12 posts • Page 1 of 1
fotokoan uses a modern interpretation of Zen meditation techniques.
fotokoan.com is a project in progress. we believe that regular practice of fotokoan helps to calm the mind, find inner peace, clarity and openness. our research shows that most practitioners experience a short initial phase of confusion. however, they soon learn to let go of the futile attempt to use logic. trust in the guidance of their intuition leads to unexpected insights and a deep immersion in the experience of simple being.
If you have questions, please send us an email: email@example.com
There is a video to show how it works: https://youtu.be/MxU9IPrd4uo
Please tell us what you think about fotokoan.com
Fun. I'm all for creative expressions and adaptations of Zen practice.
Wondering what the numerical scores indicate?
Since Fotokoan is called an interpretation of Zen meditation techniques, though, it is confusing since the mentioned calming of the mind and experiences of clarity and openness it promises are not by themselves the intent of Zen practice at all. Likewise with the negation of logic as futile. And "simple being" divorced from that intent doesn't go beyond the morass of subtle dualistic seeing.
Can you explain how you view Fotokoan to be an interpretation or expression of Zen meditation techniques. And, which techniques?
There are many descriptions of Zen practice and realization with which it might be useful to compare. For example, from Engo (Yuanwu, 1063-1135), compiler of the Hekiganroku:
Thank you for trying out fotokoan.com - and your kind words. Of course, you are right on all counts.
About the scores: In fact they are a compromise I do not like. However I noticed that the first people who tried fotokoan demanded some token of progress. Of course, the scores do not measure any progress at all (how could that be?). They depend on the time one takes to progress through fotokoan. The slower, the higher the numbers.
I made this compromise because I think it is better to have scores which do not hurt anyone than unhappy users who give up after 3 minutes.
Also you are right, of course, that calming the mind and so on are not the intent of Zen. I am aware of this even I am just an untutored layman. However, I never did claim that fotokoan is Zen. I simply stated the belief 'that regular practice of fotokoan helps to calm the mind, find inner peace, clarity and openness.' What's wrong with that? It is what many people seek. If fotokoan helps in this direction I think that's better than nothing. And, again, no, it is not Zen.
About meditation techniques - here I would like to quote Wikipedia: 'A koan is a story, dialogue, question, or statement, which is used in Zen practice to provoke the "great doubt" and test a student's progress in Zen practice.' We put strange images and meaningless phrases together (at random). As long as you are trying to make sense of it (it is sometimes very tempting) you are not making any progress at all. The exercise is, as Engo says: 'Just detach from thoughts and cut off sentiments and transcend the ordinary conventions. Use your own inherent power and take up its great capacity and great wisdom right where you are.'
I dearly (and humbly) hope that fotokoan.com helps just doing that. A little bit, at least.
Thanks again - domo arigato!
Thanks for replying. I agree, increased clarity, relaxation and so on are wonderful. If your site can help in that way, it's great!
However, what you said was that it "uses a modern interpretation of Zen meditation techniques." Why mention Zen at all? Better to just say it is an experimental method for experiencing relaxation and clarity. That is honest.
What I want to say, really, is this: if there are people who wish to create new and timely ways for folks to enter the gate of Zen awakening and benefit thereby, then what they should do is devote themselves to Zen practice. Mastering Zen practice methods, they should bring them to fruition in their own bodies. Then, using their creativity, they might certainly be able to create a modern interpretation of Zen meditation techniques. It will all be good then. If someone can do that, maybe I'll follow that person myself.
I like Wiki also (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBDn5PiL00), though the Wiki article you quote contains major inaccuracies. In any case there are many ways to use koan texts, but if we discuss the method of Great Doubt, then we have to say the purpose of koan practice is just to bring the practitioner to awakening, and thereafter to clarify and embody that awakening as realization. RE Engo's words, they are spoken to practitioners, and have a meaning in that context which is not grasped on the surface.
Wishing you the best regardless, and also that Fotokoan brings benefit to folks. I appreciate especially that you are not charging for it, and are motivated by a wish to help people.
I tried out your site, thank you very much. How did this come about? Is it an art school project? Nice work in any case.
2 comments come to mind:
1) I like the pictures that come into focus and you still can't figure out what they represent.
2) The phrases are very much full of some sort of moral compass. This would rather go against the grain of zen meditation which is about the softening of karmic conditioning, letting go of duality: good and bad and suchlike.
"is there anyone who would do the same for you", "if I could be a better mother my life might improve". At some point the reader might chance upon a phrase such as these that they might agree with or reject; thus strenghtening their karma; quite the opposite of relaxation.
It might be worthwhile investing in phrases that do not call upon good or bad. "the wind has settled, the blossoms have fallen", "every year, the ivy vines grow longer than before" (Ryokan)
Thank you for your posts. You gave me very valuable hints which might point me in a better direction. Fotokoan is a quite young project, and, as I said, a work in progress. We are learning more every day. Your advice is always very welcome. Thank you kindly.
For all I know ... did you say?
The temple doors and windows
Falcons dive. Children play.
I found something today:
The Tao is something blurred and indistinct.
How indistinct! How blurred!
Yet within are images.
How blurred! How indistinct!
Yet within are things.
How dim! How confused!
Yet within it is mental power.
Because this power is most true,
Within there is confidence.
Lao-tzu said that.
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