Not Looking at Zen Art

An exhibit of Zen art by 20th-century Japanese painter Suda Kokuta at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Photo by Dennis Amith | A full experience of calligraphy and ceramics dissolves the distinction between artist, work, and viewer. By Gordon Greene Don’t look at Zen art. You will miss much of the richness of the experience. Instead, join the artist in as many ways as you can, with as many senses as you can. Over my decades of training in Rinzai Zen, shodo (Zen calligraphy), and firing ceramics with wood, I have come to realize that the full experience of Zen art involves … Continue reading Not Looking at Zen Art

Is Atheism a cult?

Atheists and non-atheists talk during the Reason Rally on the National Mall March 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)  by SCOTTY HENDRICKS Cults are, justly, often viewed negatively. The term reflects this, having lost its original meaning of ‘care’ or ‘community’ long ago and now refers negatively to a small religious organization. Despite this, cults needn’t be religious, they can be political or ideological as well—the religious ones just get all the attention. Due to the popular use of the term as a catch-all slur against new religious movements, experts don’t like to use the word cult very much. … Continue reading Is Atheism a cult?

When death is not the end

The meaning of mortality There is growing opposition to the way many countries define dying SHALOM OUANOUNOU was declared dead in September. The 25-year-old Canadian had suffered an asthma attack so severe that he was taken to hospital in Ontario where he was put on a ventilator. After carrying out tests, doctors found that his brain lacked functions such as consciousness and respiratory reflexes. They issued a death certificate and prepared to disconnect the medical equipment. But Mr Ouanounou’s family said that he and they, as Orthodox Jews, believe that life ends only when breath and heartbeat cease. They won … Continue reading When death is not the end