lost another point of light in photography, John Daido Loori Roshi


this month October we, the world at large, lost another great photographer and teacher. John Daido Loori 1931-2009.

it was my priviledge to have a few conversations with John Daido Loori Roshi zen priest , teacher, photographer and human being.

I’ve only met him a few times in a casual setting, once at a Change Your Mind day sponsored by Tricycle magazine where he was speaking about his Mountains and Rivers order to the assembled buddhist group sitting on the grassy field in central park. i found him to be a very generous man.

i had asked him a question about reincarnation which other buddhist traditions teach and had been brought up earlier that day. as i recall he said that as far as our atoms being released back into the primordial soup to begin again as some other entity that was about all one could expect.i think he respected all creation and i know he fought hard to preserve his sanctuary and woodland around zen mountain for all beings. his art reflected his spiritual life.

john was an artist/photographer who had studied with Minor White i had always wanted to do a workshop at Zen Mountain Monastery with john. but you know how life is, there was always something getting in the way of taking the time for myself either be it work or money but it never came to be. that is one of my regrets in life.

i have all two of his photography books which if you ever get the chance to do buy. they are still in print at the Monastery Store and the one on creativity.

Making Love With Light is a wonderful study of John’s photography, Zen poems and essays.

Hearing With the Eye are photos from Point , California, makes one remember wandering all sorts of beaches

The Zen of Creativity is about John’s insight on creativity and life. not so much about color photography but more on the creative process as a whole.

i’ve linked these to the monastery store because i believe in supporting the teachings that have helped me. i am sure they can be had from amazon books but i’ve never looked for them there.

I’ve never sat at the monastery nor with john. i do belong to other Buddhist groups namely the Insight Meditation Society and New York Insight but Zen teachers have had a large influence on me beginning with Alan Watts and a non buddhist teacher J.Krishnamurti whom i did see give talks in new york way back when. all of their teachings are still available on-line and in printed form.

i have a very good friend who is a member of the Mountains and Rivers sangha whom i talked to as soon as i learned of john’s illness which even though it’s a big part of the teachings imperemance of this world and time his passing did make me sad. it gives me some comfort to know there are good people in the world even though i don’t know them nor see them regularly it’s just nice to realize they are there.

it’s a big part of metta practice and teachings, to know there are other people in this world wishing me happiness and a good life, even though i don’t know them, they are there. i can be connected to then and this world, even though it’s just a ball of mud and water waiting for its time to evaporate and us along with it. we might as well have some fun and laughs along the way and know that we are loved for who we are.

i just wanted to acknowledge my special feelings about john and other people i’ve come across on my path. yes i felt the loss of this lost point of light, but life goes on until it doesn’t.

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4 Responses to “lost another point of light in photography, John Daido Loori Roshi”

  1. marywehrhahn Says:

    A fitting tribute. – Simply stated

  2. lost another point of light in photography, John Daido Loori Roshi … Says:

    [...] Read the original here:  lost another point of light in photography, John Daido Loori Roshi … [...]

  3. Wolvrik Says:

    I had a conversation with him one time down in the dining hall. I just finished sesshin and was leaving for an unknown destination. I had a map out on one of the tables attempting to plot the best route. I was alone in the dining room at the time. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Daido come out of the kitchen. He looked around and noticed me. He was a little hesitant but then he came over to the table and asked me how I was doing. He saw the map an inquired about it. I told him I where I was going he studied the map for a moment and then said tracing the route with his finger, “It’s easy, just go straight!” Now years later I remember his keen insight, and compassion. He could also be hard as nails and demanding at times but always tempered with kindness. Thinking back I can remember other conversations we had which at the time seemed very ordinary but now through the lense of time and insight I understand in a much different way. he was always teaching, always trying to point the way.

  4. Wolvrik Says:

    Just re-reading my comment. It didn’t make much sense when I said I was going to an “unknown” destination. What I meant was I was going to a place I had never been before. Sorry for any confusion.

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