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Old 01-05-2016   #41
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I ran the page past a friend of mine who is Japanese and a working artist. Her tactful comment was that westerners often have different definitions for words. :-)
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Old 01-05-2016   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
..This thread reminds me of the "Nudes" thread over on Large Format forums - too many words, too little pictures.
~Joe
unlike over there, here this may be a good thing


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Old 01-05-2016   #43
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Such negativity. Kinda sad at RFF.
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Old 01-05-2016   #44
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I find interesting to read different views about this subject...which is not an easy one...
It could be a positive development if we start to post photos with our interpretation of the concept...not sure if here or should we have a different thread?
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Old 01-05-2016   #45
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negativity? in hope my last comment didn't prompt that. So far it seems that we, or most, 'don't know' but are investigating Wabi Sabi. The collective had gone ahead, posted a host of photos under the banner of Wabi Sabi, apparently without much understanding, and later decided to remove the photos. If members here, so far, have been hesitant to post photos it's because of superior respect and caution. That's very, very positive and so was the intent and meaning of my comment which furthermore was made in jest.
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Old 01-05-2016   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
Such negativity. Kinda sad at RFF.

I don't think it's strong negativity, but rather (at least on my part) cynicism rooted it confusion. (Jees, did I write that?)
Really. At the moment, I don't get it so I am (mentally) poking at the concept of "wabi sabi" to see how it moves.
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Old 01-05-2016   #47
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Why not go with the definition given by the wabi sabi website?

"Wabi-sabi (侘寂) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered 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 (三法印 sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō), the other two being suffering (苦 ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy, and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes."

Personally, I would add: seeing beauty in the banal.
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Old 01-05-2016   #48
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[quote=photomoof;2569572]I would agree, photos of objects that exhibit the concept, are not the concept.

Photos that exhibit the concept (let's say sadness which everyone understands) are not the concept. No argument from me, but was that even claimed?


I could think of ways to express Wabi-sabi using photo materials and paper, but probably not common film or digital.

It is a photo group, so they're using photography. I don't understand the nit-picking. Any artist/artistic statement can be shot to hell.
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Old 01-05-2016   #49
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Frank...perhaps put your next contribution to this thread in UPPER CASE RED. JUST SO THAT WE DON'T MISS THE POINT. Cheers, Peter
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Old 01-05-2016   #50
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Round two of learning curve.

We have FrankS photo which is perfect fit for nice imperfections.
We have kuuan photo for rustic loneliness.

If it is all within concept of wasa.. sorry, Wabi Sabi, I admit - it is complicated.

Plus, tossing in of broken bowl... I think, every Red Green Show episode with duct tape has sweet wabisabiness in it!
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Old 01-05-2016   #51
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Wabi Sabi is a concept that can be illustrated like most any concept by a photograph of a suitable subject, IMO, so I reject photomoof's suggestion that it is not possible with photography.

Unless it is done in a self-deprecating manner, an artist statement where the personal motivation and influences behind an artist's work are given often sounds boastful and/or pretentious. Perhaps that's the basis of the negativity here?

One does not need to be Japanese to have an understanding of a concept whose Japanese name is being used here. The concept enveloping the acceptance (and celebration) of impermanence/transience, imperfection, etc. can be used by non-Japanese photographers as well.
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Old 01-05-2016   #52
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"I probably was not clear. I am only saying none of the photos from the group are wabi sabi as an object. "

Again I say that that was never claimed.
The concept of Wabi Sabi is only claimed to be an underlying motivation/influence for this group.

How can one even make an object that is Wabi Sabi? All one can do is make an object (be it photograph or bowl) that illustrates the concept.
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Old 01-05-2016   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
OK fair enough, but if that is the case, then I really don't see it in the photos.
Honestly, I don't see it in each and every photography posted there either.
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Old 01-05-2016   #54
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the apparent lack of photos is impressive and came as a surprise ( there was one photo posted that I deemed best, but it was removed )
Wabi Sabi certainly would be served best if only acclaimed Japanese artist were posting here! how great would that be!
the photos posted by the 'Collective' seemed to be far off, showing alternatives imperative. I have 'an acquired taste' of Wabi Sabi that came from being with a Japanese artist, in Japan, some while every year since the late 90s.
Wabi Sabi, I believe, is entrenched in Japanese culture and mind and that nevertheless a Japanese artist may strive all his life to only get close to it. I wished our samples were judged by a Japanese art critic, teaching us Japanese aesthetics and art
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Old 01-05-2016   #55
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Interesting discussion, and definitely a tricky concept to interpret. I feel one could "translate" the concept of Wabi-Sabi into his/her own photography style and philosophy if you want to explore the concept in the world of photography.

