Yoshizen's Blog

根性悪い?

最近、このブログの『ヨシ禅縁起』なる古いポストに加筆をしたのだが、それを目ざとく見付けた人が「お宅本当に根性悪いなァ、40年も前の話に末だ恨みを抱ている訳?」と言って来た。  実を言うと40年に渡りこだわっているのでは無く, ふとその男が山で初日から下山するまで徹底して暴風雨に痛めつけられたという話をNetに書いていたのを見て 因果応報という言葉を思出したからに外ならない。 で、この場合、何が「因」なのかを辿ると昔のエピソードに戻るという訳だ。 この男の場合滑落して死んでいても不思議は無かったのだが、死体を運んで長い雪道を歩かされてはこちらが迷惑。---まァ雪盲あたりが妥当な応報だったのだろう。   

「まるで仏教者らしからぬ言葉ですね」と言うので「仏教が底無しの慈悲などを語っていると思っていたらひどい誤解で 釈尊自身、人を殺しかねない程の厳しさで教えを施していたのです。 つまりそれは甘い慈悲などと言うものではなく本人自身で答を見つける為の鍵でしかなかった。 しかも三回教えても見込無しとなったら、それまでとつっ放されていたのです。 慈悲とか極樂を語っていたら、それは釈尊の教えとは何の関係もありません。何が真実かが問題なのです」 

つまる所誰もが己れの持って生れた運命を生きて行かねばならない訳で、その男が「唯物論はその状況での自由撰択を取るだけで運命などナンセンス」と言うのは自由だが、死にそこなう程の暴風雨は現実に有無なくやってくる。 で、何故かそう言う時に山に出掛ける人が居るフシギ ???    これを運命とか巡り合せと呼ぶのですが本人、自覚していないから避ける事もできない。ーーー 因果応報の不思議な所はそれがー見何の関係も脈絡も無い所に出る事で、当事者は単なる事故と思っていても, 改めて考てみると自分の血筋は根絶やしになっていたと言う調子で、それがいかなるメカニズムで機能しているのかまるで不可解。ーーー こうした超常現象がマインドパワー(念力、怨念)で働いていると言う説も有りますが、その割に丑の刻参りの効果が無いというのも周知の事実。 

そもそも応報とは人間の思念に関りなく “天”が決裁して断罪するものなのです。 そこには普遍かつ永久不変、客観的に成立している善悪の基準が在り、イデオロギーや聖書とかの解釈やイケニエの量で適当に変る西欧流の“正義”とは完璧に異った倫理空間が形成されています。 それが東洋で天とか神と呼ばれているもので、人々が現象の背後に実感している力(パワー)に外なりません。   (ほれ、昔から「神様の罰が当ると言うでしょう」) 笑

 *****  別の意見によると、これが書かれたのが 13日の金曜日というのが怖いそうだ。(おヤ、そんな事には気がつかなかったが、しかしどうしてそうなるのかね?) 笑

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Higan-bana — 彼岸花

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In Japan, a week around the Equinox were called O-Higan (both spring and the autumn Higan)  They are the Buddhism originated (some says, Pureland-sect originated but others says that they were originated even older Primitive belief to respect the past dead) 1500 years old tradition.  Because it is such old tradition, people’s customs are deviated a bit, region to region or each persuasion still, somewhat common practice among the traditionalist were = make small decoration of offerings to the returning soul and offer a chanting of the mantra by a priest. (Both Equinox were made national holiday, so, they made a good excuse for some (like me) to escape to the mountain.) 

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Something strange is, on the time of the Autumn Equinox, a particular flower called Higan-bana open their flowers.  This flower suddenly shoot up its flowering  stem and within a week, they will make a full bloom of their very distinctive red flowers. —– In the west, they seemed to be called Red Spider Lilly ( Ricoris radiata / Amarylliaceae) though I’ve never seen her in this country.   Because of her peculiar character, there are many funny belief, which make up the spooky, sinister stories.  Further more, this plant is poisonous hence repel the rat, mole = together with sinister belief, she is most commonly found in a grave yard and the edge of the rice field. (to protect the field = rat or mole won’t dig a hole where the root of this plant spread.)   When you encounter her in a field, well may be you will feel a shock, —– and convince that the myth “under her, there is a dead body” must be true !

