The goal of this project was to catch Zen with photographic means. Now Zen is not an object, nothing learnable. Zen is neither object of conclusive reasons or considerations but only something perceptible through the senses.
Therefore, these pictures can only reflect my personal cognition or my perception of Zen.
As soon as the photographs trigger the beholders feelings like sublime peace, inner serenity or harmony I consider my work as successful.
Lake "Neusiedler See" served as spot for my photos. It's a place at which especially during summer lot's of people lie at the water & perceive that specific moment with all their senses.
The sound that is created by the waves when they hit the poles of the boardwalk or the feeling to be able to deliberately notice
every single, warming sunbeam on the skin, just to mention a few. Being fully absorbed by such moments is well known by all of us and meets my sensation of Zen very well.
During winter, only few people are coming to the lake. However especially at this time, this location spreads magic calm that wants to be absorbed. For sure, I could feel uncomfortable in the wintry cold but with the right approach, every place can be experienced as a wonderful eldorado. – So it was entirely up to me.
Taking the photos, I only focused on the moment. I inhaled the situation. Nothing distracted me in that abandoned area. Just this way, I was able to make myself independent from thinking and so I was simply guided to my motives.
Whenever a subject moved me, I investigated different perspectives for a while.
Doing so the term time lost all meanings. The feeling for time was completely lost and the sense of true being was revealed. At that moment, the only thing that mattered, was taking pictures. This and the totally present approach to the matter made me increasingly keen-eyed.
It was probably what's called the harmonious flow with the all encompassing. – "The unison with the Tao".
In Zen, time only represents something notional and one should neither get stuck in the past nor brood over the future, since in fact there is anyhow nothing to be achieved.
Like time, space is a pure consequence of human mind and thus, to a certain extent, an illusion. Through our thinking, we continuously try to set limits, because we can only keep limited under control.
With my photos, I blew these limitations. Viewing the pictures, you get the impression that space – water and sky – does merge. At best, a subtle
horizon can be detected.
Furter, I literally eliminated the factor time by working with exposures of up to five minutes. For that reason, not a single wave can be defined and everything merges.
Only supposedly stable objects are well defined. However, whatever is apparently stable is again nothing more than an illusion and a consequence of the perceiving consciousness. Therefor it is very appropriate that the fog occasionally covers thes sturctures.
The objects emerge from the rest of the picture, beautifully but at the same time graceful, just like the barriers of concepts of thoughts that we encounter every day and that influence our actions.
Zen is seen as pure experience and therefore not a religion; it is without any smack of any belief.
It is therefore the most independent and direct doctrine. There is nothing to do or learn.
The path of Zen leads to an immediate and instantaneous reception of reality just as it is. Zen is only interested in the real, unadulterated truth in itself.
Therefore, Zen can be regarded the basis of all religions.
All philosophical and religious beliefs are only interpretations of the neurotic mind. It is not necessary to believe in a religious dogma. Rather, each of these teachings pose a danger to the free spirit!
Various teachings & rituals are often means of their own and therefore without any value. Much of the doctrines & systems are just an accumulation of mental hazardous waste and brain acrobatic hypotheses. There is no point in "unwinding" various prayers and formulas or to realize the silence of the spirit.
Zen meditation does not mean that you just sit here, take no notice of anything, and pointless suppress mind and body. Wherever thinking has its practical value, it should be used!
However, many people just want comfort and return from religious gatherings being satisfied. They gather in the hope of being provided a particular teaching. Something to hold on too. All religious and philosophical claims are just like an empty fist held out to a child for fun. – It believes there is something inside.
Zen master Huang-po (9. Jh.): "If you want to become a disciple of the path of Buddha, you do not need to study any theory. All you have to do is to learn how to
avoid looking for anything and clinging to something." Going the wrong path binds you to death and birth.
But if you deal with everything as it turns out, then you will be in perfect harmony with everything.
Zen is the base and summit of all Buddhism. It is the simple and immediate way to escape from being caught in the cycle of birth and death. As soon as you have a teaching, you succumb to exactly this dualistic thinking. But if you free yourself from distinctive thinking (keyword – Ying Yang) there is no beginning and no end. Nothing can be destroyed; nothing can disappear or dissolve, because everything can only be transformed. Zen is about being in harmony with the all-encompassing change in Tao (term for Taoism).
Things are good the way they are and if they are not, it's just as good.
So real people of Zen are not interested in wealth and possession, because if you do not hold onto anything, you cannot lose anything. These things have no meaning to them. It is easy for them to forego things because worldly success is secondary to success in cultivating their own life. They have come to understand that they own things without the things owning them. – Everything is now and here at this moment.
Wherever there is a desire, there is suffering. When the desire ceases, on is free from suffering. Non-desire and freedom from constraint, is the direct path to truth. – There is nothing to achieve.
The physical existence is nothing more than the consequence and illusion of perceiving consciousness. The ultimate goal is not immortality, but unity with the whole. – The wave asks the sea who it – the wave – actually is and the sea answers: "You are me!"
In the "Zen-eye", a pole or footbridge is just as much a manifesto of the highest perfection as a precious Buddha statue and I hope that when looking at the pictures, viewers – if at least for a point of time – will rise up in that very moment and simply grasp the photographs as they are.
For this is the way of direct, instant grasping of reality as it is. Without a goal.
Jörg C. Roggenbauer