6 Quotes About Being an Artist in Reaching Beyond That Spoke To My Soul

There is a really excellent book called Reaching Beyond: Improvisations on Jazz, Buddhism, and a Joyful Life, and it is a dialogue between the Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda and renowned jazz musicians Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. In the book, the three talk about the history of jazz, the power jazz and other forms of art have to change society for the better and how we as artists can develop ourselves and help encourage others in the process. I have read this book several times to help me get through the struggles of being a musician, and I highly recommend you read this book, no matter your religion or profession. Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from these incredible three individuals:

  1. “I always remember that, even though I play an instrument and perform for people, I am a human being first and a musician second. When I meet people at my concerts, I see them as human beings, and I interact with them as another human being, not as a musician.” (Herbie Hancock, p. 62)
  2. “People have to realize that they are creators themselves and that the vast, endless potential of creativity and responsibility goes hand in hand with discipline. It is incumbent on all of us as individuals to become and work toward being leaders in this process of freedom, structure, creativity, and discipline.” (Wayne Shorter, p. 82)
  3. “Ability, skill, knowledge, and strategy are naturally important for everyone in every field, not to mention working harder than others. But it is the heart that determines, fundamentally, whether we are happy. It is our heart that moves and motivates others at the deepest level. The ultimate force for victory is the heart.” (Daisaku Ikeda, p. 50)
  4. “I don’t want the music to stay complex, like adversity. I want to be able to share with the audience the awesomeness of a music that reflects the brilliance of the sun. I want to be able to share with the audience a performance based on nobility.” (Wayne Shorter, p. 98)
  5. “The path of art is one of endless challenge and continuous creation. Those who arduously train and test themselves, and keep pressing onward along this path–whether or not they achieve fame or popularity–are spiritual victors. Theirs are lives in tune with the universe, transcending the vagaries of public opinion.” (Daisaku Ikeda, p. 68)
  6. “Sometimes people think that when an artist reaches a certain level that’s an endpoint for their development. But the truth is that, just like eternal life, just like the limitless capacity of the human being, an artist has limitless capacity for learning, exploring, evolving, and connecting to all aspect of life. There is no endpoint.” (Herbie Hancock, p. 74)

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