When this flower is blooming, there is no leaves = they come out after the flower finished — hence, she carry the message “Never see you again”. And it created the Chinese name and a myth = Chinese name Manju Shage came from the name of the boy, Manju 曼珠who was the leaf, and the Shage沙华, she was the flower.  They never able to see each other in this world but get together in the Heaven. —– (I guess, they are immune to each other’s poison. )

PS :  Photos above were taken by my friend at the famous Higan-bana Flower spot of meandering Koma-rever bank in Saitama prf; where 5 million flowers are blooming every year.  Last week, even our Emperor walked down there to appreciate the flowers.

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Ideally ~~~~ or Typical

Think, about your own life, — how can it be “Ideally” re-organized.    Then think about how is your typical daily life ?  —– In either case you may need to think quite deep.

—– So, how about, can you imagine “Typical Buddhist” or “typical Muslim man” ? You may say that you don’t know about them deep enough, or you might draw an image of a caricature = funny exaggeration based on the popular stereotype.   As those Notion of Ideal, or Typical kind were artificially created abstract notions for the convenience of communication or try to show how I am intelligent, they never represent a reality.    Real truth is always stays few steps behind of “Ideal” or “Typical” —– and we all know it.

So, the obvious FACT is, what so ever the imagination you have made-up here just now, in the actual daily life, you ARE just carry on your same old daily Life = You must be realized here, extreme or exaggerated idea came up when you INTENTIONALLY THINK = otherwise you are not having such image or notion = In a real daily life, you ARE living without any artificial conscious of “I AM carrying out my living operation”.  —– As a matter of FACT, while reading this blog, you are even NOT aware of YOU are reading this.   While away from intentional thinking, we ARE naturally following the way of the commonsense or what the Buddhists call Dharma.  Of which we unconsciously follow.

This IS what all about of SELFLESSNESS, and the real situation of the Middle way. (Both extreme were created by the intentional thinking = live without such thinking  (Selfless Mushin)  we can follow the Dharma and it IS the very Middle Way.

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Throw a stone

The words here “Throw a stone” is a metaphor or a symbol indicating that there is a meaning behind of such action — in Zen term, a Direct Transmission.  Why Direct Transmission ? — Because the words couldn’t convey the meaning behind or such meaning would be lost if it was expressed in the words. 

After many years, I suddenly realized that Lord Buddha never spoken about the Concept or the Idea conceived in the mind other than in the metaphoric stories.  His teachings were doing or show what or how to do.  And never explained what its action for or meanings of it.  So that, the Disciples were guessing or making their own interpretation if not their own understanding. —– The most of the scriptures were such kind of interpretations or guess-works and very little real teachings of Buddha was recorded because of very few could manage to catch the meaning behind, let alone describe them in the scripture.  (So that, the Buddhism has been surrounded by the mountain of buzz-words created by a superficial capturing such as Selfless, No-thinking, Mushin, Dedication, Self-sacrifice, Detauchment, No-greed, No-emotion, No-fear, Mindfulness, Middle way, — etc etc.)

In deed, Lord Buddha didn’t teach  the meaning or the intention behind of his teachings.  BECAUSE to explain such meaning WILL destroy the teaching itself. (It was recorded in the scripture typically as “Unanswered Questions” =  the abstract, imaginary notions such as an idea of  SELF or theoretical existence like an Infinity, were completely ignored by him.)

—– Do something, JUST do something without do other than DO, = such as to take a bicycle and ride, and go shopping.  When you do such riding, you ARE not thinking how to ride, how to push the feet or take a balance = because, you do it without any conscious “Let alone any conscious of I’m DOING the bicycle ride” = In fact, you ARE doing it without your SELF.  AS this IS the evidence of that the SELF IS not exists, and the idea of the SELF was a creation of your conscious or IMAGINATION.  Since the SELF is not exists, the notion or its word is not exists either (in other words, they were INTENTIONALY created to deal with those notion.) = Therefore, it IS not possible to explain the idea of “There is no SELF” = you can’t explain this without using the notion or the word SELF other than you yourself realize that you ARE riding the bicycle without the conscious of SELF.  Lord Buddha taught his followers to learn it through the action (or a kind of repeating practice — mind you there wasn’t a bicycle then.  😀 ) —– still, how his teachings was successful or succeeded was quite questionable = AND as he was aware of it, he had to leave the very last words “Don’t take the other’s words, learn it by YOURSELF” —– The history of the Buddhism showed nothing but the silly misunderstanding or more precisely the lack of understanding among the followers since then.   (I’ll show it with the most typical sample of “Middle way” in the next post.)

