Individual prints free to download

I have spent the last few years fascinated by Koans, Zen Buddhism and collecting Buddhist books. Many Koans and Zen quotations seem, at first, pointless. However, they have a habit of drifting back into your mind and forcing you to think in a new way. I have learnt to stop trying to make sense of them and now allow them to be formless and not deeply analytical. I just meditate upon them without engaging logic. This has led me to start using them as a starting point for painting. My response is now a form of non representational thinking. The paintings are a simple emotional response, and like the Koan, do not demand an explanation. They are what they are. I realise I should not be influencing anyones response to a Koan, but maybe my paintings show that their influence need only be a mood or feeling, captured in my case by a colour.

Mike Heseltine

Koans that inspired the book:

The Delicious Strawberry Koan
Cow Dung Koan
Muddy Road Koan
The Moon Cannot be Stolen Koan
Cup of Tea Koan
Nothingness Koan by Lao Tzu
Is That So Koan
The Giver Should be Thankful
Time to Die Koan
The Lost Keys Koan
Trying to do, Koan

Letting Go

Waiting for the Sea Eagle

Possessions can own us
The moon cannot be stolen

An Owl Hovered above Us
Tiger and strawberry buddhist story

The Giver should be Grateful
giver should be thankfull

Die before you Die

Witness your Thoughts
witness your thoughts buddhism

Everything is Possible

enlightenment painting


Creativity begins within Nothing
keichus wheel

Possessions can own us
The moon cannot be stolen


Mike Heseltine has been a professional artist for 30 years with paintings in collections worldwide. He currently lives in Scotland and is focused upon illustrating Zen Buddhist Koans, stories and proverbs. This has taken him into pure abstract work, in an attempt to create images that capture sensations and emotions that we feel when our minds our still and without thoughts.

This book was begun with the intention of producing one copy for his children as a guide to his spiritual interests, for them to follow if they wished to do so. Friends and family encouraged him to make the book more widely available. The contemplation of Koans and Zen Proverbs through abstract painting is a useful one, as it steers away from attempts to have analytical discussions or logical conclusions. Instead, it enters the world of non representational thought and echoes the Koans own paradoxical nature. The paintings have no specific meaning, no profound message or ability to provide spiritual answers. Instead they are just a personal response to the feelings and sensations experienced whilst having a still mind. Their subsequent value to the viewer may be in the way they capture a glimpse of having no thoughts. There is nothing to write about them, no description required, they are just what they are. If this is accepted, they can help the viewer enter a state of being totally present in the moment, without thoughts to distract one. Acceptance of what is, without the need for analytical thoughts, conflict or explanations, is a path towards deeper happiness.

If you wish to contact Mike Heseltine, please write an email address.... . Thank you.