Monday, December 2, 2013

Guest Post: Reflections on the Nov. 14 talk by Professor Gene Phillips

It was enlightening to see the concept of Zen Buddhism depicted in images at the talk by Professor Gene Phillips (Professor in the Department of Art History; Director of the Center for East Asian Studies). One of the things that Professor Phillips discussed was how Zen monks in medieval Japan were commissioned to paint inspirational ink images based on koans (questions that a Zen Buddhist master gives to his disciples in order to help them understand the concepts of "mu" [nothingness, emptiness] and the universe's fundamental non-duality, which leads them to enlightenment: the goal, the ultimate state of mind, in Buddhism).

To learn more, see Professor Phillips's book, The Practices of Painting in Japan, 1475-1500.

Photo by Hiromi Naka, Japan Outreach Specialist, the Center for East Asian Studies

Ayako Yoshiumra, the Center for East Asian Studies

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