The arts of Zen are not intended for utilitarian
purposes, or for purely aesthetic enjoyment, but
are meant to train the mind, indeed, to bring it into
contact with ultimate reality.
There has been a long and dynamic history of Zen and the arts throughout time.
Zen Priests, monks, and lay practitioners have turned to the arts to not only
express their understanding of Buddhist teaching beyond words, but as a way
to have direct experience and intimacy with all things. Art then becomes one
of the many Dharma gates allowing us the complete expression of our perfection.
The purpose of the Zen and the Arts program is to cultivate a closer relationship
between art and our spiritual life. Its form does not rely on Buddhist imagery
or classic styles of Zen art. It is not a way of playing around with Zen ideas, nor
a way to improve our skills. It is a way to live spontaneously and authentically,
penetrating truth as it is. Art then becomes an "artless art" of understanding
ourselves and the nature of reality using body, mind, heart, breath and energy.