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Zen Art-Ten Oxherding Pictures

Zen art history basically can be likened to the history or essence of all things. Quite simply, because Zen equates to becoming enlightened about oneself, particularly that the true self is the essence of all things, Zen art history is all things.

Zen is a form of Buddhism that developed in China and spread to Japan. Zen focuses on meditation and the main idea that the world is beautiful when one absolves the self of desire. Often likened to an iceberg, almost all of the philosophy in Zen is below the surface. Strong preferences that involve attachment, or desires, are viewed as the principal cause of suffering in life. Perceiving the self as substantial is an illusion, and by shedding this notion and desires, one is liberated and enlightened. Coming from an anti-realist philosophical perspective, Zen philosophy teaches that there is no objectively correct and definitive perspective on anything, i.e. there is no literal truth.

In Zen, the “I” that represents the self is the engine of striving or desire. While many philosophies look to discover the “self”, Zen views the “self” as the core problem to achieving enlightenment “Your self-partiality is at the root of all your illusions. There aren’t any illusions when you don’t have this preference for yourself.” When these illusions are stripped from the individual, he or she is able to understand that their true essence is the essence of everything, as much a flower petal as an ox or a fly or a human being. A good deal of Zen literature comes to us in the form of puzzles, which demonstrate that there is no literal truth or correct solution. Zen literature is also filled with amusing anecdotes and exchanges in order to undermine any attempt at discovering literal truth in anything. As noted in the journal, Philosophy East and West, it promotes “the cultivation of an aesthetic experience that reveals humans as themselves magnificently living works o...

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Zen Art-Ten Oxherding Pictures. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:27, July 01, 2022, from