Making Love with Light: Contemplating Nature with Words and Photographs (Dharma Communications)

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9781590304860: Making Love with Light: Contemplating Nature with Words and Photographs (Dharma Communications)

This book of exquisite photographs arises from the premise that unless we love nature, we will not work to save it from exploitation and eventual destruction. The rich mixture of photographs, Zen poems, and essays presented on these pages is intended to open our hearts to the wild and the wilderness, and to direct us to the ways in which we can heal the earth.

The Zen master John Daido Loori, who is widely known for his efforts to make creative expression an integral part of spiritual practice, here inaugurates a new art form: Zen photography. It’s a modern continuation of an ancient tradition that looks to art as an expression of the enlightened mind. The camera thus becomes a contemporary version of the Zen brush, as Loori captures moments of exceptional, unrepeatable beauty. Each image is a seed for contemplation.

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About the Author:

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.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The river never speaks yet it knows how to find its way to the great ocean; it does not know the ten thousand things are born from it. The way the river finds its way contains a universal truth; the way it gives birth to the ten thousand things reveals a teaching that is unspeakable.

When we let go even river rocks are radiant; when we hold on even a jewel's brilliance is clouded. If we are to enter the sacred place we must first set down the pack and remove the blinders. Only then can the voice of the river muse be heard.

The sound of heavy rain in the blackness of the night. A few more hours until dawn. It has been pouring for days. With the warm rain, the dissolving of accumulated snow has turned into a threatening spring meltdown. The river is at the edge of flood stage. From my bed I can hear its roar as it surges in tumbling torrents past the cabin, a sound that easily cuts through the rhythmic pelting of raindrops on the roof and windows.

After daybreak, on the riverbank, I watch in awe the incredible force of the flood surge. Blood red with mountain silt and mud, the river leaps in the air over submerged boulders, its unstoppable imperative to reach the sea magnified and inspiring. Later in the afternoon, the water rises over the dam at Long Pond, transforming it into a branch of the swelling river. Rapids at my doorstep heave ten feet into the air, huge trunks of trees topple, boulders roll like pool balls in the swift current. The river gets up on its hind legs and walks over the land.

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