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Void and Middle way (2)

As I wrote on the beginning of the previous post, that the Matter all about Buddhism is The Mind.  

But, on this moment, forget about whether the Mind exists or not, can it remain after the death or not, kind of argument. (It seemed, that the writer of Mahayana scriptures made the matter too grand and ostentatious — don’t exaggerate too much. (= It’s a bad habit of the Indian scholar)  It’s just the matter of the Mind and Heart Sir.)  So, just think of your own Mind. We all know, that there are two kind of mind in our brain.   One feels and often perplexed in a depth of our mind (often called your Heart) and the other is thinking a logical answer while giving complicated consideration or justifying excuse.    The former was generated from the old part of the brain, called Lymbic system.   And the other from the brain’s new cortex.   Sound strange though, the neuro scientist found that we are first thinking deep in our subconscious, then convert it to cognitive (in lexical) form second later.   So, technically, the former can be the first impression or your feeling and the later is the Second thought or Consideration.  This mechanism appeared when we see, hear, taste — 5 senses = feel it, then categorize, name it or describe it.  So, this Second thought has been given a Consideration (while referring to the data-bank)  or Judgement whether it was for an answer of Yes or No = like, you have seen it or didn’t see it.

—– But here is a trouble, you might have thought, that you saw it — Did you ?   How you ARE shure.  Even if it was there, next moment, the projector was switched off or changed to the next image or the person is dead.   So, the Buddhism advise you, don’t cling your thought or hard judgement of Yes or No.  Leave the matter to your first impression.   Neither Yes or No, but your intuitive observation = This IS the Middle way.  Not between the Yes or NO, but your own initial intuition.   Because the whole Dharma is moving and keep changing = try to define it in a fixed form is nothing but the our delusion, since the Dharma itself IS VOID.  In fact we too.  (Though, I wouldn’t guaranty your debt disappear on the next moment or your wife let you free tomorrow.  —– World may look the same. 

So, don’t ask me what is the point to become a Buddhist.     😀   )

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What is VOID and Middle way

What all about Buddhism, the matter is “How our Mind works” no more no less. 

To Lord Buddha himself, its source was our mind itself.  Lord Buddha observed the activity and its tendency of his own mind, and the mind of the others as well.  But, priory to the matter of Mind, Lord Buddha discovered the mechanism of the Dharma, and its entwined activity of the Karma.  In the first glance, the Mind looked work in the same principle of the Karma though, there are some peculiar tendency in the activity of the Mind.  Generally, the Dharma works according to the mechanism of the Karma, though, the Mind does not necessary follow the Karma. 

When we see, the Mind may see but may not see.  Seeing and recognise it, is not the same activity.  Even if we didn’t see, we may still recognise it.  Its mean, the existences of the Dharma may be the same.  It may be there but may not be there.  The constant change in the moment to moment makes the situation even worse.  We can define, it’s there or it’s not there though, the truth seems not the matter of what we define still, we know the state of it by our intuition or subconsciousness = It’s there as it is.  But, we can not see this cognition, because it is in our dark subconscious = it’s there but not there.  Therefore, the form is no different from the Void.  Void is no different from the form.  See the world in this eyes, is the Middle way.  And because the world is exists in this way, It IS the VOID.   

The meaning of the night walk described in the post “Test of selflessness” was —– The followers followed Lord Buddha without ask why or what for = without having any lexical cognition.  Completely Selfless and Open minded = not imposing their own definition or seek an answer but accept the situation (walk on the rainy night) as it is = without going into the mind-game / Why,  but just take a walk —– This selfless mind is in the Middle way and accept the Dharma in such a way is to see its Void.  To gain the eyes of middle way, the followers became free from the wrong idea and start to see and live as the own (as it is).   To be as the own mean to be with Dharma. 

