The Garbage and the Flowers (Wabi-Sabi)

Share 52 Flower Mandalas on Facebook and Share 52 Flower Mandalas on Twitter

151117-141353_DMC-ZS25_01c_black_600x800 141003-122359_DMC-ZS25_01b_black_600x800

For the last several years, I’ve found myself attracted to the dead leaves I see on the ground as I walk, particularly those in late fall and winter. I’ve taken hundreds, maybe thousands, of pictures of them. A friend’s mentioning to me the concept of wabi-sabi helped me understand why. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese term for finding the beauty in imperfection, and accepting the cycle of birth, growth, aging, death, and decay. I’m 64. It’s about time.

141003-120954_DMC-ZS25_01b_black_600x800 141003-120848_DMC-ZS25_01a_black_800x600

The Buddhist teacher and writer Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this cycle when he speaks of seeing the garbage in the flowers and the flowers in the garbage. “When we look at garbage,” he writes, “we also see the non-garbage elements: we see the flower there. Good organic gardeners see that. When they look at a garbage heap they see cucumbers and lettuce. That is why they do not throw garbage away.They keep garbage in order to transform it back into cucumbers and lettuce.”

151104-135758_DMC-ZS25_1b_black_600x800 151120-162639_84_DMC-ZS25_01b_black_600x800

“If a flower can become garbage,” Thich Nhat Hanh explains, “then garbage can become flowers.The flower does not consider garbage as an enemy or panic when becoming garbage, nor does the garbage become depressed and view the flower as an enemy. They realize the nature of interbeing. In Buddhist therapy we preserve the garbage within ourselves.We do not want to throw it out because if we do, we have nothing left with which to make our flowers grow.”

Mandala-1-Dec-20150001-1-500x500 Dandelion

By colorists emmysuu and Jaclyn

Buy 52 Flower Mandalas coloring book
Download a full-resolution coloring book sampler Mandala index.pdf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *