Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese Philosophy and ancient wisdom, which teaches us how to embrace and accept the beauty of imperfection, and to live a perfectly imperfect life. It breaks down traditional ways of the outlook of things and their existence.
The concept itself is closely related to and has it’s rooted in Zen Buddhism, and could even be called the “Zen of things” as it relates to many of Zen’s core principles. Both Wabi-sabi and Zen address the importance to go beyond the conventional perspectives of how we see things. What is in common is the definition of “Nothingness”, emptiness, which in Zen Buddhism refers to as “Sunyata”. Wabi-Sabi has not only made its way into a way of living a more healthy lifestyle, but it is also well known, and applied in the areas of art, interior, design, literature, and much more.
“Wabi-Sabi is the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It’s a beauty of things modest and humble. It’s the beauty of things unconventional.”
The common principles of Wabi-sabi are related to simplicity and naturalness. However, they are each other’s Yin & Yang for creating a harmonious connection.
A way of life, a spiritual path
The inward, the subjective
A philosophical construct
Material objects, art, and literature
The outward, the objective
An aesthetic ideal
The three characteristics of Wabi-Sabi
All things are impermanent
Everything in life is temporary. The natural processes of changes in nature are a great example to observe changes, every minute, every day whether it’s sun, wind, rain, moon, winter, summer, spring, or fall. Cycles are ever-changing and reforms from moment to moment.
All things are imperfect
“There is a crack in everything, that’s where the light gets in”, Leonard Cohen said. If you pay attention and look closely, you will see that all things have flaws or irregular patterns. Why is good enough not perfect?
All things are incomplete
When can we consider things as finished and complete? In art for example? Or in nature? The belief of completion has no basis in Wabi-sabi.