Nature is not separate from humankind in Japanese culture.
It is a part of us. And the need to keep the two in harmony can be seen in every aspect of life, from the design of gardens that incorporate the natural landscape, to the design of houses that blur inside and outside by means of translucent paper screens.
In traditional Japanese houses you can close the door without shutting out the sound of the birds singing and the rustle of the breeze.
Shizen n. from Japanese meaning: nature or naturalness.
Shizen is one of the seven principles of zen aesthetics. The idea behind Shizen is that we are all connected to nature, emotionally, spiritually and physically, and the more closely something relates to nature, the more pleasing it is, whether it’s a spoon, or a piece of furniture, or the way a house is decorated. The patterns on a kimono are often of the natural world, so that you can be wrapped in peonies or wisteria, cherry blossoms or chrysanthemums, even whole landscapes of rivers and mountains.
Extracted from Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest Bathing by Dr Qing Li
Book Review: Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest Bathing by Dr Qing Li
[Pictured: Ryoan-Ji zen garden in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Content Catnip 2018]
One thought on “Ancient Word of the Day: Shizen”
Ahh….anything philosophical from the zen cannon always lands ‘just right’. Thanks for the share