Look at Yourself Truthfully, Expand Your World.


Wabi-sabi represents a comprehensive Japanese cultural view, but few Japanese, in fact, might understand the true meaning of the aesthetic. Such expressions as a rustic feeling, low-keyed manner and antique atmosphere are not necessarily the wrong words to mean Wabi-sabi, but they do not convey the right meaning. To explain the words wabi-sabi requires a reasonable understanding of the concept, the essence of which seems to be appreciated by many Japanese―unconsciously.
Wabi-sabi often refers to one and the same, but wabi and sabi are, in fact, totally different concepts. Wabi is based on Zen Buddhism and manifested itself as an aesthetic principle through the development of tea ceremony. The art associated with the tea ceremony involves an avoidance of gaudy beauty and an acceptance of simplicity. It is an enduring process of creating a desirable space where any ostentatious decoration is removed in order to achieve simple beauty. It may be lean and chilly, but not totally withered. It rather takes on positive connotations. Your own imagination starts to expand when you settle yourself in a tea ceremony room. The walls of the narrow space suddenly become a microcosm expanding outward. The sun lights coming into the room transform themselves into the lights of guiding starts for navigators. Any guests to the tea room many share the same experience, but hardly do so in a tea room in a western-style royal palace.

Least Necessity, Ultimate Simplicity Creates Beauty Opposite, but Comparable to Luxury.
As described in the beginning of this page, a special stone bowl is displayed in the garden of Ryoanji-temple in Kyoto, on which four Chinese characters ?吾唯足知?("ware tada taru wo shiru"),or “I simply know what is enough”, are carved. The philosophy reflects an idea of Zen Buddhism and also was used to warn against the rulers of the time that they should refrain from indulging in too much luxury and having an excessive desire to rise in the world. Like a person who is content with what he is and has a great strength from within, the architecture of Rokuon-ji Temple’s Golden Pavilion in Kyoto and Toshogu in Nikko seem to be emanating special solemnity―may be because of an understanding of what is enough for themselves―, which makes them more variable. This helps to leave a profound impression in the minds of visitors who are attracted by their showy appearance in the first place. In our daily lives, wabi-concepts may be everywhere and Japanese people tend to accept them naturally. But it may be a good opportunity to rethink its value when you visit such historical places.

Things Increase Value with Age


The basic meaning of sabi is “old-fashioned”, referring to something that grows old as time passes. Sabi can be applied to things surrounding us, including a weathered moss-grown stone in the streets and the surface of bamboo-enclosures, the colors of which become more lustrous.
Things that the sabi concept is employed come to have an unmistakable flavor with age. People are deeply moved not only by their looks, but by the number of facts, including the one that they have weathered storms and the other that they have been preserved for a long time. Sabi is an aesthetic sense that is expressed in various old things, whether it is a small Buddhist stature standing alone or each stepping stone simply placed in a garden.
It might be difficult to understand the wabi-sabi concept logically and to verbally express it. But despite focusing on reasoning, you may sometimes want to feel and appreciate something you think important. In such special moments, you sharpen your sensitivity and listen to your heat without resorting to logics and words. Developing your own imagination and sensibility will help you open a door to an exciting world.
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The Exciting World of Beauty.
Kitamura Clinic
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