The Art of Practice: Samu Defined
Samu means work practice in Zen Buddhist monasteries. It is generally menial work such as cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, sweeping, cutting wood, gardening etc. Monk’s work is not complicated and does not require too much thought. The work benefits the temple and the practitioner and it can be done mindfully as a continuation of sitting practice.
I see my art practice as Samu.
Every piece I make is done mindfully, with calm focused effort, engaged in the moment of creation. My work doesn’t require too much thinking and I consider it a meditation. I designed my practice and my art making efforts as Samu in order to continue my early morning meditation throughout the day and into the evening. I’m a lay practitioner but do everything I can to treat my life as a monastic practice. In this respect, doing dishes is as important and essential to my life as making art. They are one in the same.
This is not such an easy task while raising children, taking care of daily matters surrounding the family, dealing with health insurance, bills, finances; everything. But this is the way and I embrace it wholeheartedly.
The Samu series is the result of the last 10 years of experience in Zen Buddhist practice and art making practice.
The work development began in Beacon, NY after spending time at the Dia: Beacon museum of art several times a week, engaging in Zen Buddhist retreats 3-4 times a year, mindfulness practice and a daily meditation practice. These factors which I consider paramount to my life all combine to inform the Samu series and I am very proud of this body of work that continues to grow and evolve. It is a lifetime practice that I am energized about and look forward to making everyday.