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Throughout his life and career as a Zen teacher, John Daido Loori, Roshi used photography as a means of self-exploration and as a medium to
present spiritual truths. His photographs, like those of his mentor
Minor White, point to the realms beyond the visible world, calling us to
explore the mystical dimension of reality. Created as visual koans and
steeped in the artist’s appreciation of nature, these images are
evocative and multi-dimensional – inviting participation and completion
by the viewer. Full of vulnerability, fearlessness and playful spirit,
they form doorways into startling universes and unresolved mysteries,
offering a unique portrait of the world advancing towards the lens, eye
and heart, a world that is always teaching and revealing.
Loori began his work in photography when he was a child, and his love
for and practice of this art form has continued throughout his life. He
studied extensively with Minor White before beginning his career as a
professional photographer, which has included the organizing and
directing of two galleries and exhibiting in over 80 shows. His work has
been published in books, magazines and leading photography journals
such as Aperture and Time-Life Photography. His book Making Love With
Light is filled with magnificent photographs of nature. His documentary
works and art videos interweave poetry, music and visual imagery. His
recent Mountains and Rivers video was winner of the Gold Award at the
1997 WorldFest Charleston International Film Festival. John Daido Loori
was the Abbot and spiritual leader of Zen Mountain Monastery
(www.mro.org) in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where he integrated his background as a scientist, artist, and naturalist with his
In October 2009, he stepped down as abbot citing health issues. Days later, Zen Mountain Monastery announced that his death was imminent. On October 9, 2009, at 7:30 a.m. he died of lung cancer in Mount Tremper, New York.
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