Thursday, January 17, 2008

Remembering the Beauty of Kanazawa

Okay I feel lucky! Lucky because there are places that I was fortunate enough to have visited in this lifetime. Actually, I wonder just how many would that be? I try to capture the essence in each one because I don’t know when I will pass by these beautiful places again. I don’t mind spending so much on pictures because it is a nice way to be transported back to emotions and feelings of what once were.

Japan is one of those beautiful places I traveled to. It is such a beautiful country – clean, organized and yes, spiritual. Of all the places in Japan, I love Kanazawa the most.

I will have to admit that I found my spirituality in Kanazawa. It was there that I understood that spirituality goes beyond the rituals. Rather, how spirituality spelled the very essence of a person, the core; and how it simply radiates outside.

Wherever I turned I was confronted with it - the smile on a child’s face as he learned the craft of claymaking with the father coaching him; the unhurried way they deal with everyday task that reflected patience and humility; the respectful way they approach the temple; the essence of tea ceremony; the cleanliness of the surrounding, which seemed to pay reverence to nature; the subdued conversations during train ride attributing respect to other passengers who are either sleeping or relaxing, and so much more. The people in Kanazawa appreciate the intricacies of doing things by hand especially arts and crafts. They never took that for granted.

I loved going to temples and marvel at the surroundings. I loved sitting in Kenrokuen Park and observe.

Deep learning does come from silence, when the heart and soul are quiet enough to set aside the turmoil inside and look at surroundings in a different perspective.

I experienced that moment in Kanazawa - the simplicity of things, the quietness of surroundings and the value placed in intricate handiworks where concentration and focused are harnessed. The sun seemed much brighter.

Where the kois are found along sidewalk streams that surrounds the highways. I love to see how children stopped and just gazed at the kois.

Reverence to people and nature learned from generations and found deep in a person’s being.

My Family in Kanazawa

Kanazawa became the highlight of my trip because of the anticipation of meeting the foster family for my homestay. My anticipation stemmed from the usual jitters of meeting a Japanese family for the first time, how I would communicate with them or if they will like me.

I remember how my foster family headed by Mr. Masami Kato and his wife Satchiko with their daughters Yumi and Aya, picked me up from Kanazawa Sky Hotel. They are an unassuming family. It was easy for me to feel attached and comfortable with them. I love my foster parents and my foster siblings. Each daughter has their distinct character: Erie the actress; Yumi the artist; and Aya the sportsgirl.

But one person that surprised me the most was my grandmother. My grandmother doesn’t know how to speak English. But she would invite me to her small room and took out pictures of her late husband and herself in younger days. She showed me the kimonos dated 3 generations back. I remember how she fixed my hair and let me don the kimono for a day. I wondered how we had communicated. I really do. We had no interpreter inside the room but somehow we understood each other. I guess deep down inside our heart, there is an unwritten language only the soul can understand.

Bottomline, I will forever be grateful for that chance in opening my eyes to the fact that beauty is found in simple living and that wisdom comes in silence.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Practice of Tea Ceremony

One thing good about yearenders is going over some notes and albums trying to assess where was I and what have I become.

I saw this, clipped under my Kanazawa, Japan venture. I remember how the practice of tea ceremony left such a profound impact on me. It was so spiritual that as much as possible I try to emulate.

I don't know where I got the notes...I really don't. I guess I'm grateful I made notes. hahaha Just beep me if any of you knows. :)


The Practice of Tea Ceremony

The basic principles of Chado (Tea Ceremony) are Wa (Harmony), Kei (Respect), Sei (Purity) and Jaku (Tranquility), and the essence of Tea Mind is the heart making the guests as pleasurable as possible. It will be of great happiness if one can touch the Tea Mind with a bowl of tea.

Host cleaning the tea container and tea scoop, although the utensils have already been cleaned in the preparation room. In this way, the host is cleaning his/her own heart as s/he purifies these utensils. Also, through this act, the host concentrates his/her mind.

Respect is the sincerity of heart that liberates us for an open relationship with the immediate environment, our fellow human beings, and nature, while recognizing the dignity of each.

Harmony is the result of the interaction of the host and guest, the food served, and the utensils used with the flowing rhythms of nature. The principle of harmony means to be free of pretensions, to walk the path of moderation, and moreover, to have the attitude of humility.

The last principle is tranquility. Free from worldly and impure desires, one attains a peaceful and tranquil mind. This is the state of mind that comes with constant practice of Wa, Kei and Sei in our daily lives.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Value of Presence


Presence means LIVING IN THE MOMENT...not yesterday, not tomorrow but in the moment.

Presence means THE UNIVERSE...the world where the past and future collides.

Presence means MAKING THE MOST OF WHERE I AM...growing and blooming where I am planted.

Presence means I only have today.

The treasure is in the moment! My being present in the moment is all that matters...and not to be wasted. The challenge is here - BE ALERT!

The Value of Presence...a note or two from an aimless traveler of this world. :)
The learnings...the insights...the travels...the actions

Thank you for dropping by and sharing the moment. Enjoy!