disciple Alan Watts, first introduced many of the basic principles of Zen Buddhism to the American public.

The other is Shunryu Suzuki,Soto Zen priest and missionary teacher who introduced Zen practices and established the first major Zen center in the West.

Shunryu Suzuki was born on the 18th of May, 1904, in a villageabout fifty miles from Tokyo. His father was the abbot of Shoganji, the local Soto Zen temple. His mother was the daughter of a temple priest.

He died, as I noted above, on the 4th of December, 1971. He was sixty-seven years old.

He began formal Zen study at the age of twelve with So-on Suzuki, a successor to and adoptive son of his father, at Zounin temple in Mori. At thirteen he was ordained unsui, a clouds and water priest. When his teacher moved to another temple Rinsoin, Suzuki followed him. At fifteen he returned to his fathers temple. At this time Suzuki began to study English. This would become a life-long interest of his. Later he continued his formal training with the master Dojun Kato at Kenkoin in Shizuoka. He attended Komazawa University, studying Buddhism and English. At twenty-two he received Dharma transmission from his teacher. However he continued his training entering Eiheiji, one of the two mother temples of the Soto school in Japan. He later also studied at Sojiji, the other of the two mother temples.

During the war many Zen priests supported the war effort much to the embarrassment of their later Western disciples. Suzukis involvement is unclear, but it does seem he was involved in at least some anti-war activities. This marked him out as unusual, and probably meant he would not advance in the hierarchy. And in fact Suzukiserved primarily as a country priest.

The Beat generation was in full swing and people were first learning there was such a thing as Zen. And they started coming to visit the temple asking for instruction. He invited them to sit with him early in the morning.

And with that what would become the San Francisco Zen Center complex began.

It is not possible to overstate Suzuki Roshis importance in the establishment of Zen in the West. If you want to learn more about him, his biographer David Chadwick maintains an amazing archive at

My own beginning Zen practice was fostered by his centers. My first instruction was at Sokoji, and my practice began at a branch of the Zen Center complex, what was then called the Berkeley Zendo.

And, I am only one of thousands his life and work touched.

He left three dharma successors, his son Hoitsu Suzuki, Shoko Okamoto, and an American Richard Baker. Through them the largest stream of American Soto Zen begins.

Many bows, great teacher. Endless bows

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The Slow Death of Stanfords Startup Culture – Stanford Review

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At age 19, Steve Jobs moved to India, converted to Zen Buddhism and seriously considered becoming a monk. At Apple, he liked to wash his bare feet in the company toilets.

Steve Jobs was a genius. He was also a really weird guy.

Although Jobs himself did not attend Stanford, our university has built a global brand as an incubator of similarly different thinking and disruptive entrepreneurs. The results speak for themselves. From Hewlett and Packard to the contrarian Paypal Mafia, Stanford graduates turned Silicon Valley from a Wild West of rogue coders into an economic juggernaut.

But Stanford is a very different institution today than it was even five or ten years ago. For a school The New Yorker once called a tech incubator with a football team, our current crop of undergraduates is not incubating much.

Instead of app ideas, precocious freshmen now come to Stanford with carefully-researched lists of potential internships for the upcoming summer. They apply by the hundreds to an alphabet soup of pre-professional organizations like ASES, BASES, Stanford Consulting, Stanford Finance, SWIB, SWIF, SWIP and SWE, all promising exclusive access to recruiters and resume-enriching professional development events. Even truly gifted computer scientists, once an enterprising group of misfits and hackers, chase six figure starting salaries and carry around identical copies of Cracking the Coding Interview.

We can hardly be surprised that Stanford students are seeking prestige and stability. Stanford now pulls students from the exact same pool as other elite universities, retaining almost half of our cross admits with Harvard and 70% with Princeton and Yale. To be admitted is (with some notable exceptions) an exercise in sophisticated high school box-checking.

Why, then, do we expect these new admits to suddenly become status quo-destroying entrepreneurs the day they set foot on Palm Drive?

Thirty years ago, institution-smashers like Peter Thiel put Stanford on the map. I worry there is little room in our class of corporate operators for similar anti-establishment eccentrics.

To be clear, current Stanford students are plenty interested in startups and entrepreneurship, as evidenced by the sheer number of students with Entrepreneur as their LinkedIn header.

However, digging deeper into the profiles of these Stanford Founders reveals an ecosystem of dubious undergraduate ventures with little to no market potential. There is a proliferation of Instagram knockoffs targeted at such random subgroups as amateur athletes, art enthusiasts and (not kidding) people with airpods. Questionable world-changey concepts abound, promising change and opportunity while offering no apparent product. Many of the companies listed are, upon closer inspection, just newsletters or agglomerations of Google results.

And this doesnt include the significant number of startups that are actually a single student doing a completely normal hobby, like volunteering or drawing, and then calling themselves the Founder/CEO of a non-profit or local art collective.

It is hard to imagine that any of these companies are making money. But thats not really the point anymore. This hollow breed of startup exists largely as a resume padder, brought into existence to show Google or McKinsey that their student founder is innovative and a self-starter. Unsurprisingly, theyre usually abandoned once said founder gets a brand-name job.

For many Stanford students, a startup has become the first rung on a new kind of corporate ladder. A common life plan for business-oriented undergraduates now goes along the lines of I want to go to business school, then start my own thing, then get into VC. The content or success of the own thing is incidental.

Not exactly a recipe for innovation.

Stanford is still the place to be if you do want to start the next big thing. In terms of raw numbers, we produce the most startups of any university. Our graduate schools support the cutting edge research that can turn industries on their heads. And if you do happen upon a good idea, funding is literally right down the road.

Yet our increasingly pre-corporate startup culture discourages the disruptive thinking necessary to start a great company. We may have some true innovators in our midst, but they probably do not spend their time organizing events for BASES.

