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Lions Roar : November 2016
vivid, and direct experiences. They are moments of clear seeing (or hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching). Learn- ing to recognize and appreciate these moments of sense perception is the first step in practicing contemplative photog- raphy, as flashes of perception become the basis for making images. You can’t fabricate flashes of percep- tion because fabrication is the activity of conceptuality. But you need to make yourself available to these experiences when they naturally arise. You might artistic communication are tremendously enriching. The practice of contemplative photog- raphy makes use of the camera’s sensory- like abilities to help you tune into and communicate the beauty of the sensory world. Unlike living beings, cameras have only one way of seeing: they only make images of visible forms. They are blind to conceptuality. Therefore, you can use the camera to distinguish the two ways of seeing. It reveals when you are seeing clearly and when you are trying to make an image of your concepts. The practice of contemplative photog- raphy can be divided into three steps: 1. RECOGNIZE FLASHES OF PERCEPTION There are natural gaps in the flow of conceptuality. We call these moments “flashes of perception.” At these moments, sensory seeing is dominant and sensory experience just naturally shines through. Flashes of perception are simple, have to let your mind settle a bit, but you don’t need to suppress anything that is arising in your mind. Let thoughts and feelings come and go, and look at the world in a relaxed way. Here’s what recognizing a flash might be like. You’re in the kitchen, and your partner is doing the dishes while you put away the leftovers. Suddenly, you see sunlight from the side window illuminating a bright pat- tern on your partner’s back. You notice the colorful fabric of your partner’s fleece. 2. DISCERN THE QUALITIES OF THE PERCEPTION To communicate what you see powerfully and accurately, you need to be able to rest with the perception and not get diverted into conceptuality. Visual discernment, the second step in the practice of con- templative photography, is how you stay in the sensory mode by resting with the perception in an inquisitive way, without clinging to what you see. Having seen the surprising richness meditation cushions Buddhist statues incense and malas dharma books and audio Mountain Record journal 845.688.7993 • monasterystore.org •