Here is my take as a Japanese immigrant in the US...


reading continues by Suguru Nishioka, on Flickr

Another interpretation of mine.


Two eggs by Suguru Nishioka, on Flickr
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Old 01-05-2016   #56
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Originally Posted by kuuan View Post
the apparent lack of photos is impressive and came as a surprise ( there was one photo posted that I deemed best, but it was removed )
Wabi Sabi certainly would be served best if only acclaimed Japanese artist were posting here! how great would that be!
the photos posted by the 'Collective' seemed to be far off, showing alternatives imperative. I have 'an acquired taste' of Wabi Sabi that came from being with a Japanese artist, in Japan, some while every year since the late 90s.
Wabi Sabi, I believe, is entrenched in Japanese culture and mind and that nevertheless a Japanese artist may strive all his life to only get close to it. I wished our samples were judged by a Japanese art critic, teaching us Japanese aesthetics and art
I disagree that the Japanese have exclusive understanding and accurate realization of this concept of Wabi Sabi.
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Old 01-05-2016   #57
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I disagree that the Japanese have exclusive understanding and accurate realization of this concept of Wabi Sabi.
I didn't say that. As an 'individual understanding or realization', as you say, no need to be Japanese.
Wabi Sabi as it presents itself in and through Japanese culture, that happens in Japan.I suspect that some Japanese artist might dispute that Wabi Sabi can be 'understood or realized'. nothing perfect or completed here, nothing to show for but a humble intent
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Old 01-05-2016   #58
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"Wabi Sabi as it presents itself in and through Japanese culture, that happens in Japan."

Cant argue when presented with the underlined requisite, but it is a concept that can be understood by anyone, anywhere, like any other concept.
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Old 01-05-2016   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
"Wabi Sabi as it presents itself in and through Japanese culture, that happens in Japan."

Cant argue when presented with the underlined requisite, but it is a concept that can be understood by anyone, anywhere, like any other concept.
again I agree with the non exclusivity Frank after all I am not Japanese and try to get some grips on Wabi Sabi. But being in Japan helps My Wabi Sabi are some precious memories and feelings, maybe a sensitivity and feeling. I believe the idea of understanding a concept is too positivistic for the emptiness and imperfection of Wabi Sabi
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Old 01-05-2016   #60
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"I believe the idea of understanding a concept is too positivistic for the emptiness and imperfection of Wabi Sabi."

Interesting. How can a concept exist that is unknowable?

My background: I lived and worked in Japan for a year many years ago, and married into a Japanese family (25 years and counting), as well as being a reader of some basic Buddhist writings. Of all the organized religions, I resonate most with Buddhism.
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Old 01-05-2016   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
"I believe the idea of understanding a concept is too positivistic for the emptiness and imperfection of Wabi Sabi."

Interesting. How can a concept exist that is unknowable?

My background: I lived and worked in Japan for a year many years ago, and married into a Japanese family (25 years and counting), as well as being a reader of some basic Buddhist writings. Of all the organized religions, I resonate most with Buddhism.
is enlightenment a concept? If so, can you really 'know' enlightenment? Would that 'make' you enlightened?

You tell us how much you have been living with and in Japanese Culture as prove of your authority. Jack this is exactly my point
I am not a racist saying that one must be Japanese. I say that exposure to, living with or in Japanese culture will be the most likely access to Wabi Sabi and as you mean to show, reason to be an authority.
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Old 01-05-2016   #62
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last time there were quite a few, but they are no more, must have been removed since..
I guess nothing lasts forever.
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Old 01-05-2016   #63
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is enlightenment a concept? If so, can you really 'know' enlightenment? Would that 'make' you enlightened?

You tell us how much you have been living with and in Japanese Culture as prove of your authority. Jack this is exactly my point
I am not a racist saying that one must be Japanese. I say that exposure to, living with or in Japanese culture will be the most likely access to Wabi Sabi and as you mean to show, reason to be an authority.

Re enlightenment: I do not have to be Wabi Sabi to understand it. It's a concept after all.

I mentioned my history simply for interest's sake, not to claim any authority.

