Discovering new aesthetics : Wabi Sabi

Wabi-sabi represents Japanese aesthetics and a Japanese world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. 

The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence, specifically impermanence, suffering and emptiness or absence of self-nature.

"Wabi Sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, the antithesis of our classical Western notion of beauty as something perfect, enduring, and monumental."

Impermanence, also called Anicca or Anitya, is one of the essential doctrines and a part of three marks of existence in Buddhism.

The belief asserts that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is “transient, evanescent, inconstant”.

All temporal things, whether material or mental, are compounded objects in a continuous change of condition, subject to decline and destruction.

All physical and mental events, states Buddhism, come into being and dissolve.

Human life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of repeated birth and death, nothing lasts, and everything decays. 

Impermanence is intimately associated with the belief of anatta, according to which things have no essence, permanent self, or unchanging soul.

The Buddha taught that because no physical or mental object is permanent, desires for or attachments to either causes suffering (dukkha). 

Understanding Anicca/ Impermanence is one of the steps in the Buddhist’s spiritual progress toward enlightenment.

“It is a belief when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.”

Dukkha is an important Buddhist concept, commonly translated as "suffering", "pain" or "unsatisfactoriness".

It refers to the fundamental unsatisfactoriness and painfulness of mundane life, and inspires the Four Noble Truths and nirvana doctrines of Buddhism. 

“Loosely translated, "wabi" is simplicity, whether elegant or rustic; "sabi" means the beauty of age and wear.”

Śūnyatā, translated into English as emptiness and voidness, is a Buddhist concept which has multiple meanings depending on its doctrinal context. 

In Theravada Buddhism, suññatā often refers to the not-self nature of the five aggregates of experience and the six sense spheres. 

In Mahayana, Sunyata refers to the precept that "all things are empty of intrinsic existence and nature".

In Tibetan Buddhism, Sunyata refers to "openness and understanding nonexistence".


Jess xx


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