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Wabi-Sabi


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Steve Hydonus
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« on: Aug 30, 2020 04:04 pm »

Wabi-sabi See link at bottom for pictures.
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This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in Japanese.
In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.[2] The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete".[3] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印, sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常, mujō), suffering (苦, ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空, kū).


Zen garden of Ryōan-ji. It was built during the Higashiyama period. The clay wall, which is stained by age with subtle brown and orange tones, reflects sabi, and the rock garden wabi.[1]

A Japanese tea house which reflects the wabi-sabi aesthetic in Kenroku-en (兼六園) Garden

Wabi-sabi tea bowl, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

According to Leonard Koren, wabi-sabi can be described as "the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of what we think of as traditional Japanese beauty. It occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West."[3] Whereas Andrew Juniper notes, "If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi."[4] For Richard Powell, "Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."[5]

The words wabi and sabi do not translate easily. Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society; sabi meant "chill", "lean" or "withered". Around the 14th century these meanings began to change, taking on more positive connotations.[3] Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.

After centuries of incorporating artistic and Buddhist influences from China, wabi-sabi eventually evolved into a distinctly Japanese ideal. Over time, the meanings of wabi and sabi shifted to become more lighthearted and hopeful. Around 700 years ago, particularly among the Japanese nobility, understanding emptiness and imperfection was honored as tantamount to the first step to satori, or enlightenment. In today's Japan, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often condensed to "wisdom in natural simplicity". In art books, it is typically defined as "flawed beauty".[6]

From an engineering or design point of view, wabi may be interpreted as the imperfect quality of any object, due to inevitable limitations in design and construction/manufacture especially with respect to unpredictable or changing usage conditions; then sabi could be interpreted as the aspect of imperfect reliability, or limited mortality of any object, hence the phonological and etymological connection with the Japanese word sabi, to rust (錆, also pronounced sabi). Although the kanji characters for "rust" is not the same sabi (寂) in wabi-sabi, the original spoken word (pre-kanji, yamato-kotoba) is believed to be one and the same.[7][8]


Modern tea vessel made in the wabi-sabi style
A good example of this embodiment may be seen in certain styles of Japanese pottery. In the Japanese tea ceremony, the pottery items used are often rustic and simple-looking, e.g. Hagi ware, with shapes that are not quite symmetrical, and colors or textures that appear to emphasize an unrefined or simple style. In fact, it is up to the knowledge and observational ability of the participant to notice and discern the hidden signs of a truly excellent design or glaze (akin to the appearance of a diamond in the rough). This may be interpreted as a kind of wabi-sabi aesthetic, further confirmed by the way the colour of glazed items is known to change over time as hot water is repeatedly poured into them (sabi) and the fact that tea bowls are often deliberately chipped or nicked at the bottom (wabi), which serves as a kind of signature of the Hagi-yaki style.

Wabi and sabi both suggest sentiments of desolation and solitude. In the Mahayana Buddhist view of the universe, these may be viewed as positive characteristics, representing liberation from a material world and transcendence to a simpler life. Mahayana philosophy itself, however, warns that genuine understanding cannot be achieved through words or language, so accepting wabi-sabi on nonverbal terms may be the most appropriate approach. Simon Brown[9] notes that wabi-sabi describes a means whereby students can learn to live life through the senses and better engage in life as it happens, rather than be caught up in unnecessary thoughts. In this sense wabi-sabi is the material representation of Zen Buddhism. The idea is that being surrounded by natural, changing, unique objects helps us connect to our real world and escape potentially stressful distractions.

In one sense wabi-sabi is a training whereby the student of wabi-sabi learns to find the most basic, natural objects interesting, fascinating and beautiful. Fading autumn leaves would be an example. Wabi-sabi can change our perception of the world to the extent that a chip or crack in a vase makes it more interesting and gives the object greater meditative value. Similarly materials that age such as bare wood, paper and fabric become more interesting as they exhibit changes that can be observed over time.[citation needed]

The wabi and sabi concepts are religious in origin, but actual usage of the words in Japanese is often quite casual because of the syncretic nature of Japanese belief.

