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fotokoan.com

fotokoan.com

Postby fotokoan on Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:34 am

fotokoan.com

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.

You may have noticed that fotokoan.com is void of any kind of advertising. we do not collect any data about users. we do not use cookies, and we do not track what users do on this website. our images and phrases are carefully selected to obtain the best possible effect. if you would like to support our work your participation would be very helpful.

If you have questions, please send us an email: mail@fotokoan.com

There is a video to show how it works: https://youtu.be/MxU9IPrd4uo
Please tell us what you think about fotokoan.com

Thank you.
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby Meido on Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:36 pm

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:

When Bodhidharma came from the West bringing the Zen transmission to China, he didn't set up written or spoken formulations - he only pointed directly to the human mind.

If we speak of direct pointing, this just refers to what is inherent in everyone: the whole essence appears responsively from within the shell of ignorance. This is no different in ordinary people than in all the sages since time immemorial. It is what we call the natural, real, inherent nature; fundamentally pure, luminous and sublime. It swallows up and spits out all of space. It is a single solid realm that stands out alone, free of the senses and their objects.

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. It is like letting go when you are hanging from a mile-high cliff, releasing your body and not relying on anything anymore.

Totally shed the obstructions of views and understanding, so that you are like a person who has died the great death. Your breath is cut off, and you arrive at great cessation and great rest on the fundamental ground. Your sense faculties have no inkling of this, and your consciousness and perceptions and sentiments and thoughts do not reach this far.

After that, in the cold ashes of the dead fire, it is clear everywhere, and among the stumps of the dead trees everything is illuminated. Then you merge with solitary transcendence and reach unapproachable heights. You don't have to seek mind or seek buddha anymore: you bump into them wherever you go, and they do not come from outside.

The hundreds and thousands of aspects and facets of enlightenment since time immemorial are just this. This is mind: there is no need to go on seeking mind. This is buddha: why keep struggling to seek buddha?

If you make slogans based on words and sprout interpretations based on objects, then you fall into the bag of antique curios, and you will never be able to find this true realm of absolute awareness beyond sentiments.

At this stage you are free to go forward in the wild fields without choosing, picking up whatever comes to hand: the meaning of the ancestral teachers is clear in all that grows there. What's more, the thickets of green bamboo and the masses of yellow flowers and the fences and walls and tiles and pebbles are inanimate things teaching the Dharma. The water birds and the groves of trees expound the truths of suffering, emptiness, and selflessness. Based on one true reality, they extend objectless compassion, and from the great jewel light of nirvana they reveal uncontrived, surpassingly wondrous powers.

Changqing said, "When you meet a companion on the Path, stand shoulder to shoulder and go on: then your lifetime task of learning will be completed."

[Excerpted from Zen Letters - Teachings of Yuanwu; translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary]
明道禅徹
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
http://rinzaiheartland.blogspot.com
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby fotokoan on Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:53 pm

O Meido-san

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!
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby Meido on Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:14 pm

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.

~ Meido
明道禅徹
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
http://rinzaiheartland.blogspot.com
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby macdougdoug on Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:41 pm

Howdy,

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)
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby Caodemarte on Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:04 pm

The use of words like "koan" and so forth unfortunately give the impression that this is some kind of pop Zen or abuse of Buddhism whatever the real intent. It will thus alienate many potential users.
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby fotokoan on Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:41 pm

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.
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby [james] on Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:08 pm

macdougdoug wrote:It might be worthwhile investing in phrases that do not call upon good or bad.


For all I know ... did you say?
..........................
Every wave
..........................
The temple doors and windows
..........................
Falcons dive. Children play.
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby fotokoan on Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:09 pm

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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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby organizational on Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:29 pm

Would you like to read about some?

Galileo Galilei

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

_/\_

org.,
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby fotokoan on Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:48 pm


I dearly wish I knew what you are talking about. Sorry :peace:
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Re: fotokoan.com

Postby organizational on Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:01 pm

fotokoan wrote:

I dearly wish I knew what you are talking about. Sorry :peace:


Always different
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