Thursday, July 15, 2010

More on Wabi Sabi

In our tradition we use these kanji:
Wabi = Quiet
Sabi = Lonely

In some traditions they use the kanji of rusty for Sabi.

Sensei says Wabi Sabi means Rustic Elegance.

Wabi Sabi, though, can't really be defined. We call this undefinable aspect ai mai.
Ai Mai = Vague or undefinable.

Wabi Sabi is used to teach Mujo.
Mujo = Impermanence. Everything changes. Everything is born, lives, decays, and dies.

Wabi Sabi is the acceptance, even the embracing, of this fact that everything will one day pass. This melancholy lonely feeling is Wabi Sabi. We embrace the flaw that remains even though we polished to perfection. We embrace all that really is and love it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


In our school of kyudo breathing (kokyu) is fundamental. It creates the nagare (flow). Sometimes it's all I say during practice... 'breath in... breath out'. Without our breath, we die; air and our breathing connects us to everything else; inside outside become one and the same... and breathing keeps us alive 'ikasu'.

The in breath opens us up and allows us to align our bones, the out breath extends from this posture to both relax us and allow even more expansion.

The Teaching says, "Every movement has a breath". This statement has been interpreted in many ways. Luckily almost all of the the interpretations work. Breathing out for moves that extend out is most common in martial arts, and kyudo is a martial art. The Teaching also says, "Every movement begins with an in breath and ends with an out breath;"

The main thing is that each breath be complete (we call this shin kokyu = deep breathing); this means that we want to minimize the gap between in and out and overlap them. This is done by breathing in until the we are so full that the air is leaving of it's own accord and out until we are so empty a vacuum is formed and the air rushes in.

Speed should be natural ('natural' is somewhere between 8 and 18 breaths per minute depending on whether you think natural is what everyone naturally does (18 breaths per minute) or how slow meditators breath 'naturally' when not meditating (8 breaths per minute).