The spiritual background of Japanese
Posted On March 6, 2021
If there’s a word to describe the traditional Japanese sense of beauty in a nutshell, it’s wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is a combination of two old words with overlapping definitions and may be a Buddhist view of the facts of existence. Life and art are beautiful not because they are perfect and eternal, but because they are imperfect and ephemeral. Wabi-sabi arose from the Mahayana Buddhist perception that life is impermanent, painful, and ultimately empty, and to this perception was added a uniquely Japanese sensitivity to natural processes, materials, and the pleasures of simplicity. Whereas the classical Western aesthetic ideals of beauty, perfection, symmetry, and fine workmanship were sought after, wabi-sabi is strictly realistic. Accepting these harsh facts opens the door to a realistic appreciation of deeper beauty.