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Maha Kashyapa

Among the Lord Buddha’s disciples, Maha Kashypa was reputed to be the foremost prominent thus influential one, though, I have a strong suspicion that the stories of such prominence might be created and put by himself.  The reason why influential was not necessary he was respected but just bossy pussy attitude (even worse he was very assertive with a kind of logical argument and good at that = hence others might have just gave up and let him chose = therefore the result looked like “He was dominant”)  And being as an ascetic himself, he laid down a lords of rules to the Sangha (follower’s co-living community). (He was the one against the woman to join the Sangha.)

To check the spelling of Maha Kashyapa, I googled its name and realized that in Hindu, Maha Kashyapa was also named as one of their prominent sage. —– In fact, in Vedic history, Maha Kashyapa was quite a familiar name appeared in many times from ancient Rigveda, Upanishad time = in other words, it’s indicate that many different Maha Kashyapa may have been existed.  Yet still, what was known to be “Maha Kashyapa who was a disciple of Lord Buddha”, an ascetics, a son of Brahman, good in a theoretical argument.    Then, organised the first council gathering to sort out what to keep the teachings in the oral tradition.  —– If the person, Maha Kashyapa in Buddhism and in Hindu was the same person, many questions of mixed-up of Hindu into Buddhism could be answered.  

If MK in the Buddhism history was in deed the same person who was regarded as Hindu sage, it is easy to see why such strong influences came into the Buddhism tradition especially in the Theravada sect.  If he lead the council and filtered out what to keep and what to reject among the memories of the Lord Buddha’s teachings, it was easy to understand that MK’s opinion and strong arguments must be heavily biased the final outcome.  And that might be also the reason, why he was depicted to the side of Lord Buddha (alongside of Ananda) despite he was in fact a Hindu = he must be manoeuvred into the position.  (Others just didn’t want to argue with him.  As he was an awkward noisy claimant kind of the person. )

The author of the scripture in the later date had no way to know those facts and the false stories were just stayed on.  (Such as “Pick a flower and smiled Sutra” of which Maha Kashyapa became the person to receive the “Direct transmission of teachings from Lord Buddha” might be an utter fabrications. — any how this scripture was written in China 600 years later = No Pari or Sanskrit original was ever existed.) 

= So, in those stories in the scriptures, there could be lords of fancy tales.   😀  

When I read through Agama, only those two episode caught my eyes =  My intuition told me Yes this is it.   They gave me the key to decipher what the teachings of Lord Buddha was.  (Crucial key was that, even Ananda was not told the intention of the teachings = Avoid the lexical understanding = The mentality to just follow and DO was the matter. — That was What Void, and the Middle way mean )  It’s mean, a kind of approach, arguing, logically perswading, convincing = Maha Kashyapa type is the out of sort.  —– So, why he was chosen to play a role in the Flower Sermon story was absolutely puzzling !   (It’s mean the author who couldn’t read the mind making up the story ! )

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Yellow robe

While browsing the net, I found a very interesting suggestion which was saying that the reason why Buddhist monk wear the yellow robe.  It was that the early sangha of the Buddhists were literally the Bhikku (= beggar) who forsaken all the possessions, family, relations, everything and live on the generosity given by the people.  So, to stay in absolutely humble and show having no desire or Ego was their must.  

But, whether the person was really living in a mind of void is difficult to know.  And, it is difficult to see other’s state of the mind let alone to know the spiritual level of the person.   Of course, no one can tell that “I am in such advanced level” because it IS nothing but to expose how arrogant and silly the person is. 

