Wabi-sabi

2019-08-28

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that things become more beautiful through imperfection.

I once heard a wonderful story to illustrate the idea. An initiate at a monastery spent all day cleaning the courtyard. He scrubbed the floors, pruned the plants, dusted the benches, and arranged the stones perfectly. The courtyard was as beautiful and orderly as it had ever been. It looked brand new.

The initiate proudly called the master in to look at his work. The master carefully examined the courtyard for several minutes. Then he approached the cherry tree, took a moment to size it up, and gave its trunk a hearty whack with his stick. A handful of cherry petals fell and settled on the moss below.

The master stood back to examine the courtyard once again. “There”, he said. “Now it’s perfect.”