LIVING THE JAPANESE ARTS & WAYS: 45 Paths to Meditation and Beauty

H. E. Davey, Author, Wayne Muromoto, Foreword by, Steve Aibel, Illustrator . Stone Bridge $18.95 (244p) ISBN 978-1-880656-71-6

Practitioner and teacher of a number of traditional Japanese arts, Davey, author of Brush Meditation and The Japanese Way of the Flower, tackles a meta-question: what do the traditional Japanese arts have to do with living? The answer is: everything. Demonstrating the Japanese aesthetic of elegance (shibumi), Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts—calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremonies, painting—and the spiritual meaning of such practice. The arts are disciplined, particular ways of expressing and living the great universal Way—the Chinese Tao, or natural order of the universe, which historically influenced the development of Japanese arts and spiritual understanding. Davey is thoroughly steeped in Japanese culture and able to respectfully introduce and explain how those sensibilities are inextricably woven through the arts. As an American who has been accepted within traditional Japanese arts realms, he can offer a helpful cross-cultural lens on what terms and behaviors mean. The book does not offer instruction in any of the arts, but it does contain interesting exercises that call attention to the essential role of the body, and its relationship to mind, in any Japanese arts practice. The subtitle is confusing; it's hard to figure out what those 45 paths are. However, this book is a wonderful complement for practitioners of meditation, especially Zen. It provides illustrations of meditation in action beyond the cushion. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
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