Yoshizen's Blog

What Photography to do with Buddhism

Someone asked me “ Why Photography in a Zen blog ?”


The understanding of Zen is so wildly varied, let alone the understanding of the Buddhism.

It spreads from vague spiritualism to an endless peculiar practice.

A reason is that it lays in the person’s subconsciousness. Hence, the person oneself couldn’t

see it clearly, let alone the others, even the teacher.

Since, it was not clearly written down like as a Dogma, and to memorize it doesn’t mean

understood the Buddhism. (Though, some sect says, they got 100 of the rules written down

and follow them is the completion of the Buddhism.)


My discovery of the Zen came from a peculiar practice = Disco Dancing  😀

With a peculiar mental tendencies habituated in my subconscious, I realized, this is

what people called the Zen —– Like a Pathological diagnosis, I found the symptoms all

matches to the description of the Zen of the past masters =

hence I understood, what I’m living is the Zen.


So that, in Zen, the matter is a mental state or so-called mind-set, while the one is DOING

something. = Doing it unconsciously with the mind-set of what

Lord Buddha stated = IS the Buddhism. = Hence, able to receive all the benefit to live with

the Dharma. —– Here, it is crucial to be unconscious (=in Mushin). 

We can do a thing without thinking but not able to do thinking without thinking  😀

Try to do Mushin or talking it consciously is just a pretense or mimicry  😀


Photography is a secondly art (it doesn’t mean second class art 🙂 ) = unlike an abstract

drawing or sculpture, unless the subject is there, its photograph couldn’t be created.

In other words, photography has to follow the existence and its moment.

That moment is the only moment. Photography is to capture and deals with this MOMENT.

As Lord Buddha stated, “Nothing stays the same and they change moment to moment”.

= Photography has to face this situation straight.


Why and how you encounter its situation or subject was not necessary what you expected or

designed.  = To encounter it was what the Karma has worked.   You may think that

the idea to come to the garden to take picture was what you conceived and planed by yourself

alone though, without Karma has had pulled a string, you didn’t get the idea in the first place.

Whether you are aware or not this is how the system works.

And this system = the mechanism of the Dharma is what

Lord Buddha elucidated. = This is the Buddhism which is applicable even to a non-Buddhist.


And we have to follow the subject = we didn’t create it, hence this is a secondly art =

we have to accept a humble position to be a secondly creator. Therefore, we have to see

the world with humble open eyes but at most diligent way, down to the minute details.

Once we start to see the subjects, what we are seeing is the environment or most likely

the nature. —– In fact, we are seeing the Dharma.


When we try to capture and focus the subject, are we thinking what to eat for lunch ? =

Not only the lens, we are focusing what we need to do without any thinking but with full

attention to the subject on front of the camera whole heartedly.

This is the moment of Mushin and the Mindfulness.


Then “Got it” = but what we got ? —– Even though we might think “I’ve got iconic image”

it is a mere reflection of the subject in the memory card, which could just disappear with a

glitch in a computer. —– And in most of the case, it wouldn’t do anything with the person’s

finance = it is nothing but a selfless, greed less act = expect no reward, still needs to put

so much effort for taking.


—– Isn’t this Zen Buddhism ? —– If not,  What else   🙂



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8 Responses

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  1. beton said, on August 17, 2012 at 00:16

    Rattling nice layout and superb content material , very little else we require : D.

  2. Lemony (Gr)Egghead said, on August 21, 2012 at 01:35

    I follow you all the way here, and understand everything you’re saying, except am wondering if you could explain further this point: “Once we start to see the subjects, what we are seeing is the environment or most likely the nature. —– In fact, we are seeing the Dharma.”

    Disco dancing, huh?! 😀 A groovy awakening. 😀

    • yoshizen said, on August 21, 2012 at 02:47

      Start to see = open the Mind. (we are thinking that we are seeing is, in fact put the things into a ready-made category = hence, we need to see afresh = then we start to see all the entwined system = human nature to complex social system, still they are the products of the great nature and the human nature. hence they are the Dharma.
      About Disco dancing, please read [Most bizarre story in Zen] 😀

  3. bentehaarstad said, on August 22, 2012 at 23:56

    I also did (and still do if I have the chance) disco dancing. I LOVE IT, but it did n’t get me into no zen. At least not yet. But I think you are probably more a zen person, both in dancing and photography, Yoshizen. But also quite a resercher.

    • yoshizen said, on August 23, 2012 at 01:16

      It might be easier to grasp the meaning, if a word Yoga (Dancing Yoga) was used instead of Zen.
      And in Yoga term, instead of [Harmony] but [Synchronize] was used. = Spontaneous body movement
      which is reacting exactly to the coming sound. —– as I wrote in the [Bizarre story], responding to 3 kind of sounds = Base Drum,other Percussion and Melody in the same time, it was only possible by automatic spontaneous reaction = then I realized this reaction is what Sword-master described “Sword-mastery in Mushin (mind of No-mind) = is in fact same Mushin, what Zen-master said.
      Whether it was Disco-dancing or in the Martial-art, the relation between mind-set and the Body-movement
      is the same. To extend this Mind-set to all the aspect / activity of the Life is the Buddhism.
      If you push the body movement to the extreme = synchronize to the German-bass, no brain can follow =
      only auto-pilot / unconscious movement can follow 🙂

  4. bentehaarstad said, on August 22, 2012 at 23:57

    Forgot to say: wish it was me, relaxing there in the sun… 😉

    • yoshizen said, on August 23, 2012 at 01:23

      I think, you can relax in your green field better —– London is a noisy place 😀

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