Six years ago, Stanford co-term and future Rhodes Scholar Miles Unterreiner published this widely read salute to the irreverent Stanford spirit. In it, he declares that Stanford would never allow the encrusting tendrils of ivy to creep over our walls and ensnarl the engines of progress that hum eternally beneath the sandstone.

But the conventionalism that pervades our East Coast counterparts has nevertheless found its way to campus. Sure, we still prepare more students to work at Facebook than Goldman Sachs. Many will even have a startup at some point. But these new-world status seekers are very different from the groundbreaking entrepreneurs who (actually) changed the world with their companies and built the Stanford we know today.

As Stanford continues its rise into the 21st century, it will do so as one of dozens of elite universities grooming smart kids for stable and lucrative employment. Theres nothing intrinsically wrong with that. But some of our spirit is being lost.

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Should You Hire Anyone And Everyone Who Wants To Work For You? –

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Greyston was founded 36 years ago in Yonkers, New York, by Bernie Glassman, who practiced Zen Buddhism and pioneered the practice of Open Hiring (which Greyston has since trademarked). Greyston was founded on the idea that a profitable business could be the backbone of ethical practice, Brady says. The companys slogan reads we dont hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people, and indeed the concept is that simple. Anyone who asks for a job at Greystons Bakery will get one. It may take a little whilepeople sign up on a list, and when theres a job opening, theyll be contacted in the order in which they signed up. Thats it. The company does not use background checks, drug tests, or interviews; hiring is done on the basis of faith that if someone is given a job, they will do it, and their skills and salaries will grow as they work.

At Greyston, which currently employs 130 people, open hiring creates a pipeline for careers on the bakerys manufacturing floor and throughout the rest of the companys operations. People who are given a job start off as apprentices, during which they go through a 10-month job training and life-skills course. Around half the people who begin an apprenticeship choose to complete it and stay at Greyston, and when they do, theyre then assigned an entry-level jobworking the mixing machines or overseeing the slicing and packaging of different-sized brownies for distribution.

The company helps individual employees develop a career path, and provides them the supportwhether it be additional job training or a GED courseto follow it. Dion Drew, for instance, joined the team as an apprentice in 2009, and, after a number of promotions, is now a supervisor and new-hire manager. Delaney Philogene started as an apprentice at Greyston, moved on to the assembly line, then secured a job as an accountant with the company, and now works as an accountant for another. The idea, Brady says, is to equip people with both life and job skills that they could use to advance at Greyston, or take on to other companies. Either way, when people advance, it creates more space for more people to join as apprentices and begin their own careers.


Of course, Brady says, it doesnt always work outa number of people have passed through Greystons open hiring system to find that the work was not for them, or that they couldnt keep up with the demands of a fixed schedule.

But more often than not, open hiring leads to the same type of dedication Hookway saw in his own practice of giving people a chance. Brady feels that there are numerous, often overlooked avenues for introducing open hiring at companies. Janitorial services companies like CleanCraft are an obvious fit, but for larger companies, mail services, cafeteria staff, and other administrative work could all potentially work with an open hiring model. Specifically, he says, if companies are now choosing to outsource jobs to third-party contracting agencies, they should instead consider bringing them back in-house to provide a pipeline of opportunity to a wider range of people.

In doing so, they might see some benefits: While the annual employee turnover rate in similar manufacturing and production industries hovers between 30 and 70 percent, at the Greyston bakery, its just around 12 percent. Furthermore, because Greyston does away with the typical hiring processwhich, between background checks and drug tests, can cost up to $4,500 per hireits able to use the money saved to pay its employees a higher wage. While apprentices start at minimum wage, production supervisors, like Dion, earn a salary of around $65,000 with full benefits.

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A Brief Introduction to the Soto School of Zen – Patheos

Posted: October 27, 2019 at 8:43 pm

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As were working on our Empty Moon website we quickly saw a need for a brief overview of the Soto school. The Wikipedia article on Soto is a flawed document, but nonetheless contains much useful information. We used it as a template, cutting anything that felt extraneous to that brief overview, while interpolating critical information that was missing. The text remains a bit rough, but seemed workable enough to share here. The text at the Empty Moonwebsite will continue to be massaged for a while yet.

While not directly relevant to an introduction to Soto, this article also includes a few words about Empty Moon. Feel free to read or skip, as you find appropriate.

May this document be of assistance to anyone hoping to know more about this spiritual tradition both ancient and modern, holding profound insights and presenting disciplines that reveal the true nature of our hearts.



St Zenor theSt school(St-sh)is the largest of the three traditional schools ofZeninJapanese Buddhism(the others beingRinzaiandbaku). It is the Japanese line of the ChineseCodng school, which was founded during theTang dynastybyDngshn Linji. It emphasizes the practice ofShikantaza.

The Japanese school was imported in the 13th century byDgen Zenji, who studiedCodng Buddhism(Chinese:;pinyin:Codng Zng) abroad in China. Dgen is remembered today as the co-patriarch of St Zen in Japan along withKeizan Jkin.

With about 14,000 temples, St is one of the largest Japanese Buddhist organizations.St Zen is now also popular in the West.

The Caodong-teachings were brought to Japan in 1227, whenDgenreturned to Japan after studyingChaninChinaand settled atKennin-jiinKyoto. Dgen had receivedDharma transmissionfromTiantong Rujingat Qngd Temple, whereHongzhi Zhengjueonce was abbot. Hongzhis writings on silent illumination had greatly influenced Dgens own conception ofshikantaza.

Dgen also returned from China with variouskananthologies and other texts, contributing to the transmission of the koan tradition to Japan.

In 1243 Dgen foundedEihei-ji,one of the two head temples of St-sh today, choosing to create new monastic institutions based on the Chinese model and risk incurring the open hostility and opposition of the established schools.