Instead, the bhikku emulate each other while wearing the cloth picked up from a rubbish dump.   Those cloths were heavily soiled and even after washed and washed they were dirty yellowish brown (there wasn’t a vio washing powder then.   😀 ) — so, the bhikku were competing with others, by showing off “I’m more humble than you as I’m wearing more soiled cloth and this is the proof of my mind is completely free from any self-conscious Ego”—– ( It seemed this tradition was started by an ascetic Maha Kashyapa = thence he was always depicted wearing dark brown. — While  Lord Buddha himself, and Ananda etc were wearing white = donated new cloth)  —– So, to wear a dirty colored cloth became a symbol of the monk’s humbleness, selflessness and became the symbol to be a Buddhist — later on, when the monk became fulltime staff of the rich temple and even the cloth became a richly died with expensive turmeric, the yellow robe was kept as a tradition. (But further down east, like in China and in Japan, the lowest monk wear black which was a discarded ordinary cloth dipped into black ink (in its original form), not expensive turmeric yellow.   😀    Now, just buy a black Kimono would be cheaper than the cost of an ink for calligraphy.  =  The question IS who and why anybody want to pretend to be a monk ?     😀   —– If anybody want to follow the Buddhism, just DO it.  = It IS nothing to do with a posture or fashion. )

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Once before, I attended a Tibetan Buddhist’s gathering.  In a part of ritual, their followers altogether performed a complicated twist of finger sign, some could do very smooth, others couldn’t.  The one who could do better, demonstrated to others while explaining its move.   It was the moment of show-off = the moment the person feel that I’m better than others.  (To get its skill right, the person must spend quite a time practicing though, it might be only a chance he could get a respect in his whole life.  What’s wrong ? )   Even though its arrogant mind was completely opposite of the Buddhist’s teachings, still “Why not” it could be his start. 

A well-known Buddhists sect, ranking the followers according to how many the person managed to recruit new members, and going up in their hierarchy.  It is a very well designed Ponzi scheme to make money.  (Remember their huge headquarter !)   For some sect, Buddhism is just a pretext to recruit the members and suck up the money.  Exactly the same to the Nintendo selling Mario = Mario is a mean to sell.  Matter is the money which Mario would bring back.

The urge to emulate others may be as hard to eliminate like an instinct to live.  To successfully emulate others will trigger the reword system in the brain by secluding dopamine etc. = this is the design how we can live happily.  Yet still, Hinayana try to suppress such pleasure while imposing hundred of Not.   That’s why history moved to Mahayana.   (Mahayana accept the nature = original design = of human being. — In other words, there may not be such a thing like a joke “Higher Spiritual Level”   😀 )

I used to know two guys wearing orangey yellow cloths.  The one was a guy used be Maharish camp in India and the other was said to be a Tibetan Buddhist.  Though, I never seen or noticed that they got any higher consciousness to live or spoke — still, it was, at least, very distinctive among the cloud.   But, I wasn’t convinced that it lead them to anywhere closer to higher awareness at all !  (only a thing sure was, all of us was thinking that they were silly = It’s mean, nobody respect you because you are wearing Yellow — world would see you only in your deed , not by the color.)    😀

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Japanese Pickles 漬物

pickles1-a09a7167Again here, there is a fundamental difference of the idea between east and west.  Western people think the pickles is in the vinegar though Japanese think pickles is the name only for western food pickled in the vinegar.  Because Japanese makes the vegetable preserve in totally different way and the taste completely different.  Japanese calls them Tsukemono /漬物  (Funny thing is there are certain food pickled in the vinegar exists in Japan though they were called Suzuke / 醋漬, not in the western name pickles.   😀 )  As in the winter, we can see the vegetable called “Hakusai”/ 白菜(Chinese calls Bak-choi / 白菜) Chinese Cabbage.  And it is the time for me to make a Hakusai-zuke (pickled (?) Chinese Cabbage) —– This must be the second simplest cooking after a grilled fish. (simply give a bite to a fruits may not be a cooking = just a way to eat.  = it is not in a count.   🙂 )  So, how to make Hakusai-zuke ? 

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(Put the leaves into a bucket in layers and cover them with a suitable size of a dish.)

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(And put a soup bawl kind to have a space = because the leaves will sink under the pressure, while the water is coming out and rise.  I cover whole bucket with a plastic bag and put a heavy weight from outside.  I used an electric transformer as a weight.)

