Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Purity of Mind

Water dipper, Torei, 1721-1792, Ink on paper

I also saw many of these stone water basins at the entrances to small homes and restaurants.
There seemed to be a quiet calmness- a pocket of serenity-- in these small areas. The basins were usually set in with large and small rocks, plants and sometimes moss.

Only in quiet waters do things mirror themselves undistorted.
Only in quiet mind is adequate perception of the world.
----Hans Margolius

These small stone basins at the entrance of a home or restaurant represent the ritual of "clearing the dust of the world".
This symbolic act of cleaning thus enables one to sense the pure and sacred essence of things, man and nature. This purity, through the simple act of cleaning, is part of my search for myself in my art -- the act of clearing out the "old" ways to explore and experiment with new experiences, and feelings.


M said...

Rituals always have a calming effect. I enjoyed seeing the various physical interpretations of this cleansing ritual. The sites are works of art in themselves. Reading your posts always settles me and makes me more reflective. Thank you.

Tess Kincaid said...

I'm so enjoying these Japanese posts! Thank you.

Leslie Avon Miller said...

There is beauty in this calm, purified space. What calls to me so much about the Japanese aesthetic is the quite of the minimalism allowing one to hear what one is listening for. This is a beautiful post Donna, and I enjoyed the look at your findings from the flea markets on your side bar and the art work. Now I think I’ll go look at this post again, as it is so rich with imagery and words. Thank you for your beautiful blog.

bob Cornelis said...

It always seems a counterintuitive dynamic that we must find repose before we can institute profound change. So often we try to incite change through increased activity when all we need do is stop sufficiently.

I always appreciate your mix of thoughts, quotes and images. They offer "layers" to contemplate.

nancy neva gagliano said...

your calling led you.
your return brings repose to
layered followers.

with gratitude!

mansuetude said...

... after going into an American city tonight, this is bliss. I have imagined a water place like this, and have wanted to make one with a garden that opens where one can hear the water drip drop at a time, to calm and clear... thank you.

the simplicity and modernity of your ink drawing i enjoy its rhytms.


Seth said...

Such beauty to be found in these basins and a sense of peace as well. And you certainly found a treasure trove of things from the flea markets based on that photo on your sidebar.

The Artist Within Us said...

As you share your experience of your trip, I would like you to know that today's post has me contemplating on creating a water basin for our garden.

I have always believed that there should be a sacred place that is set side for contemplation in ones garden and since a friend brought back from Japan a bamboo ladle, I now need to locate a stone with a natural dip to hold water.

I will return to your post and let the serenity of your excellent photographs imbed themselves deeply into my mind.

It is good to have you back.

Thank you for sharing,

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

These photos are beautiful...the cleansing ritual so simple so satisfying. Like Leslie, I intend on returning and "sitting" with these images and words. Thank you, Donna.

Ruth Armitage said...

Hi D-
Such an interesting parallel with our Catholic practice of dipping into the 'holy' water... cleansing and blessing before entering the sanctuary. Beautiful images!
xo Ruth

Ian Foster said...

Thank you for a wonderful insight into one aspect of the Japanese culture and for the excellent photographs to illustrate this.

shayndel said...

Your photographing these special places has a ritual feeling in itself. Thank you for inviting us to share in this contemplation of purity and cleansing.

ArtPropelled said...

A pocket of calm! For some reason this ritual brings to mind those of the Japanese tea ceremonies. The act of pausing and appreciating the beauty of these stone vessels and the surroundings, purifying one's self with cool clean water is almost like a meditation. Thanks so much for sharing, Donna.

Caterina Giglio said...

nice to have you back Miss Donna, bringing us peace and serenity on these very busy autumn days. Love your flea market finds, looks like you found some gorgeous pieces!

Alicia Tormey said...

Hello Donna: Your images of the stone basins and your explanation of the rituals that surround them are lovely. Thank you for reminding me to get quite – still the water and still my mind.

Lisa said...

wonderful description and images of such a peaceful existance. looks like you discovered some real treasures on your journey. love your new banner too!

Debrina said...

Ahhh...I love this posting. So calming. I took a deep breath and gave out a long sigh after I read it. I think that means all the tension of the day just left me right then...
Thanks Donna.

Lawendula said...

Very inspiring! :)

Coffee Messiah said...

That's an amazing dragon!

Funny that people think being in a crowd and being busy would bring Peace.

It's no wonder so many people from long ago were so creative: no tv, radio, buses,cars, stores, phones.


Mostly Turquoise said...


Thank you for all beauty you share on your blog, in the photographs and in the many, many wise words. Keeping/making my mind pure is something I have been trying for a long time now (though not by washing). I don't think I will ever fully succeed with all the information that we are bombed with, but in essence I know this is the only way. Thanks also for visiting and commenting on my blog!

magpie said...

for the eye
and the spirit.

domo arigato

John M. Mora said...

What a wonderful post - with images and quotes and personal reflection. As a stilted gardner, I find the "rock gardens" shown to be highly inspirational - balance and beauty and flow....thank you.

The drawing on top is remarkable too - how did you find it?????

Lisa Ursu said...

I love your flea market finds!!!
What a beautiful post. For some reason, the first basin shown reminds me of an eye (a 3rd eye perhaps?). That dragon is INCREDIBLE!!!
I love the rituals of purification you have described.
I also see it as a reconnection with the waters of the subconcious, the sea in which we all reside but seem to forget.

Unknown said...

The beauty and serenity of these basins is striking. Thank you for sharing the images and sensitive description.