What is Wabi Sabi? – Flawed Beauty
Wabi Sabi is Japanese traditional concept of seeing perfections or beauty in imperfections.
It is derived from the Buddhist teachings of existence, namely, Imperfection, Impermanence and Incompleteness.
In simple words, Wabi Sabi ia a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.
“Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” – Richard Powell
It is hard to live with such beautiful expression of beauty in and around our life when we are exposed to a lot of superficial and artificial man-made created beauty.
We seek perfection and have set benchmark for beauty and flaws. In such situation it becomes difficult to refer to such teachings but just imagine the message it holds and it’s true essence when applied in our daily life, might do wonders.
A little History behind the words Wabi Sabi
The word Wabi originally referred to the loneliness of living in nature, remote from society and the word Sabi meant “chill”, “lean” or “withered”.
Around the 14th century these meanings began to change, taking on more positive connotations. (Source –Wikipedia)
Wabi refers to simple, quite and natural 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 something which is attained over a period of time. A unique dimension of beauty or serenity that comes with age.
The philosophical theories of Wabi Sabi have travelled through centuries, before it finally rested in Japan. From Buddhist influences to chinese incorporation, Wabi Sabi eventually landed up with Japanese Ideal.
As I mentioned above, with the history and time shifts the meaning and application of the word Wabi Sabi also evolved.
It was about 700 years ago, the comprehension understanding of the words as the emptiness and imperfection was honored as tantamount to the first step towards the enlightenment.
In today’s Japan, the meaning of wabi-sabi is often condensed to “wisdom in natural simplicity”.
I learned first about this term accidently when I was reading something about the beauty in imperfection and this Japanese notion held my attention.
It purely stresses on embracing “imperfect beauty.” The concept derives from the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, a cup made by an artist’s hands.
A ritual of purity and simplicity in which masters prized bowls that were handmade and irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze, cracks, and a perverse beauty in their deliberate imperfection.
The physical changes that takes place in our bodies while we age, those fine lines, dark circles, greying of hair, visually, are the sign of aging but they are alos a testament to the lessons we have learned, life we have lives, the texture of experiences and the wisdom gathered in our life.
Applying Wabi Sabi in our daily life
How hard is accepting the world as imperfect, full of flaws, in-transition, unfinished, and then going deeper and understanding it’s reality?
- If we decide we can see beauty in everything, we can be grateful for even a cup of morning tea or coffee.
- If we decide and allow things to take shape withing it’s own pace, it might bloom and flourish in long term.
- Seeing imperfections and comparing then to the designed benchmarks ruins the eternal beauty and the objective of the subject.
In the end, I cannot finish my writing without putting an angle of Mental Health in my blog. With this concept I realised there does exist a philosophy which suggests sentiments of desolation and solitude.
From seeking beauty in peace to finding joy in flaws we learn to accept the flawed beauty of life existing around us.
From ignoring little imperfections and scars we embrace the wisdom we acquire as we age and we understand life with more clarity.
Much love and gratitude