In Japanese arts   Edit

Many Japanese arts over the past thousand years have been influenced by Zen and Mahayana philosophy, particularly acceptance and contemplation of the imperfection, constant flux and impermanence of all things. Such arts can exemplify a wabi-sabi aesthetic. Examples include:

Honkyoku (traditional shakuhachi music of wandering Zen monks)
Ikebana (flower arrangement)
Bonsai design features such as snags, deadwood and hollow trunks highlight passage of time and natural cycles. Bonsai are often displayed in fall color or after they have shed leaves seasonally, to admire their bare branches.

Designer Leonard Koren (born 1948) in 1994 published Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers[3] as an examination of wabi-sabi, contrasting it with Western ideals of beauty. According to Penelope Green, Koren's book subsequently "became a talking point for a wasteful culture intent on penitence and a touchstone for designers of all stripes."[10]

Potter Bernard Leach (1887–1979) was deeply influenced by Japanese aesthetics and techniques and founded an influential European aesthetic movement which also included Dame Lucy Rie and Hans Coper.

Some haiku in English adapt the wabi-sabi aesthetic, with spare, minimalist poems that evoke loneliness and transience,[citation needed] such as Nick Virgilio's "autumn twilight:/ the wreath on the door/ lifts in the wind".[11]

The work of American artist John Connell (1940–2009) is centered on the idea of wabi.[12]

Former Stuckist artist and remodernist filmmaker Jesse Richards (born 1975) employs it in nearly all of his work, along with mono no aware.

During the 1990s the concept was borrowed by computer software developers and employed in Agile programming and Wiki to describe acceptance of the state of ongoing imperfection that is the product of these methods.[13]

On 16 March 2009, Marcel Theroux presented "In Search of Wabi Sabi" on BBC Four as part of the channel's Hidden Japan season of programming. Theroux traveled throughout Japan trying to understand the aesthetic tastes of its people, beginning by comically enacting a challenge from the book Living Wabi Sabi by Taro Gold to "ask people on a Tokyo street to describe Wabi Sabi." Theroux showed that, just as Gold predicted, "they will likely give you a polite shrug and explain that Wabi Sabi is simply unexplainable."[14]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi
« Last Edit: Aug 30, 2020 04:10 pm by Steve Hydonus » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: Aug 31, 2020 04:39 am »

hmm... bobby wasabi
i think i found a new alias.  Grin
what inspired this thread friend?
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peace ~ <3
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 31, 2020 12:50 pm »

hmm... bobby wasabi
i think i found a new alias.  Grin
what inspired this thread friend?

What are the characteristics of wabi sabi?
Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

“What inspired this thread?” In becoming we are often led to what we need ( ...and if we have desire for truth and understanding not necessarily what we think we need and want.) So perhaps I have a need to accept things they way they are with all their imperfections.
Reading something I was led to it and it resonated with me.

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But also in the art of Wabi-Sabi. The acceptance of the beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. According to Japanese aesthetics.’

It’s really difficult to know where help and inspiration will come from. And the universe is not confined to help us and advise us from our own view of ourselves nor our own preferences-ideologically speaking- best to let the universe help us in its terms and not our own. That way we can leave behind our own worn out paradigms and prejudice. Who needs to be a sleeper and a psychological antique?

Part of accepting today’s troubled 😟 world and the division in our nation ( United Clones )
Is to recognize even as friends we may have views that polarize our friendship. However since we also have a unifying purpose we need to find novel ways of wisdom in approaching the differences that have manifested. This appears to me to be our dharma Eric. Wabi Sabi is a approach that recognizes things as they are and accepts them.

Where did wabi sabi come from?

Originating in Taoism during China's Song dynasty (960-1279) before being passed onto Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi was originally seen as an austere, restrained form of appreciation.

« Last Edit: Sep 04, 2020 02:15 am by Steve Hydonus » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: Sep 01, 2020 05:53 pm »

hmm... bobby wasabi
i think i found a new alias.  Grin
what inspired this thread friend?

I think we all have to follow through and help our soul grow. Our spiritual muscles atrophy when not used. If they are used we can find help coming from many quarters around us. People may reflect different facets of love all around us. Albeit not perfect or up to our expectations. Nevertheless what we most need. So in that way this idea of beauty found in diamonds in the rough has recently appealed to me. While not holding a critical view somewhere in the wings.. to detract from the the unique expression-although differences may be evident-in those around us who bless our lives.
« Last Edit: Sep 01, 2020 06:03 pm by Steve Hydonus » Report Spam   Logged

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