I think that that's why artists make art - it is difficult to put into words unless you are a poet. Zen teaches that once we can open up to the inevitability of our demise, we can begin to transform that situation and lighten up about it.
Whether you are a genius or an idiot, a thief or, like me, a Zen priest who has cultivated the mind for 30 years - the mind anyway is subject to conditions. I try to find 15 minutes a day to just be alone without any distractions just for headspace to meditate and get my Zen on. Inspiration comes from everything from the entire world, and it's hard to pinpoint one thing. Regardless of what you want to call it, guys need some type of spirituality they can grab onto.
Fighting for one's freedom, struggling towards being free, is like struggling to be a poet or a good Christian or a good Jew or a good Muslim or good Zen Buddhist.
I've been studying the cultures of Asia for many years, and I'm very attracted to the culture of Japan, in particular to the impact Zen has had on the Japanese mind and spirit. I work out because that's my job, but what I enjoy about it, beyond the vanity, is the Zen of it. In Japanese art, space assumed a dominant role and its position was strengthened by Zen concepts. What I would say to filmmakers, if I may be so bold or so arrogant, is to draw inspiration from other filmmakers, but go to the place in your own gut where everything is nothing. I think any spiritual experience that's worthwhile is not about ego and it will humble you in some way. There are things that I value now that I didn't when I first went over there, like Zen Buddhism, which has become part of my life over the last couple years.


There's something Zen-like about the way I work - it's like raking gravel in a Zen Buddhist garden. I would have thought that I would have become one of those parents - just because it's my nature to be such a perfectionist - that anything falling short, I would have seen as a failure.
Green politics at its worst amounts to a sort of Zen fascism; less extreme, it denounces growth and seeks to stop the world so that we can all get off. If you study the writings of the mystics, you will always find things in them that appear to be paradoxes, as in Zen, particularly. Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I've practiced, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity.
I kind of turn it over to the universe and figure, 'Wow, I guess that wasn't meant to be.' It doesn't sit with me. It allows us to find the extremes in those things we really care about, whether that means great coffee, jeans cut wide across the hips, or a spouse who shares your zeal for mountaineering, Zen meditation, and science fiction. I think that helps me get through the hecticness of the day on tour with the interviews, the sound check, the meet and greets, the show and the post-show meet and greets. I can trace one inspiration to the writing of 13th-century Zen master Dogen Zenji, who writes beautifully about time. You work all day long and achieve some kind of level of success by nightfall, go to sleep and wake up the next morning with the job still to be done. For me, it's important to meditate every morning to be very clear in the head, and nature really helps me do the same thing. That's a very Zen thing to say, but that place of nothing is where real creativity comes out of. But the contemplation of that riddle - even though it cannot be solved - is, in itself, transformative.


But a photograph taken from any one point will not show, well it shows a rectangle, but not with ninety degree angles.
The best way of starting a gig is just to not think of anything - to clear your mind, not in an empty Zen state, but more just to go on and see where you go. But something has happened to me over the past few years - it's not Zen, believe me, I'm not at all Zen - but I'm so appreciative of even the chaos. If you talk about it, you are always lying, and if you don't talk about it, no one knows it is there. I try to achieve emptiness as much as possible - the Zen thing - to let the deal come out of that nothing.
I feel that I should retreat into a better form of Zen Buddhism than this kind of ego-dominated thing.
I don't mean to sound Zen, but genuinely, when I stopped competing with anything is when I started enjoying my work, and that brought out the best in me.
And to know that, if you're thinking of anything else, you're not working intensely enough. After I've done something that I'm really proud of and I think changes the way I'm perceived, the immediate reaction is: nothing. But I don't know, I mean, I want to come back as a tree but I suspect that it's just not going to happen, is it? It's not about winning first place but bringing every element of effort to whatever you do.




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