A workshop in contemplative art appreciation with Frank De Waele Roshi

‘See with your eyes, hear with your ears. Nothing is hidden.’

Tenkei Denson

‘Ni intelligence, ni conscience, rien que regarder et sentir.’

Marcel Duchamp


Looking at art is a spiritual practice.
The age-old and intimate engagement of Zen Buddhism with the arts invites us specifically to envision ‘contemplating art’ as a Zen practice par excellence.

Just like Zen, art appreciation engenders an awareness in which the hard separation between subject and object softens. We outgrow a dualistic “illustration reading”.

True seeing implies an opening up to ‘groundlessness’. As a meditation, we are empowered to disidentify with preconceived ideas, habitual judgments or inherited standards.

In contemplating art we also trust our innate ability to resonate with truthfulness.  We refrain for instance from hiding behind art historical knowledge or behind a supposed lack thereof.

As in Zen spirituality, seeing art calls us to reappraise language as a tool to
own and integrate our inner experience.

Ultimately, art contemplation opens us up to a total body-mind experience. As we engage with all our senses and physicality, we remember our embodied relation to lived space. As in Zen.

In this inspirational workshop, we explore together the differences between looking, observing and seeing. Through instructions and exercises, we will train a new, non-dual way of perceiving and learn to apply it.

In the end, we will just see great art and have fun!

The day has two parts. In the morning we will meditate in the zendo, receive instructions and practice visual exercises. After lunch, we go to the Tate Modern for an interactive visit (of a part of the collection). There, we first apply individually the ‘devotional seeing’ we’ve learned. Then a group process in the museum is facilitated in which we share together.

museum visit crop


Frank De Waele Roshi will be leading and facilitating the ‘Seeing Through Zen’ workshop. He is a Zen teacher in the White Plum Zen line of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi and is a dharma successor of Genno Roshi and Bernie Glassman. He lives in Belgium and works full time as the of his community, the Zen Sangha.

Drawing on his experience as an artist and art guide, Frank Roshi will offer clear and precise instructions in looking at art and share his meditative and art historical expertise.


Saturday, November 24th

7 – 9pm                    zazen & dharma offering

Sunday, November 25th

9am                          zazen

10.10am                   break

10.30am                   zazen

10.50am                   teisho & practices on seeing

12.15am                   lunch

1pm                           travel to Tate Modern

2pm                            individual visit

2.50pm                      group visit

4.30pm                      closing of the day


The schedule is subject to change. The cost for the day is £25 and for the evening we ask for donations.

The Zendo is a moments’ walk from Richmond train station. Please contact Carole Tonkinson or Tania Turner for registration. We will ask for payment at registration as places are limited.

New Year’s sitting day

Welcome everyone and Happy New Year!

We are hosting a day of practice, led by Tania Turner, on January 7, 2017. Join us to learn how to meditate or deepen your practice.

Everybody is welcome to join our supportive small group environment for the day.

If you haven’t done any meditation practice before we can give you simple instruction to support you.

Looking forward to seeing you there!