About the Film
Where does creativity come from? Zen calligraphic painter Alok Hsu Kwang-han proposes that it arises from emptiness, from that silent space that houses the intelligence prior to thought. Armed with rice paper, ink, brush, and a collection of Zen teachings and koans, he unlocks a magical door for his students. According to Alok, he teaches painting “by not teaching painting.” Instead he shows students how to get out of their way, so that “creativity happens on its own.”
Alok is truly a Zen dude and through him we discover the world of Zen. Like a performance artist, he deeply enters this space of silence preparing to paint in front of audiences and groups. Moments later, the crowd delights as his artwork appears before their eyes with a few elegant strokes of the brush.
Alok lives his life very much like he teaches his workshops: remaining open to both beauty and pain, bringing presence and acceptance to whatever arises in front of him and vowing to set endless heartaches to rest. He does it all while invoking a spunky sense of humor that keeps us smiling.
On the verge of his 75th birthday and with a new love in his life, (Raylene Abbott) Alok employs his teachings to confront his own personal history. Through his workshops and his art we share a journey of transformation that becomes possible when we are simply “present, available, playful, and not knowing.” Through Alok we discover that “in a clear heart, no mountain hides the moon.