Worshiping poverty? 貧を崇める?

The cult of wabi has entered deeply into the cultural life of the Japanese people. It is in truth the worshiping of poverty—probably a most appropriate cult in a poor country like ours. Despite the modern Western luxuries and comforts of life which have invaded us, there is still an ineradicable longing in us for the cult of wabi. Even in the intellectual life, not richness of ideas, not brilliancy or solemnity in marshalling thoughts and building up a philosophical system, is sought; but just to stay quietly content with the mystical contemplation of Nature and to feel at home with the world is more inspiring to us, at least to some of us.  (Daisetz. T. Suzuki — Zen and Japanese Culture)

“worshiping of poverty—a most appropriate cult in a poor country like ours”…???!!!

Poverty is to be worshipped? How unrealistic it sounds in this modern society where people run after time and money. It is also interesting that Daisetz described Japan as poor country. Japan, rich in nature and water, however, never had much resource such as oil, gold or diamond. If that is what he meant by poor.

Zen, strictly speaking, is not a religion, they say. Having its origin both in Buddhism (philosophy) and Chinese logic (practicability), it is inspiring to wonder how it came to represent wabi in Japanese culture, at least, for someone like me.

2015-04-03 15.42.01

わびの信仰は、日本文化の深層にまで浸透している。本質的には「貧」を崇めることである「わび」は、日本のように貧しい国にふさわしい信仰なのではないかと思う。西洋式の贅沢かつ快適な生活に慣れてしまった私たちでも、心の奥底で「わび」を求めてやまない。知的探求においても、豊かなアイデアや、新たな哲学体系を生み出すための斬新なひらめきや厳格な思考の整合性などは求めない。それよりも、ただ静かに自然の神秘に想いを馳せ、世界と一体になるのを感じる方が、私たちに…少なくとも、幾人かにとっては、魅力的なのである。  (鈴木大拙 禅と日本文化)

「わび」とは貧の崇拝である…?? なんとも斬新な。

これほどまでに、資本主義や近代的思考にどっぷり浸かっているように見えた私たちも、実は心の奥底で貧しくあることを求めている…??? さらに、彼は日本は貧しい国であると。確かに、これだけ自然の恵みに囲まれながら、石油や金、ダイヤといった地下資源にはとんと縁がないのも日本である。


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