Wabi Sabi

I did some internet research about the ideas underlying the concept of wabi sabi.

On the web site http://www.hermitary.com/solitude/aesthetics.html I read that wabi is the philosophical construct that underpins the way of life or spiritual path of the hermit living in harmony with nature.   Beneath the hermetic existence lies the recognition that the world of duality is an illusion.  There is an understanding that clinging to the ego and the material world leads to suffering.

sabi is ‘the outward expression of aesthetic values is built upon the metaphysical and spiritual principles of Zen and translates these values into artistic and material qualities.’  Sabi objects are asymmetrical, irregular, unpretentious and ambiguous.  They reflect impermanence through an aesthetic experience that is peaceful and transcendent.

Wabi-sabi is ‘an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things.’

On this website I also read:

The Japanese haiku poet Basho transformed the wabizumai he experienced into  sabi poetry, and the melancholy of nature became  a kind of longing for the absolute. But this longing never fulfilled — the “absolute” is not part of Zen vocabulary –makes the tension between wabi and sabi an enriching and inexhaustible  experience.

Intrigued, I looked further.   On the website http://www.globalonenessproject.org/library/articles/beauty-wabi-sabi I discovered the work of Leonard Koren, a contemporary writer who explores the concepts of wabi-sabi and applies them to the modern world.  In article titled ‘The Beauty of wabi-sabi’ he writes:

   On a metaphysical level, wabi-sabi is a beauty at the edge of nothingness.



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