Dgen was succeeded around 1236by his discipleKoun Ej(11981280)..

The second most important figure in St isKeizan.Keizan received ordination from Ej when he was, twelve years old, shortly before Ejs death.When he was seventeen he went on a pilgrimage for three years throughout Japan. During this period, he studiedRinzai,ShingonandTendai.After returning to Daij-ji,

Keizan received dharma transmission from Gikai in 1294, and established Joman-ji.In 1303 Gikai appointed Keizan as abbot of Daij-ji,a position he maintained until 1311. Under Keizan Soto Zen began to become popular.

In time the St school started to place a growing emphasis on textual authority. In 1615 thebakufudeclared that Eheijis standards (kakun) must be the rule for all St monks.This came to mean all the writings of Dgenbecame the normative source for the doctrines and organisation of the St school.Dgen scholarship came to a central position in the St sect with the writings ofMenzan Zuih(16831769), who wrote over a hundred works, including many commentaries on Dgens major texts and analysis of his doctrines. Menzan promoted reforms of monastic regulations and practice, based on his reading of Dgen.

Gent Sokuch(17291807), the 11th abbot ofEihei-ji, tried to purify the St school byfunctionally suppressing koan introspection as a Soto discipline. Prior to this kan study was widely practiced in the St school.

During theMeiji period(18681912) Japan abandoned its feudal system and opened up to Western modernism. One of the significant characteristics of the Meiji reforms was the disestablishment of Buddhism. Its original intent was in fact the eradication of this ultimately foreign religion. In practice it led to some creative reforms. Specifically the Zen establishment sought to modernize Zen in accord with Western insights, while simultaneously maintaining a Japanese identity.

Among these reforms the legalization of clerical marriage is among the most distinctive. It brought together two streams unique to Japanese Buddhism. The first was the substitution of Bodhisattva vows for the Vinaya system used throughout most of the Buddhist world. The other was the temple system where after a period of training single monks would become incumbents of the thousands of temples throughout the Japanese islands.

Records show these monks frequently having female companions. In the Meiji these two things, the ordinals had no specific language requiring celibacy, and on the ground a majority, likely a large majority were living in informal marriages, came to a head. That within five years of lifting of criminal sanction for marriage. fully eighty percent of Soto clergy were married shows this was a long over due reform.

That the terminology for these clerics remained monastic and that prominent clerics rarely appeared (or appearto this day) in public with their spouses andchildrenhas further complicated matters. Despite this there has been a trend toward seeing married clerics more as priests or ministers. This married clergy model has now been introduced to the West, where people are less comfortable with the dont ask, dont tell style of the Japanese culture, and now struggle to find appropriate accommodations for clerical marriage as a part of Zen in the West.

Going hand in hand with this non-monastic clerical leadership was the emergence of a philosophical perspective calledNew Buddhism (shin bukkyo). This perspective, insignificantpart the product of Western encounter, was broadly modernist, holding up the values of lay life, with impulsessupportiveofdemocratic, rationalist, and social engagement. It can be argued everyone who brought Soto Zen to the West was influenced by this New Buddhist perspective, at least in some degree. And practically, it brought a form of Soto Zen that could be recognized in many ways by Westerners.


In 1922 the Reverend Hosen Isobe established the first Soto temple on the mainland of the United States, in Los Angeles. Its intent was to serve the Japanese and Japanese American community. Shortly before the Second World War the Reverend Soyu Matsuokaarrivedfrom Japan and began to work with European and African American converts.

But it was withShunry Suzukithat Soto Zen began asignificant mission to the American heart.Suzuki studied atKomazawa University, the St Zen university in Tokyo.

In 1959 Suzuki arrived inCaliforniaas minister ofSoko-ji, at that time the sole St temple inSan Francisco.Suzukis teaching of Shikantaza and Zen practice andopens to converts, led to the formation of the San Francisco Zen Center, one of the largest and most successful Zen organizations in the West.

Suzukis assistantDainin Katagiriwas invited to come toMinneapolis,Minnesota, where he moved in 1972 after Suzukis death. Katagiri and his students built four St Zen centers withinMinneapolisSaint Paul. Another of Suzukis assistants, Kobun Chino Otogawa also become influential in establishing Soto in the West.

It was here in the West that Soto also began to reclaim koan introspection.The lineage, started with Daiun Sogaku Harada, who also has a line that passes more continuously within the Soto school,and through him toHakuun Yasutani, includesTaizan Maezumi, who gave dharma transmission to various American students, among themTetsugen Bernard Glassman,Charlotte Joko BeckandJohn Daido Loori.

The lay organizationSanbo Kyodan, and through thatlineage in an independent organization,Robert Aitken, who had several important dharma successors, including John Tarrant. cemented the place of a Soto reformed koan curriculum in Western Zen practice.

TheAntaiji-based lineage ofKd Sawakiwith its emphasis on shikantaza overall other practices, is also widespread. Sawakis student and successor as abbotKsh Uchiyamawas the teacher ofShhaku Okumurawho established theSanshin Zen CommunityinBloomington, Indiana, and his studentGud Wafu NishijimawasBrad Warners teacher.

Houn Jiyu-Kennett(1924-1996) was the first western female Soto Zen priest.She converted to Buddhism in the early 1950s, and studied inSojiji, Japan, from 1962 to 1963.Formally, Keido Chisan Koho Zenji was her teacher, but practically, one of Koho Zenjis senior officers, Suigan Yogoroshi, was her main instructor.[47]She becameOsh, i.e. priest or teacher, in 1963. In 1969 she returned to the west, foundingShasta Abbeyin 1970.

