I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring. -- David Bowie,
Entering my 33rd year of teaching Zen – – as long as Jesus Christ’s whole life-span! – – it seems I am embarking on a new form of expression. Partnered with the unexpected vision of the UK artist, ARMAN RAY, several new Dharma expressions have appeared, in sound and video. Many of you have probably seen this excellent rendering by Arman Ray of my “What is Zen?” video, originally filmed in one take without practice by the acclaimed South Korean photography legend, Kim Yong-Ho himself:
What I appreciate so much about this work, thus far, has been how faithfully ARMAN RAY has taken meaningful sections of my real Dharma talks from YouTube videos, and mixed them with alluring techno rhythms and oral spaces. There is great fidelity to the teaching point, “getting it right“ so effortlessly.
So this has bloomed into an album of 12 songs. And there will be videos for each of the individual songs. I will be releasing them in the coming days, right here on the blog.
And there are also Remixes, longer trancelike versions extended from the inspiration of the original songs. They are truly mesmerizing! Some friends have even tried their hand at videos for the longer remixes. Check out what one student, Dylan, is sending me from his home out in the forests of western Massachusetts right now:
OK, it’s just a few drafts. There are definitely editorial comments I have passed along, too much abrupt transitioning, a lack of unforced naturalness in the flow and the “story“ — the unfolding of nature as Dharma in the head of the Buddha and beyond. But this is a certain direction where the teachings are being expressed, because meanwhile the words are unfolding. Pointing (hopefully) directly back to practice. Through sound and rhythm. Kwan um!
The album (with current Remixes) is here — FREE, with option for downloadable hi-fi versions. All profits support the Zen Center Regensburg rental fund – – no personal enrichment by me whatsoever.
The first “official“ videos from the album will be released in the coming days here on the blog. The music has been forwarded to several Ibiza DJs -– one, apparently an original in-residence Ibiza clubbing-legend there for decades. The other, a young established force active now in Europe… I am curious to see what drivers of this teaching might appear through these possible unrolling collaborations!
I am standing amazed and to be wildered by this new expression. Not being overly grandiose or anything, I hope, but the lines from the “Temple Rules“ come to mind: “Shouting into a valley: big shout, big echo; small shout, small echo.” I am shouting something out into this world, for reasons which are actually grounded in spiritual purpose. I have written about this recently, the roots of my drive to embrace this. (https://blog.mirrorofzen.com/2022/12/16/zen-meets-techno-the-formless-track/) So, those immortal words of David Bowie come to mind: I don’t know where I’m going from here as a meditation teacher/practitioner, but I promise it won’t be boring.
Happy to have you along for the ride. Hopefully there is benefit for sentient beings.