Whatever. I joined the conversation to point out the negativity this thread towards this group. Just read it from the beginning to see if you notice it too. Rather than encouragement to put oneself forward, there was only criticism. Too bad, RFF.
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Old 01-05-2016   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coelacanth View Post
Interesting discussion, and definitely a tricky concept to interpret. I feel one could "translate" the concept of Wabi-Sabi into his/her own photography style and philosophy if you want to explore the concept in the world of photography.

Here is my take as a Japanese immigrant in the US...


reading continues by Suguru Nishioka, on Flickr

Another interpretation of mine.


Two eggs by Suguru Nishioka, on Flickr
Very good examples. Especially the first one.
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Old 01-05-2016   #65
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From my understanding of the term the photos of that photographer could be interpreted as wabi-sabi.

http://jiji-de-jiji.tumblr.com/image/134580316445
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Old 01-05-2016   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
Re enlightenment: I do not have to be Wabi Sabi to understand it. It's a concept after all.

I mentioned my history simply for interest's sake, not to claim any authority.

Whatever. I joined the conversation to point out the negativity this thread towards this group. Just read it from the beginning to see if you notice it too. Rather than encouragement to put oneself forward, there was only criticism. Too bad, RFF.
our views differ and for Wabi Sabi's sake, because I believe that Wabi Sabi is more a matter of individual feeling and experience than a fixed concept that can be understood, I am glad that they do and don't expect an argument to stay undisputed.

I know the mention of your history just wants to explain and not to claim authority, however I consider the point I made, that 'Japanese experience' is best and most likely access, as vaild.

You are right, I also perceive some negativity but it had not surprised me. Cultural arrogance, excuse the strong words, is a very wide spread phenomenon, disqualifying the foreign and unknown to foster the own and established too common. The mention of the word 'spiritual might have triggered an unfriendly statement disqualifying what had been said as 'esoteric farts'. That, maybe in a less offensive manner, had to be expected. More than that I rather see genuine interest, possibly some of it on shaky grounds, but nevertheless an intent to investigate.
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Old 01-05-2016   #67
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I am happy with the exposure wabi sabi enjoyed in this thread.

Peace, kuuan!
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Old 01-05-2016   #68
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me too. the 'discourse' must have triggered the 'collective' to reconsider and made others more investigate. It's doing fine and I am curious for more.

peace Frank!
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Old 01-05-2016   #69
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I have no authority on any official definition but have a personal interpretation that for me suggests that a wabi sabi object is a more a product of the "natural" world (as opposed to "human made" - though, yes humans are part of nature) , and is also in some state of transience or decay.

Exhibit 1 :

[IMG]R0001341 by john m, on Flickr[/IMG]

Exhibit 2 :

Falllen nest by john m, on Flickr

and finally Exhibit 3 - not wabi sabi for me, though there are natural elements wood and stone (with construction shaped by humans) and decay. I'd call this urban decay. Something more lightly touched by humans e.g a simply hand carved ornament with imperfections, or a repaired ceramic probably still is a wabi sabi object...for me.

Age by john m, on Flickr

Thoughts /examples of your own interpretation welcome.
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Old 01-06-2016   #70
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IMO, urban decay is rich in wabi wabi. I find images of nature taking back over, compelling.
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Old 01-06-2016   #71
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I have no authority on any official definition but have a personal interpretation that for me suggests that a wabi sabi object is a more a product of the "natural" world (as opposed to "human made" - though, yes humans are part of nature) , and is also in some state of transience or decay.
A wabi sabi object momentarily gives one a glimpse of what is rather than what ought to be.

For example most people live as if they're immortal. Death and dying are far from their mind, so they're greedy, needy and hungry for more experiences, more objects. They're caught up in Maya and completely oblivious to the impermanence and fleeting nature of life...

when such a person is suddenly awakned from that stupor by an object or objects either in nature or man-made, that is wabi sabi.
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Old 01-06-2016   #72
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Folks reading this thread might like to take a look at the "Mono No Aware" project by Anton Kusters, as well:

http://antonkusters.com/projects/mononoaware/

And a slideshow of the work here:
http://www.burnmagazine.org/essays/2...mono-no-aware/
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Old 01-06-2016   #73
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with all my arguments that living in Japan helps to form an appreciation for Wabi Sabi I believe that it doesn't play much role in modern Japan. Naturally it is alive mostly in artist and zen circles. These often are intertwined. Today Wabi Sabi most typically is found in pottery which in Japan, probably stronger than anywhere else, is valued as art. Or to put it the other way around, it is above all the art of pottery, which continues to be important in modern Japan, that keeps Wabi Sabi alive in popular culture


Untitled
by Andreas, on Flickr, CZJ 1.5/5cm, NEX5n
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Old 01-06-2016   #74
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this is great - thank you all for the above, and the enlightenment.
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Old 01-07-2016   #75
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Perhaps there is a touch of wabi sabi in these nature shots but to be honest its all in the eye of the viewer.

