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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The soul of cherry blossoms


Sakura, or cherry blossoms, season has come.   Japanese have loved cherry blossoms since the ancient times.  This year blooming of them means special symbolizing rebirth, and rebuilding for the Japanese.

 


In 18th century,   Motoori Norinaga  composed a tanka poem:

敷島の大和心を人問わば朝日ににほふ山さくら花    
 
If someone wishes to know the essence of the Japanese soul, it is the beautiful mountain cherry blossom in the early morning sunlight.   (Mountain cherry trees are wild ones, indigenous to Japan.)

This spirit is manifest in the people of the areas stricken by Northeast Japan Earthquake.  They go on their lives like flowers, spreading  beauty, fragrance, glory, and courage, even in the middle of the worst suffering. 


higan-zakura, early blooming cherry blossoms

The phrase, 諸行無常 shogyo mujo, means all the realms of being are uncertain and transient.  Cherry blossoms are delicate, elegant and ephemeral.  They fit traditional Japanese aesthetics that exquisite beauty is fleeting.   





Cherry blossoms look to be ready to forsake this earthly world and surrender to the will of Nature. When there's hardly any breeze, they start to flutter to fall to the ground when they are enough beautiful.  This reflects traditional Japanese concept of beauty and death, dying gracefully.  Samurai warriors particularly were fond of cherry blossoms for this nature of the blossoms.  Some people would prefer to live hanging in.

                                    
400-year-old weeping cherry tree at Himuro Shrine, Nara





Sometimes nature can be destructive, but mostly benevolent. 
Before the wondrous power of nature, we stand humbled in awe.



"Cherry blossom front" is moving from south to north.  I wish people be healed and encouraged by the charm and power of the flowers.

Relax.  Have a cup of tea.

11 comments:

  1. What a marvellously moving and inspiring tribute to the lovely Japanese people! And such magical photos too.

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  2. The four-hundred-year-old tree is spectacular. To think, its heavy blossoms come back like a luxurious garment refreshed after all these years. I also like your outlook on the delicate hanging blossoms that are on the verge of dropping off. Fallen petals roll along sidewalks like soft rain in Japan and in BC. How wise it is to accept fragile life, take time to relax and savor a lovely cup of fragrant tea!

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  3. すばらしい桜ですね。関東のほうもだんだん桜が見られるようになってきました。確かに、自然は、人にとって厳しいときや和むときなどいろいろな表情がありますね。これからもうまく共存できることを願います。

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  4. That tea looks too beautiful to drink! Unfortunately, my green tea isn't nearly as pretty. Your metaphor comparing the Cherry Blossoms to the Japanese aesthetic and spirit is wonderful. The blossoms are delicate but powerfully uplifting. I hope as they bloom, the Japanese people also find the courage to bloom.

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  5. Hello, Stardust.
    Thank you for posting your beautiful images of cherry blossoms.
    I went to a nearby play ground in an early morning to do Tai-chi yesterday.
    The cherry blossoms in the park were in full bloom. We calmly did Tai-chi, relaxing very much under the blossoms. Cherry blossom brighten up Japanese people in this time of the year, also calm down people’s spirits doing Thai-chi,I thought.

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  6. I'm enchanted by these photos! They are so beautiful. I can imagine the fragrance in the air!
    Thank you for sharing such a beauty!
    Hugs
    Joo

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  7. beautiful sequence of shots and such interesting cultural information....

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  8. Various sorts of cherry blossoms look like whispering each other how to encourage people, in your blog.
    It is a long way to be restored, though we'll never give up and will support them by doing something we can do.

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  9. My dear friend
    I was very touched by the beautiful pictures of you and the symbolism of the flowers of the cherry!
    You are a remarkable people, you have the virtue of patience, wisdom, solidarity, hard work, optimism and humanity !!!!!
    I stand before you with respect to your values​​!
    Sure, everything will be fine!
    With great friendship

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  10. Your lovely post reminds me of a poem my granddaughter Amanda wrote for me, when my mother passed. Here are the last 4 lines....

    There's something to understand about nature.
    That there's beauty in sadness too.
    When nature takes its course in life,
    There's beauty in seeing it through.

    There's beauty everywhere, even in your tea!

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  11. Beautiful blossoms--I wish they lasted longer. But, we enjoy them while we can, and then something else just as beautiful starts to bloom---thank you, nature. So glad you are posting your lovely pictures again. Hope all is well. Have a lovely weekend. Mickie :)

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