In 1996 the majority of North American St priestsjoined together to form theSoto Zen Buddhist Association. While institutionally independent of the Japanese Stsh, the St Zen Buddhist Association works closely with it.EMPTY MOON

Our founding teacher and priest is James Myoun Ford. He was originally ordained a priest by Jiyu Kennett, andreceived dharma transmission from her in 1971. He also completed the formal Soto reformed koan curriculum developed by Daiun Sogaku Harada andreceivedInkashomei from Dr John Tarrant.

A long time member of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association, Ford Roshi participated in the first Dharma heritage ceremony in 2004. It was meant to be arecognition ofseniority in Western Soto Zen roughly equivalent to the Japanese zuise ceremony. In 2012 he wasDoshi or chief celebrant at the fifth Dharma heritage ceremony. Ford later served on its board for a three year term.

The Empty Moon is dedicated to theproject of awakening. It seeks to preserve the traditions of Soto Zen cautiously adapted to the needs ofour time and place, while also transmitting the reformed koancurriculum, It alsostands for a radical equality between priest and lay practitioners, the total equality of genders, and the development of a rigorous but pragmatic formation process for priest practitioners.


For a brief summation of the core teachings of the Soto school, we recommend the Shushogi, the Meaning of Practice & Verification, compiled out of Eihei Dogens teachings by a team of scholars led by Ouchi Seiran.

For descriptions of Zen meditation we recommend this brief overview, as well as Eihei Dogens Fukanzazengi, Keizan Jokins Zazen Yojinki, and this introduction to koan introspection within the Soto reformed style.

For further reading about the Empty Moon project, here are some links:

Awakening and ZenMy Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association BoardZen Practice for Everyone

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A Brief Introduction to the Soto School of Zen - Patheos

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October 27th, 2019 at 8:43 pm

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Chef Danny Chu’s recipe book brings Japanese vegetarian cuisine from the temple to the kitchen – The International Examiner

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Ask any vegetarian with a taste for world cuisine, and theyll attest to how difficult it can be to find suitable Japanese food. Its no wonder as one of the worlds top consumers of seafood, Japan boasts a culinary tradition thats intimately linked with the bounty of the sea. Some of the more popular national dishes, such as sushi, sashimi and tempura, are typically made with seafood, but even seemingly innocuous foods like miso soup or noodle-dipping sauce have animal products in their ingredients.

But vegetarians wanting to explore Japans rich food culture dont need to settle for bland bowls of white rice or plain soba noodles because the country also boasts a little-known tradition of elegant vegetarian cooking. Chef Danny Chu introduces this cuisine to home cooks in his insightful recipe book, Shojin Ryori: The Art of Japanese Vegetarian Cuisine.

Shojin ryori refers to Japanese vegetarian food that gained popularity in the thirteenth century with the introduction of Zen Buddhism. It derives from the fundamental Buddhist principle of not taking a life and celebrates the natural essence of basic ingredients, drawing out the full flavors of vegetables and other plant sources with a minimum of waste.

In his book, Danny Chu, owner of Singapores first shojin ryori restaurant, shares some of his favorite dishes, focusing on simple, satisfying meals that can be made from readily available ingredients. The recipes are straight-forward and easy to follow, allowing the home chef to embrace their own mindfulness while enjoying the creation of appetizing plant-based meals. Although shojin cooking can occasionally include dairy and eggs, Chus selections are entirely free from animal products, making them suitable for vegans as well as vegetarians.

Chu arranges his cookbook seasonally, featuring dishes made from fresh ingredients appropriate for each time of year. The spring menu focuses on the new crop of fruits and vegetables including fare such as braised burdock and carrot as well as daikon rolls filled with watermelon and cucumber while autumn dishes, like nagaimo croquettes and chawan mushi, accent the fall mushroom harvest. The flavors of shojin ryori are delicate but delicious, with the savor of vegetables standing out through the restrained use of seasonings. Although shojin meals are traditionally concluded with a dish of seasonal fruit, Chu includes recipes for deserts such as watermelon jelly and poached pears, which are reminiscent of the elegant confections served in Japanese tea ceremony.

Shojin Ryori is an attractively presented volume, with each of its recipes accompanied by a photograph highlighting appealing serving suggestions. Cooks new to this style of cooking will also appreciate the thorough, illustrated glossary of ingredients as well as the opening pages, which are devoted to the preparation of stocks, garnishes, and other basics of Japanese cooking. The only criticism I have is that eight of the books recipes are repeated twice, although I expect this small oversight will be corrected in later editions.

Danny Chus Shojin Ryori demonstrates that eating a healthy, ethical diet can go hand in hand with enjoying the authentic flavors of Japan. As the impact of animal agriculture on the environment and human health becomes clearer and clearer, theres more reason than ever for people to experiment with the wealth of flavors offered by vegetarian cuisine. For any cook looking to expand their culinary horizons, Shojin Ryori is an easy recommendation.

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He Was an Immense Artist: The Chinese Artist Huang Yong Ping, Who Fused the Spirit of Duchamp with Zen Buddhism, Has Died – artnet News

Posted: October 21, 2019 at 5:48 pm

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The France-based, Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, who was known for weaving Chinese and Western historical canons together to create provocative results, died suddenly on Saturday. The pioneering member of the Chinese avant-garde was 65 years old.

Born in 1954 in Xiamen, China, Huang was a founding member of the Xiamen Dada group. The collective first came to attention when in 1986 they torched a number of the paintings they had recently shown at the Xiamen Peoples Art Museum. The radical act was prompted by their dissatisfaction with the circumstances around the show. The collectives motto was Zen is Dada, Dada is Zen, and Huangs hero was Marcel Duchamp.

Over the following decades, Huang continued to fuse elements of Zen Buddhism, Dadaism, and a Duchampian sense of irony to create large-scale surrealistic installations and sculptures, some of which fell foul of political censorship in China, while one notorious work upset animal rights activists in North America.

