Q. Great artisans and artists are said to become one with their work when they are engaged in it. Is their becoming one with their work the same as becoming one with the question when we practise Zen?
A. Both might seem to be the same in that they have strong concentration. However, they are different in that artisans and artists focus on creating new illusions, new imaginary lines, whereas Zen practitioners concentrate on removing them.
The former tries to discriminate as much as possible, but the latter strives to stop discriminating. The former’s job is to make illusions or strengthen them, but the latter’s job is to remove them. The former is evaluated by how many illusions they have and how beautiful these illusions are, but the latter is evaluated by how destitute he is of illusions.
Ancient masters would say, “No matter how beautiful the illusions you may have are, it is not as good as having no illusions.” So, it can be said that both are the same in that they are running hard. However, they are different because they are running in opposite directions to each other.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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