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The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life
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The Zen of Creativity: Cultivating Your Artistic Life

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  352 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
For many of us, the return of Zen conjures up images of rock gardens and gently flowing waterfalls. We think of mindfulness and meditation, immersion in a state of being where meaning is found through simplicity. Zen lore has been absorbed by Western practitioners and pop culture alike, yet there is a specific area of this ancient tradition that hasn’t been fully explored ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published 2004)
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Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Oct 09, 2016 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it liked it
Shelves: creativity
Sometimes it's nice to take a step back and look at the whole picture. That's what happened when I read this book. Instead of focusing on creating something I focused on getting into that place where creating happens. It was a good break and I think I will take that shift into my everyday life.
May 30, 2008 Valerie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Keenan
Recommended to Valerie by: Dad
This book came to me at a time when I needed to rethink my creative life -- I was putting tremendous "effort" into my writing, but little was working. This book had a quieting effect on me and taught me something about the intangible creative process as well as patience (at least where my process is concerned). Excellent, too, for anyone interested in Zen Buddhism.
Apr 01, 2008 Diane rated it it was ok
I think this is a book geared toward the artist who is just starting out or perhaps an artist who needs a kick-start for their work.

The book seems to fall into three sections: looking at your art in a different way, how to meditate, and Zen koans.

If you are searching with your art work and have a spiritual bent you may enjoy this book.
Feb 22, 2014 Roben rated it liked it
I read The Zen of Creativity over a period of a year. Quiet and thoughtful, John Daido Loori brought a sense of wonder into my processes of art.
Aug 27, 2014 ZenBear rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zen
This is a beautifully illustrated book that explains the principles of Zen arts and how creativity fits within the Zen culture. The illustrations are beautiful and for everyone that is interested in Zen and the arts this is a book well-worth reading. The Zen of Creativity Cultivating Your Artistic Life by John Daido Loori
Apr 02, 2013 Alejandro rated it really liked it
I really really really enjoyed this. It worked like a koan. It stirred up an understanding in me that goes beyond words.

I wish the images were reproduced better, however, because they are such an intrinsic part of what he is talking about.
Dwan Tape
Jan 26, 2012 Dwan Tape rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zen, buddhist, art
Such a strong contrast to the last Zen book I read (Everyday Zen, by Joko Beck). It will definitely affect my approach to both my Zen practice and my creative explorations.

That said, this is ultimately a Zen text - in other locations I've seen reviewers complain that it wasn't what they were expecting, but in each of these cases, as best I can determine, the reviewer was more interested in exploring his or her creativity and was not interested in deepening his/her understanding of Zen.
David Guy
Mar 09, 2012 David Guy rated it really liked it
My wife had bought this book because of her interest in visual arts, and I had always avoided it because I think the subject is a little hokey and overworked. But Loori began as a photographer and only later became a Zen priest; he does know the tradition very well, and is completely devoted to Zen practice. There is probably still a little too much John Daido Loori in this book, but I thought it was an interesting treatise about the Zen arts, and the connection of art and Zen in general.
This is one of those books you don't really appreciate until you actually have had time to marinate the ideas set forth and put some of them to use. If anything, I've become more aware and appreciative of the small and seemingly unimportant things around me; I've been believing in myself more as I have been letting ideas flow without prejudice; and I have newfound artistic inspiration, which hasn't happened in a long long time. Now I just need to dig out my art supplies and visit the art store.
May 07, 2014 Jimmyle rated it liked it
Shelves: buddhism
Beautiful and insightful. Wonderful illustrations. I was disappointed that Loori didn't shed more light on the relationship between creativity and ego... to creator addiction ... as described in the following verse:

The artist limits time and space
In hopes of setting up a place
Where he defines the world anew.
And, God-like, grants himself the grace
To pardon
And be pardoned too. (Kido, ~1981)

Jul 06, 2011 Carole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carole by: Karen Schulman
Shelves: buddhism, photography
This is a series of essays on creativity in general and how Daido Loori teaches creativity and photography. The later essays deal more specifically on the creative arts in Zen with brief and lucid discussions of calligraphy, different styles of painting, and poetry. The books is illustrated with wonderful examples of works that he describes.
Jan 20, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
A surprisingly good read. The illustrations and the fact that a lot of his travels I have been to as well allowed me to really get into this book.
Short chapters that flowed nicely and some humor added to an enjoyable read.
Vivian Jackson
Jul 19, 2014 Vivian Jackson rated it it was ok
Not my cup of green tea. This book seems more about the author's perspective vs. igniting any creativity in the reader. If you are looking for a book to throw your creativity in gear, read

You won't be sorry!
May 08, 2015 Adler rated it liked it
Difficult read. Some sentences or stories are really thoughtful and very powerful, but I found that most of it was too loose... I know that depending on one's mindset a book can be either a must or a non-sense, so perhaps I should give it another chance and read it again in the future.
Mar 31, 2013 Marijn rated it really liked it
Interesting look at things - one step closer to understanding both Zen and Creativity.
Sriram Raghavan
Oct 28, 2014 Sriram Raghavan rated it it was amazing
It really cultivates Artistic life ..Matters with how deep we dig !
Feb 10, 2008 Edward rated it it was amazing
I've read this twice in two years, taking notes each time. It not only clearly lays out the basics of Zen practice but also how they intersect with the practice of art. It's wise and luminous.
Oct 13, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I liked the connections between contemplative practices and art
Feb 21, 2008 Tere is currently reading it
Just starting this one. need for class in March 2008
Jul 04, 2007 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fivestars
I need to get my Zen groove back.
Nancy Hausauer
Feb 13, 2016 Nancy Hausauer rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, beautiful book. So much care went into every aspect of it.
Aug 31, 2010 Chana is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
If you come upon the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
Nov 23, 2016 Andie rated it it was ok
Judih Haggai
Oct 13, 2016 Judih Haggai rated it it was amazing
chunks of inspiration
Jul 28, 2012 Cnorahs rated it really liked it
Shelves: arts, philosophy
I should put these practices for real more often...
Sirpa Grierson
Nice beach reading.
Susie Brooks
Dec 12, 2011 Susie Brooks rated it really liked it
Loori writes with great compassion and understanding of Zen, and explains with as great a depth as is possible regarding the creative process. Very inspirational.
Jun 11, 2011 Tara rated it it was amazing
This is one to continue to return to.
Jun 22, 2011 Nathalia rated it did not like it
I had to read this for one of my courses and quite frankly, all I have to say is that it just wasn't for me.
Pam rated it it was amazing
May 12, 2013
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