Huang Yong Ping was a giant of the avant-garde, a father figure for generations of artists and thinkers, the Paris-based art dealer Kamel Mennour told artnet News. He opened up the delicate path of the dialogue between worlds with intact engagement and philosophical view on the worlds turbulences, Mennour said, adding, He was an immense artist. He was my friend. The dealer began formally representing the artist a decade ago by which time Huang was already settled in Paris.

The self-taught artist, who numbered Joseph Beuys, John Cage, as well as Duchamp as inspirations, maintained a critical position and cast a skeptical eye on a rapidly globalizing world, which his career personified.

In 1987, he made what would become an iconic work, The History of Chinese Painting and the History of Modern Western Art Washed in the Washing Machine for Two Minutes, by destroying art history books by Wang Bomin andHerbert Read in the laundry. The artist placed the resulting pulp atop of piece of broken glass on a Chinese teabox.

In 1989, Huangtraveled toParisto take part in the groundbreaking Centre Pompidou exhibition Magiciens de la Terre. He stayed in France, which he went on to represent at theVenice Biennale in 1999. For his prestigious Monumenta commission in 2016, he filled the Grand Palais in Paris with a giant, serpentine sculpture and shipping containers to createEmpires.

Huangs controversialBat Project 2was censored at the inauguralGuangzhou Triennial in 2002. His installation featured a model of the cockpit of an American EP-3 spy plane,and referenced a fatal collision between a US and a Chinese plane in Chinese airspace. In Huangs sculpture, the US plane included taxidermy bats hanging from its blasted-out windows. The animals signified the gap in understanding between the West, where bats are often feared, and China, where they symbolize happiness.

It would not be the last time his work, which often featured animals, was pulled from a major exhibition. In 2018, HuangsTheater of the Worldwas heavily modified by the Guggenheim Museum after vehement protests from animal rights activists. A petition to take down the title work and two other pieces from the group showArt and China After 1989 garnered half a million signatories within days.

In Huangs work, caged snakes and lizards were meant to devour insects, and probably each other, during the show. The Guggenheim showed the artists sculptural cage without the animals.

In an interview with artnet Newss editor-in-chief, Andrew Goldstein, Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong described Huang as an artist asking tough questions, and that is brutal. New Yorks Gladstone Gallery, which also represents the artist, put up a show of Huangs work following the museums decision.

Huang maintained that he was against provocation for its own sake, asking: How can an artwork be created just to be censored? HisTheatre of the Worldwas shown as the artist intended at the Guggenheim Bilbao but only as an empty cage at SFMOMA.

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He Was an Immense Artist: The Chinese Artist Huang Yong Ping, Who Fused the Spirit of Duchamp with Zen Buddhism, Has Died - artnet News

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October 21st, 2019 at 5:48 pm

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When You’re Bored with the Day to Day –

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Its the start of the workweek. Another ordinary workweek. This likely includes the same old routine, a mix of getting ready, wrangling a kid or two, getting stuck in traffic, getting stuck in meetings, responding to never-ending email, running errands, making dinner, doing bedtime. And doing it all over again.

In short, theres a lot of rushing from one place to the next, from one task to another. And it all feels all-too familiar.

Its natural to get bored with the seemingly mundane. Its natural to dismiss your days as dull and uninteresting. Similar days will blend into each other, and before you know it, the week is up.

But it doesnthaveto be this way.

When Shonda Moraliss son was 4 years old, he asked her how babies in the womb received nourishment. After Moralis did her best to give an age-appropriate answer, her son shared his summary: So let me get this straight. You ate food, it went into yourbelly, then intomybelly button through your extension cord?

Moralis replied, Extension cord. Exactly, and there has been an invisible extension cord connecting our hearts ever since.

Moralis, MSW, LCSW, a psychotherapist and coach, shares this sweet story in her new book Breathe, Empower, Achieve: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Women Who Do It All.In it, she encourages readers to reconnect to our childhood sense of awe, curiosity, and wonder. Which is similar, she writes, to the idea of beginners mind from Zen Buddhism.

Moralis suggests exploring this idea by picking one activity, either at work or at home. She writes, Imagine that you have never encountered this situation before. What do you notice? What is most prevalent? How does this impact or shift the moment for you?

We can apply beginners mind to all kinds of activities, according to Moralisfrom driving to emailing to (even) being at a meeting.

When we bring beginners mind to everyday mundane or rote tasks, we are not only granted a fresh perspective; we will consequently reach our goals with less resistance or frustration.

When you apply beginners mind to an email, you can marvel at the technology, at your ability to connect with someone whos three thousand miles away or in another country. When you apply beginners mind to your morning, you can marvel at the sunrise and at your childs surprising questions. You can marvel at the convenience of your toaster oven, the delicious flavor of your fresh bagel, and the aroma of your hot coffeeeven as youre running out the door (and running back in, because lets be honest, you probably forgot something).

Our mindset determines our mood and our behavior. When we open our eyes (and tune into our other senses), when we take less for granted, we enjoy brighter, happier, less stressful days. We also feel alive. Energized. Invigorated. Empowered. Maybe were even kinder and more patient.

Moralis includes a beautiful quote from Maya Angelou, which we can regularly remind ourselves of (and maybe even recite every morning): This is a wonderful day. Ive never seen this one before.

And, of course, you havent.

Photo byAleksandr LedogorovonUnsplash.

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October 21st, 2019 at 5:48 pm

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Huang Yong Ping, Provocateur Artist Who Pushed Chinese Art in New Directions, Has Died at 65 – – ARTnews

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Huang Yong Ping.


Huang Yong Ping, the Chinese artist whose propensity for provocation allowed him to address taboo subjects in China and beyond with audacity and wit, has died at 65. His death on Saturday was confirmed by Gladstone Gallery, which represented him in New York and Brussels. A representative for the gallery did not immediately state a cause of death.

