Photo Exhibition Zen and Nature

Photo Exhibition « Zen and Nature » - Maredsous Summer Camp (July 2012)


January, as usual, at the beginning of the year, the secretary of the ABZE asked me : « What are the activties planned for 2012 ? » Outside it was snowing, it was cold, flora and fauna still hibernating for another while.

 That night during zazen an idea occured to me : how about a photo exhibition, based on pictures taken by the sangha on the theme « Zen and Nature », for the Maredsous Summer camp ? ABZE through the Newsletter encouraged the sangha to take part in the project.

Terms were as follows : 4 pictures maximum, either digital or printed on photo paper, and a short a comment. It was also thrilling to find out how the sangha would interpretate « Zen and Nature ». By idealizing it ? By glorifying it ?

Many Zen masters had a profound insight of nature’s phenomena, the moon beeing a representative example. Master Dogen cited plum blossoms in many poems and poetic descriptions, his master Tendo Nyojo also wrote poetic texts about plum blossoms. Master Roland Yuno Rech often mentions phenomena of the nature in his kusen.

The positive feedback at the beginning of the publication of the project made me feel optimistic about the number of people participating in the exhibition.

I received the first pictures from the dojos of Clarence in Switzerland and from Brussels, in Belgium. They were followed by the groups or dojos of : Solingen, Weingarten, Frankfurt, Hambourg, Bonn, Wuppertal, Triest (for Germany), Wavre (Belgium), Torino (Italy), Morogora (Tanzania), Dinan (France) and Basel (Switzerland).

Not only did the pictures glorified nature, but put forward issues like the contradiction between the lack of awareness of many human beings and our dependence on natural resources (eg water).


Most of the digital pictures sent to me were of high quality. The question of how to display them was harder, and how to frame them ? This decision was not only related to financial means, made available by ABZE, but also to the possibilities of finding the right setting in the premises of Mardesous. The person in charge of the organization, Konrad Maquestiau, looked for a room suitable for the exhibition, and we made up our mind on the chapel.

I had to improvise a little to set up an exhibition in a chapel, but in the end, pictures and their comments made this exhibition a success, for the enjoyment of many visitors.

Thank you so much to all of you who helped and made this exhibition possible.

Isolde Schnorbach

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