The Wandering Monk

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Eastern Philosophy: Matsuo Bashō

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I’ve recently begun watching these series from The School of Life and decided that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go over some of these concepts.  I’ve included in the video above so you can enjoy it from the perspective of the talented YouTuber who created them.

Matsuo Bashō was most famous for his very humbling and Zen-oriented Haiku and artwork collaborations.  The Featured Image of this post is an example of artwork he did, where his famous Haiku is written alongside it.  It’s called the Oku no Hosomichi and is renowned for its simplistic view on the world.

What I find particularly interesting about this story is the foundation of humility it produces and yet, if you review his life, how much fame and vanity he had access to.  He’s a man who was very much at the heart of the art scene for a period of time.  He was highly involved with the social and intellectual scene of Edo in the mid-to-late 1600s.

Yet, after a time, he decided to become a hermit.  He set himself aside to ensure that he could reconnect with his true self.

This — this process — is why I wanted to write about him.  We can all learn from his example.  No matter what our successes are, we must always remember ourselves and strive to stay connected to our True Selves despite how inflated our egos get.  And even at our worst, we can connect to who we really are and persevere.

I admire the man, and I wish I could have sat with him and listened to him.  I wish I could understand Japanese better (or even at all honestly) so I could read more of his words in their original tongue.

So, with all that said, I challenge you as readers of this blog to take some time to find yourself.  Ask yourself if you’ve been in your own head too long and whether or not you’d benefit from setting aside some time in your lives for Wabi-Sabi (the acceptance of imperfection and impermanence).

And don’t forget to breath.

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