Suchness – How is Your Subject Different?


Often times the word “suchness” or “Isness” is quoted in writings about the Zen arts.  And what does suchness mean?

Suchness is what characterizes the subject’s uniqueness among other scenes or similar subjects.  This may not be one characteristic but more likely several characteristics which distinguish it from another.  A landscape has suchness as does a bowl, vase of flowers, person or any object.

Suchness is what is actually taking place at the moment of your interaction with the subject.  It is a statement being communicated by the subject at this very moment as it is in all its completeness, in this instant of reality.

Suchness is about the object speaking to you and saying “Here I am, in this moment in time, I occupy this space for now.”  “I have a right to be here, please recognize me for my uniqueness.”

My painting above of a beach cabin near my father’s house was done many years ago before my study of the Zen arts.  I would do it differently now yet believe it shows the suchness of the place.  The cabin makes a statement saying “I am here!”

Does your artwork communicate the “isness” or “suchness” of your subject?


4 thoughts on “Suchness – How is Your Subject Different?

  1. Not sure there is such a word as “suchness” in the moment, a dialogue with energies,
    inspiration and letting go of preconceptions. Suchness seems the opposite of letting, really letting go.


    • Yes, definitely a letting go of preconceptions certainly.and a recognition of the presence of that unique object. Thanks for your feedback 🙂


    • Thank you David,that is true, I guess that was the way I saw the cabin at that time. Sometimes we need a gentle reminder of such things! 🙂


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