In his sly installations and sculptural work, Huang often melded techniques derived from the history of Chinese art and international avant-garde movements alike. His ability to deftly combine seemingly opposed methods of art-making made him one of the foremost artists in an emergent group of Chinese artists during the late 1980s.

Like his colleagues, Huang chafed at the boundaries surrounding what could be presented as artwork, in the process addressing eroding traditional mores and the Westernization of the country he called home. Among his most famous works is The History of Chinese Painting and the History of Modern Western Art Washed in the Washing Machine for Two Minutes (1987), for which he put copies of Wang Bomins History of Chinese Painting and Herbert Reads A Concise History of Modern Painting (the first book about modern art history translated into Chinese) into a would-be laundry cycle. Huang then placed the pulped remains of the water-pummeled tomes atop a piece of glass, put it on a teabox, and exhibited it as an artwork.

Huang Yong Ping, The History of Chinese Painting and A Concise History of Modern Painting Washed in a Washing Machine for Two Minutes, 1987 (reconstructed 1993).


What could have been a wry, ironic gesture became, in Huangs hands, an iconic statement about globalism and the merging of thought processes. It alluded to the anarchistic quality of Dadaist artworks, which proposed that reason was meaningless in modern society and placed an emphasis on concepts over aesthetics, and it also showed how Western values were colliding with non-Western onesin this case, with Chan Buddhist philosophy, which holds that everyday objects are not freighted with symbolism.

In an interview with Post, a website affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art, Huang once said, I applied Chan Buddhism because I believed that the juxtaposition of Chan Buddhism and Dadaism would create new meanings, especially since I placed an Eastern element with a Western onea term from intellectual history with one from art history. According to Huang, both Dada and Chan Buddhist philosophy have in common an interest in empty signifiers.

The washed-out history work would become a preview of some of the provocations Huang would stage throughout his career. In later pieces, he made use of live animals and politically weighty objects, incurring the wrath of officials and activists alike. But Huang often said that he did not make art with the hope of getting into trouble. First of all, I do not predetermine the works audience, he told Ocula in 2018. How can an artwork be created just to be censored? I am also against the idea of provocation for its own sake.

Huang was speaking on the occasion of one of the greatest controversies of his careerthe exhibition of a piece to involve live insects, snakes, and lizards. That work, Theater of the World (1993), was included last year in a Guggenheim Museum Chinese art survey in New York that took its name from the Huang piece, and it was one of several works on view that involved animals. (The others were by Xu Bing and the duo Sun Yuan and Peng Yu.) In the Huang work, the animals were to prey on one another in a see-through case shaped like a tortoise shell.

Huang Yong Ping, Theater of the World, 1993, wood and metal structure with warming lamps, electric cable, insects (spiders, scorpions, crickets, cockroaches, black beetles, stick insects, centipedes), lizards, toads, and snakes.


After an outcry from animal-rights activists and a petition that was signed by thousands, the Guggenheim altered the work, presenting just its shellwithout the animals. It was not the first time Theater of the World had drawn ire, but it was the most high-profile instance of controversy surrounding the work. Huang, who was traveling on an Air France plane when his piece was altered, responded by writing an essay on an air sickness bag that was then exhibited at the Guggenheim.

[T]his work has repeatedly encountered premature death without ever having a chance to live, Huang wrote, adding, An empty cage is not, by itself, reality. Reality is chaos inside calmness, violence under peace, and vice versa.

The use of animals in the work was of a piece with Huangs larger interest in comparing humans to beings lower on the food chain, and his point was partly to create a microcosm that paralleled the state of modern affairs. For the installation Arche 2009, shown in 2009 at the cole Nationale Suprieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Huang created a 50-foot-long paper boat filled with taxidermy animals that alluded to the story of Noahs Ark. What may have at first glance seemed cute revealed itself instead as something darkeras some of the the animals Huang included were disfigured or partly burned (an allusion to a fire at Deyrolle, a Paris shop that had been a destination for natural-history objects).

As Huangs installations grew in size, further controversy followed. His series Bat Project involved the exhibition of Lockheed airplane fuselages that bear an almost exact likeness to an American spy craft that hit a Chinese fighter jet. (The spy plane was called a bat, but the animal is also a symbol of good fortune in China, lending the title of the series a layer of irony typical of Huang.) One work from the series was to go on view in an exhibition in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, much to the dismay of officials from China, France (which was co-sponsoring the show), and the United States. With the aim of patching over damaged diplomatic relations, the work was yanked before it even went on view.

Huang Yong Pings Monumenta commission at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2016.


I still dont know whether it was the Chinese or the French who put pressure on the organizers to suppress it, Huang told the New Statesman America in 2008. The U.S. embassy sent people to take pictures of it, and asked the Chinese government to do an investigation. This was later retracted.

That the work became ensnared in a global power play may have been Huangs very intention. Huang was one of the most incisive artists dealing with the complex systems of power that guide international relations todaysomething he often observed from afar while working in Europe.

In 1989, at the age of 35, Huang went to Parisand he would remain there for the rest of his career. His reasons for doing so were related to the state of China at the time: students were revolting against an oppressive regime, and it was potentially dangerous to be making art there. Huang was in Paris to show his work at the the Centre Pompidous famed 1989 exhibition Magiciens de la Terre, which is regarded as one of the first major globalist art exhibitions in the West (it has also been controversial for the way it tokenized certain cultures). France went on to become an important home for Huanghe represented the country at the 1999 Venice Biennale, and in 2016 he was commissioned for the Grand Palaiss Monumenta exhibition, one of the largest and most esteemed art projects in Paris.