Bamboo grove and path by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Lonely bench, ocean by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Ghost trees by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

arbre antique by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Trees in the Mist 2 by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
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Old 01-07-2016   #76
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Love this thread, it is like the old days on RFF.

Very nice shots Peter M, whether Wabi Sabi or not.
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Old 01-07-2016   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photomoof View Post
Now this is wabi sabi... or at least the closest one can come with a Leica.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...hreadid=153876
this is fantastic!

btw. this is the set up the last sample I suggested had been taken with, prewar CZJ f1.5/5cm on NEX5n via a selfmade adapter using the mount of a broken Kiev:

NEX5N with CZJ Sonnar f1.5/5cm
by Andreas, on Flickr
this self made adapter allows for closer focusing than originally designed, this new possibility was used for the photo

I am certain that materials used and all processes of the making a 'piece of art' that 'is' Wabi Sabi are important, and though possibly not a prerequisite I agree that e.g. wet plate is very conducive
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Old 01-07-2016   #78
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How about something like this?


Life: Simplified by Suguru Nishioka, on Flickr
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Old 01-07-2016   #79
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Peace and I am not a professor nor a scholar and the words that I put forward for your consideration may utterly fail:
We westeners, many of us may have or have had difficulty to get grips on anything, even accept as real what we cannot understand through thoughts. Japanese culture traditionally has a different approach to reality through individual perception, attentiveness, awareness and discipline. imo the important references below clearly show that:
Wabi Sabi of course needs underlying understanding but cannot be 'merely' understood. Beyond understanding Wabi Sabi requires awareness, discipline and a cultivation through practice.
the very first sentence of the Stanford article on Japanese Aesthetics: ( linked earlier, here again: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/japanese-aesthetics/ )
"Two preliminary observations about the Japanese cultural tradition to begin with. The first is that classical Japanese philosophy understands the basic reality as constant change, or (to use a Buddhist expression) impermanence. The world of flux that presents itself to our senses is the only reality: there is no conception of some stable “Platonic” realm above or behind it. The arts in Japan have traditionally reflected this fundamental impermanence—sometimes lamenting but more often celebrating it...
..The second observation is that the arts in Japan have tended to be closely connected with Confucian practices of self-cultivation, as evidenced in the fact that they are often referred to as “ways [of living]”: chadō, the way of tea (tea ceremony), shōdō, the way of writing (calligraphy), and so forth."
quote from the Wikipedia article on Japanese Aesthetics: ( also linked earlier, once again: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_aesthetics )
"Wabi and sabi refers to a mindful approach to everyday life...
..In this, beauty is an altered state of consciousness and can be seen in the mundane and simple. The signatures of nature can be so subtle that it takes a quiet mind and a cultivated eye to discern them.[6] In Zen philosophy there are seven aesthetic principles for achieving Wabi-Sabi.
..Each of these things are found in nature but can suggest virtues of human character and appropriateness of behaviour. This, in turn suggests that virtue and civility can be instilled through an appreciation of, and practice in, the arts. Hence, aesthetic ideals have an ethical connotation and pervades much of the Japanese culture.[8]"
and again from the Stanford article:

"Wabi means that even in straitened circumstances no thought of hardship arises. Even amid insufficiency, one is moved by no feeling of want. Even when faced with failure, one does not brood over injustice. If you find being in straitened circumstances to be confining, if you lament insufficiency as privation, if you complain that things have been ill-disposed—this is not wabi” (Hirota, 275)."
naturally I failed, quote: "Maadhyamika philosophy is an attempt to think in terms of the otherness of ultimate meaning, to develop philosophical discourse in constant awareness of the primary wonder of ultimate meaning, and in recognition of the failure of language to encapsulate that meaning. Maadhyamika is the central focus of Mahayana Buddhist thought, lying barely concealed behind iconoclastic zen aphorisms..." from: https://books.google.com.vn/books?id...20engi&f=false
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Old 01-07-2016   #80
Oscuro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hsg View Post
A wabi sabi object momentarily gives one a glimpse of what is rather than what ought to be......Death and dying are far from their mind......They're caught up in Maya and completely oblivious to the impermanence and fleeting nature of life....
I was caught up in Maya for a while. Then we got a divorce.
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