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Long Strange JourneyOn Modern Zen, Zen Art, and Other Predicaments$
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Gregory P. A. Levine

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824858056

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824858056.001.0001

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Introduction: Walking the Zen-Scape

Introduction: Walking the Zen-Scape

(p.1) Introduction: Walking the Zen-Scape
Long Strange Journey

Gregory P. A. Levine

University of Hawai'i Press

The Introduction points to the term Zen’s remarkable lexical adaptability and the striking, and sometimes unruly, social, political, and even etheogenic dimensions of Zen’s spread in the modern-contemporary world. It points to recurring categories of Zen art that draw attention (while obscuring others), including “Zen circles,” Zen gardens, and the “Splashed ink” landscapes of the premodern painter Sesshū. It explores efforts undertaken by Japanese lay Zen Buddhists and other Zen authorities to define Zen and categorize Zen practitioners, and it sets out for examination modern notions of “Zen art” and “Zen artists.” The postwar “Zen-scape,” it turns out, could be a rather rough space to venture into, with competing discourses on Zen’s promise or peril for the modern world. The Introduction maps some of these discourses and situates the author among the multiple constituencies drawn to Zen’s diverse modern-contemporary forms.

Keywords:   lay Buddhists, Sesshū, splashed ink, Zen artist, Zen circles, Zen garden

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