While working in Paris, Huang continued to deal head-on with politics in China in ways that were nuanced and rigorous. Bank of Sand, Sand of Bank (2000), a sculpture originally shown at the Shanghai Biennale, is a 20-ton replica of the Pudong Development Bank. Many Western critics pointed out that the structure will eventually fall apart, possibly referring to the instability of institutions during the age of globalism. But Huang had in mind something different: a statement about the legacy of colonialism in China. Colonialism is closely linked to capitalism and the market, and banks are the fulcrums around which the market moves as the lever for Chinas rapid development, he said in the Ocula interview. The 2000 Shanghai Biennale presentation was an allegory of that.

Huang Yong Ping, Bank of Sand, Sand of Bank, 2000, installation view at Gladstone Gallery, New York, 2018.


The spiky, unforgiving quality of Huangs work differentiated the artist from a number of his colleagues whose work has been more readily embraced by the market. During the 2000s, as prices for work by Chinese artists such as Yue Minjun began rising, Huang often spoke of how disinterested he was in the international market. According to a W magazine profile from 2009, Huang made Franois Pinault, one of the top collectors in France, wait years before allowing him to a buy a work on view at Pinaults Punta della Dogana museum in Venice, and the artist turned down an offer to show at Pace Gallerys then-newly opened Beijing space, citing a loyalty to Gladstone Gallery.

Huang doesnt give a damn, Kamel Mennour, Huangs Paris dealer, said in that profile. Sometimes Ill point out important clients to him, but it makes no difference. He never goes to openings or parties, never reads magazines. He wears the same pants and shoes every day. Hes just obsessively focused on his work.

Huang Yong Ping was born in 1954 in Xiamen, China. While studying at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, he developed an interest in three areas that would inform the bulk of his workthe philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Zen Buddhism, and the art of Marcel Duchamp. He began by making paintings of industrial workers using spray painta boundary-pushing medium at the timethat would hint at the political leanings of his later work.

After graduating from art school, Huang returned to Xiamen, where he began working as a middle-school art teacher. Though Huang never saw the exhibition, a show of Robert Rauschenberg at the National Art Museum in Beijing radicalized many of his colleagues. Rauschenbergs fusions of art and lifethe equalization of a mattress and a canvas, for exampleoffered new ways forward for Chinese artists, and Huang took up the artists mandate starting in the mid-1980s.

Huang Yong Ping, Colosseum, 2007.


Working with his artist colleagues in the city, Huang formed a group called Xiamen Dada that staged prankish happenings. Until art is destroyed, life is never peaceful, Huang wrote in Statement on Burning, an essay that accompanied a piece in which he set fire to his paintings in front of the Cultural Palace of Xiamen. Another event held in this spirit involved Huang and his colleagues proposing an exhibition to the Fujian Art Museum, mounting it, and then, hours into its run, replacing all the works on view with found objects culled from the area surrounding the institution. (The show lasted about two hours before officials at the institution realized what the artists were up to and shuttered it.)

Huang was deeply invested in rethinking how galleries and museums ought to function. In doing so, he laid waste to longstanding notions that the art world, both in China and far beyond it, should be separate from the rest of the world, and that Western artists worked in a zone that somehow existed outside the political demands of people around the globe.

One of Huangs best and most forceful pieces is Towing Away the National Art Gallery (1988), a photo-collage in which the artist proposed a method for removing the facade of a Beijing art museum using hemp ropes. It was never realized, but the point, Huang believed, was to have merely thought of ways of overthrowing the art system. The museum is still there, unchanged, and I have never wanted to step inside it in 30 years, he told Ocula. Regarding rebellion or resistance, maybe these could be better understood in terms of Chinese phrenology: some people are born with a reverse bonea sign of rebellion or resistance.

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Huang Yong Ping, Provocateur Artist Who Pushed Chinese Art in New Directions, Has Died at 65 - - ARTnews

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October 21st, 2019 at 5:48 pm

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James Stanford donates Buddhist work to the Tibetan cause – ArtfixDaily

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Las Vegas digital artist James Stanford will be donating his monumental work Budding Buddha to Art For Tibet for their 9th annual auction and exhibition in support of the Tibetan peoples nonviolent freedom struggle against occupation.

Founded in 2009, Art for Tibet will be taking place in New York on Thursday November 7 2019, and will bring together artists and activists to celebrate, commemorate, and support the Tibetan people.

Stanfords work Budding Buddha, a 3-flip backlit lenticular print is edition one of five, moving with the viewers gaze it transforms into three contrasting versions of itself. Depicting the Buddhas head the work refers to Stanfords own deep spirituality ignited in his teen years when he was introduced to Seon Buddhism and began practicing meditation. Other artists donating works to include Shepard Fairey, Cey Adams, Al Diaz and Pema Rinzin.

This years Art for Tibets Honorary Committee is made up of legendary hip-hop artist and Beastie Boys collaborator Cey Adams, French-Tibetan painter Marie-Dolma Chopel, Shepard Fairey and Columbia Professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies, Robert Thurman. The exhibition and auction will take place at the prestigious Gallery 8 in Harlem, where Tibetan artists will be showcased alongside leading contemporary artists. An online auction will take place from October 25 November 7 2019 and the live auction on November 7.

Stanford is widely known for his series Shimmering Zen, a group of digital works featuring mesmerising mandala designs based on photos of historic Las Vegas neon signage. The mosaics and patterns have an immaterial and spiritual quality evoking the artists strong connection to Zen Buddhism. Using a mix of traditional photography and digital techniques, Stanford layers photographs to create and discover patterns in familiar yet completely revitalised images. The exploration of light is key to Stanfords practice as he draws on his expertise as a painter photographer and professor of colour theory.

Dedicated to promoting arts and culture in his hometown Las Vegas, recent months have seen Stanford design a monumental site-specific mural covering the arts incubator at 705 North Las Vegas Boulevard. The mural spans over 2,000 square feet and commemorates the iconic Blue Angel statue that watched over Downtown Las Vegas for 61 years from its mid-century perch at the Blue Angel Motel.