Put it in a bucket with the sprinkle of salt and keep it under a pressure of a heavy weight 5~7 days.  (With a pressure, the air was pushed out, so the anaerobic fermentation takes place.)   That’s all. 

pickles4-a09a7180With the vegetable’s own enzyme and the common bacteria, it would be naturally fermented and change the taste.  How much the amount of salt is not very critical.  In Japan the salt content of the vegetable Tsuke-mono said to be dropped from 15% to less than 5% in the past 50 years or so = So, it can be one shake of salt for every few layers of leaves. (If you want a stronger taste, you can put a drop or two soy-source or chili kind when you eat.) And how heavy the weight should be = somewhat 2~3 Kg = fill the water to an empty milk bottle or a kind and use it. (I’ve been using an electric transformer.  🙂  ) 

(I’ve put the pickling bucket into the other room where no central heating and leave the bucket for 5~6 days.)  (Photo left) — It seems, the Tsukemono made in the Winter is the best.  (Low temperature might keep the bad bacteria out.)  When I was a keeper of a mountain shelter, we made 5 binful Blacken  (Warabi) Tsukemono in the early summer and the same amount of local vegetable (Nozawa-na / 野沢菜) in November to accompany the meal for the guests.  It was a mountain of tsukemono !

Of course, there could be many variation which you can have a fun such as to put a hot chili sauce or the other vegetables etc.  Chinese people makes it with a lots of salt and they can be kept many years as really a preserved vegetable, called Tou-chai / 冬菜 and it must be the origin which came to Japan with Zen Buddhist.  (Yet, on the historical record,  Japanese has been making pickled vegetables 1000 years ago and there are hundreds of different style of Tskemono there.  Still, the basic idea is the same = use the effect of the natural bacteria’s fermentation to create distinctive flavor to the vegetable. (Though, may not necessary to make a good preserve because, it got only few days for the best eat and after it, it became to “Over pickled” taste became too sour, the color too brownish etc. — Yet, my guess is, when people found that the old natural fermentation become sour = why not use the vinegar from the beginning for the sake of consistency and the longer shelf life of the product. — this might be the start of the Pickles in vineger. )

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(After 5~7 days, when the Hakusai-zuke was ready to eat, I shredded it and put into a jar while mixing with additional Chinese hot chilli sauce.  Since the pickled Hakusai is conveniently in a jar, it is easy to serve onto the rice.)  M m m,  Yummy !

For Japanese, the Tsuke-mono is a way of cooking —– to make it for long preserve, there are many different way such as pickled in a salty miso or use Sake etc.  The amazing difference in the western pickles is, that their taste was designed = what type of vinegar, what is the additional ingredient such as Junipers, dill seeds etc. and it almost symbolizes the fundamental difference between Judea Christianity and the Buddhism.  The one try to make the taste by their own idea, and the other see what the nature can make and follows it.  (It must be a very interesting point there, why the west didn’t start anaerobic fermentation of the vegetable, while having such as the wine making alongside.)    I haven’t tasted it though, there said to be the Zen Tsuke-mono made in the temple which is in the original Chinese style (much salty) — but to make it more acceptable mild taste, a Zen master, Takuan / 沢庵 said to have invented the use of rice bran with salt = it became the “Takuan Zuke” = which made his name as big as Ikkyu / 一休 on the history !  Since then, in most of the case, the tsukemono mean pickled in the salty rice bran — but it is so awkward to keep and smelly = it is the house wives’ nightmare.

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(Yet the matter of fermentation is a combination of the bacteria = So, with a help of modern chemistry, the convenient short-cut was invented !

—–> Now people can make Tsuke-mono conveniently in a glass jar.  —  magic bullet was given to me from the friends though I haven’t tested it yet = if you like to try, it called “Nuka-yorokobi” from a Japanese food shop.)   Good luck and enjoy a taste.   😀

