Inaugural Issue, September 22, 2016


We’re glad you’ve found Leaping Clear, the magazine that brings the arts and literature into focus with contemplative practices. We seek to present contemporary art in many forms by artists from many cultures and backgrounds. Likewise, we look to many contemplative and meditative traditions, from communion with nature to formal religious practices and philosophical reflections. 

Our site’s name, Leaping Clear, is drawn from this phrase—“leaping clear of the many and the one”—from Dōgen Zenji’s poem/text “Genjō Kōan.” In English this title is sometimes translated as "Actualizing the Fundamental Point,” or “The Issue at Hand.” Dōgen lived in 13th CE Japan and practiced as a Zen Master who wrote poems and what might be called today hybrid texts: essays, talks, and lectures with elements of poetic language.

Dōgen, like many artists and contemplatives, helps us to realize that we’re not split into body and mind or you and me; we’re whole and at the same time part of the whole. At any moment, when we attend, we can leap clear—into our embodied experience, into the freshness and abundance of our senses, of our minds, and of our hearts.

Art making and contemplation are ancient human activities that share many qualities. These include concentration, present-moment attention, awareness of change, receptivity to what is new, and patience. Our earliest ancestors were attuned to both the beauty and wonder of the world and their place in it. They sat still in savannas and forests, went deep into caves and high into mountains, and created artifacts that still evoke beauty and wonder. Today, all cultures in all parts of the world continue to cultivate contemplative practices and make art in forms ancient and new.  

The art Leaping Clear presents is deeply intentional; underlying craft, skill, and vision is the commitment to keep looking deeply at what it means to be human.  What is essential? What is valuable? What allows us to find humor, insight, truth, beauty, and deliverance in the incongruities and horrors and beauties of the world?

The work of the artists here points to a wellspring present in each of us: where we taste the wonder of being in the world and with the world in all its complexity, difficulty, joy, and richness. We hope you find their invitations rewarding: to look and listen deeply, to reflect and open with ease. 

Carolyn Dille
Founding Editor