Multimedia artist Stanford has earned an international reputation for an innovative and diverse oeuvre founded on the values of artistic experimentation and meditative practice. Working inventively in a wide range of media and genres, his subject matter ties into a long-term interest in the study and transformation of popular culture, most widely known in the abstract meditative reconfigurations through his Shimmering Zen series, a body of work based on the neon signage and lights of Las Vegas.His art is widely recognized for a sense of radiant light, shadowy space and an infinity of crystalline forms, aptly named modern mandalas.As a practicingBodhisattva teacher, the artist describes his approach and the transformation within his process: My works are part of my practice: meditations, and as such they act as guides to help the viewer gazedeeperinto who we really are. Popular culture can teach us all a lot about who we really are and show us our correct relationship to the universe.

James Stanford says:

I am honoured to be donating a work to Art For Tibet, a cause that is very close to my heart. As a practicing Buddhist I believe in equality, freedom and human rights, all things the Tibetan people are currently deprived of. I commend the Students for a Free Tibets (SFT) important work including their annual fundraisers which help them continue their fight to free Tibet with nonviolent action.

Notes to Editors:

About Art for Tibet:

Founded in 2009, Art for Tibet raises critical funds for Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), a grassroots network of youth and activists campaigning for Tibetans fundamental right to political freedom. Through education, grassroots organizing, and nonviolent direct action, SFT empowers youth as leaders in the worldwide movement for social justice.

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James Stanford donates Buddhist work to the Tibetan cause - ArtfixDaily

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October 20th, 2019 at 9:26 am

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Jack Kerouac: On the road to immortality – The Navhind Times

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Navneet Vyasan

Born toFrench-Canadian parents, Jack Kerouac excelled in sports from a very young age.Initially, never interested in literature, Kerouacs athletic pursuits won hima sports scholarship at Columbia University in the early 1940s.

At the same time, Allen Ginsberg, also won a scholarshipat Columbia University and then met Lucien Carr. Carr, a well-read academic,was popular for his views and writings, which were infamouslyanti-establishment.

This is the time when, the core members of the BeatGeneration Kerouac, Ginsberg, Carr, Herbert Huncke and William S Burroughs would go on to start a movement that would inspire generations to come. Throughtheir prose and poetry, they would advocate spiritual awakening, purification,and illumination through heightened sensory awareness. This, they argued, mightbe induced by drugs, jazz, sex, or, in the later years, Zen Buddhism. But itwas Kerouacs book titled On the Road, and his friendship with Ginsberg thatmade headlines every nowand then.

In the 1960s, as their writing gained momentum, adorationwas closely followed by denunciation. However, their works, in time, influencedthese popular trends, then engulfing the world.

The hippiemovement

I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act ofleaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich withpossibility, wrote Kerouac in his seminal work, On The Road. Published in1957, this part travelogue part novel, took Kerouac only three weeks towrite. Written in a single, effortless flow, the book was inspired by Kerouacstravel across the rapidly changing post-war United States.

Cited by legendary artistes including, Bob Dylan, JimMorrison, and David Bowie as an influential read, Kerouacs work inspired ageneration of hippie trails. The quest for soul searching, lied in travel, andfor him, the journey he underwent before writing the book, was just a start.Unsurprisingly, American teens read the book cover-to-cover and before late, hebecame a literary icon.

In fact, the term hippie was introduced in the 1960s.Before that, the American media coined the term, beatnik, to describeAmericans, setting on a long journey inspired by Kerouacs writings. His works,acquired a global reach after hippies became prevalent around the world. The trail,required Americans to fly to Europe, which is where it would start. The finalstop, more often than not, being Southern India, the travellers used the passesthrough pre-revolution Iran, and Afghanistan, before it was invaded, finallycrossing over to Pakistan and entering India before settling in the southernstates of Goa and Kerala.


Arguably, nothing influenced music and literature the waycounterculture did. Constantly associated with liberation, one can see the riseof ideals of pacifism, LGBT acceptance and marijuana legalisation when onereads works like Post Office by Charles Bukowski or Fear and Loathing in LasVegas by Hunter S Thompson.

Counterculture literature grew with time when authors,notably, used their writings as a tool to critique the establishment that wasgoverning them. Risking imprisonment and sedition charges, Kerouacscontemporary, Allen Ginsberg penned his much acclaimed poem, Howl. Ginsbergregularly mentions Kerouac in his works.

What is obscenity? And to whom? he wrote in the initialpages of his book, Howl and Other Poems. Ginsberg was frustrated that therapidly growing American economy was masking the countrys military ventures.He accused the everyday white collar worker of ignoring the countrysatrocities. I saw the best minds of my generation who threw their watches offthe roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, and alarm clocksfell on their heads every day for the next decade, he wrote about how the USgovernment was fooling them by luring them with jobs, as a way to mask VietnamWars atrocities. Subsequently, he had to face sedition charges.

Religion andspirituality

In Kerouacs final days, which would also mark theconclusive years of the Beat Generation, he set out in search of spiritualityand was fascinated by Eastern religions. Ginsberg made a historic trip to Indiaand Kerouac published, The Dharma Bums, what is now considered the hippie handbook.

My karma was to be born in America where nobody has anyfun or believes in anything, especially freedom, he wrote. Raised a devoutRoman Catholic, Kerouac after being introduced to Buddhism, mentionsBodhisattva frequently in his works which followed The Dharma Bums. Moreover,this was the early 1960s, when hippies, in their Volkswagen buses, thronged thebeaches of California chanting Hare Rama, Hare Krishna.

(HT Media)

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Jack Kerouac: On the road to immortality - The Navhind Times

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