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Wabi – Sabi

wabi-sabi1-a09a7150Time to time, you might have heard the Japanese words, Wabi and Sabi, especially in relation to the Haiku Poet Basho or about Tea making and its pottery work. (such as tea bowl)  The word Sabi is related to Sabi-shii or Sabi-reta etc all of those meaning may be clearer in the visual metaphor than a lexical explanation (since those notions has to be grasped by the naked perception not by the thinking brain = hence direct transmission) — imagine you came across the place looks like abandoned or inhabited houses. = you may use a word ghost town.  No single soul on the street neither any sign of daily activity. Though, it is the very matter I’ve talked about in the previous post = if you were a westerner, your psych imagine a ghost town in a western film which is a dry, dusty, sun stricken street of wooden hoses — but here, in Japanese case, it has to be darker, under the shade of the tree, and rather wet, moss-covered half rotten houses. = you may feel even spooky.  This is rather exaggerated case of Sabi-shii scene.  And if you were here alone, you must feel quite Sabi-shii / lonely or desolated.  Then stretch your imagination further to the inside or the back of the house, what sort of the things you may find — wooden utensil ?  or a kind of bowl for eating, drinking ?  — a kind of the people used to live here, might be a poor farmer or casual worker helping those farmers = anyway, having had hand to mouth kind of the life = everything was a bare minimum.  So, if the bowl was not wooden but a pottery, how it looks like.  A bowl made to exchange for few vegetables or a caught bird, the pottery wouldn’t have a nice glaze or any decoration = just enough function for daily use

wabi-sabi2In the case of pottery, those images are the completely opposite of the Wabi, Sabi. Or I should say the typical decoration in the western standard, which the people think “gorgeous”. (but may be rather poor taste though) 

wabi-sabi3-001And in comparison, this is a Japanese dish in its decorative formal style. (This is Nabeshima. — If this one had no clack, it could fetch £10,000 even though this one was made by a trainee (= the lines were rather messy), hence second grade) —– Still, you may noticed that the stark contrast in the visual design = The western approach try to fill all the space with decorative images but Japanese leave the blank space.  Why ? It’s because of the Zen philosophy.   Western philosophy says, Nature avoid the vacuum but Zen is the matter to live with the Void.   So, to the westerner, gorgeous mean filled with nice decoration but Zen sees the peace in the blanc space.  If the nature was not in the free space, it is not natural but a fraud.  And Zen reject any intentional act as an unnatural fraud.  Especially in terms of Tea making, it got to be absolutely humble and everything has to be a bare minimum. —– This principle was in strict force, almost to an austere level.  So, when this principle was applied, a tea bowl has to be as a bare minimum = away from any intentional, artificial decoration or even an attempt to make it looks good.  In this philosophy, Tea-master Rikyu found the cheapest and the most humble pottery made for and used by the poorest people was the most suited for Tea making, which showed the Wabi and Sabi.    (Photo above right)   And this is the typical sample of the Wabi.  (In fact, this was the back or bottom of the dish the photo before.) = There was no intention to make it looks any better — it was naturally shaped and finished.  Its unassuming naturalness was not created by any intention but rather say, it just happened because it did nothing particularly. This absence of human intention = nothing is the core of Wabi. = poor humbleness, be natural in its material is the matter.  —– So, to a potter, this is the most difficult paradox in the pottery and the ZEN. = Tea bowl have to be made but made without having any intention to make it.   The answer is,  Make it with the mind of NO-Mind = Mushin in Zen. 

Wabi Chawan(In practice, just to be a potter, not a business man but just potting and let the pot to have its own fate = a pot made out of soil should have the face of soil and show the face burnt by the fire.)  (Photo above are the most tipical Wabi bowls, left was made by Koetsu)

wabi-sabi4-003wabi-sabi5-a09a7149(To an untrained eyes, “rustic” or lack of skill may looked like or confused with Wabi, though, the important point is, Wabi’s roughness or unevenness  was created by the unexpected accident, such as a fallen ash or unevenness of the fire not by the hand.)  = Think, Karma created Wabi not the hand let alone the brain deliberately thinking.  And the participant for tea ceremony has to appreciate such imperfect feature as an encounter on the moment.  (Which called Keshiki.) — The photo above, the vase showed a kind of Wabi on its glaze though, its pretty shape was too commercial.  Yet still, the right one seemed to have certain character to join Wabi = it’s a poor mans non-assuming daily mug, rather cheap product still it IS nothing else of Just a mag ! — but the photo left is a typical sample of a sham pretense.  On the surface of the mass-produced cup, a fake pattern of the dripped glaze was painted.

—– Now you might start to understand why Japanese garden or even an arranged flowers never had pattern or even a symmetry.

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