IKEBANA AS MEDITATION


HIRANMAYI RAGAM (Ohara School, Bangalore, India)

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, has its ancient origin in the 6 th century as a religious offering of flowers In Buddhist temples. Ikebana is not just a beautiful art, but it is also therapeutic and spiritual in a nature. Like meditation, it is fundamental to practice this art in a given place, which is not cluttered and in silence. The object of focus here is nature or flowers. It is a meditative exercise, when we select the material, be it a flower, a twisted branch or a dried pod and assemble them together to make an arrangement. The whole process is one of silent communication, connecting with nature, with utmost respect and worship. Unlike any other floral art ikebana is more complex and is appreciated entirely for its different aspects of appreciating nature,being in harmony with nature and learning from nature.        

Taking time to acknowledge and admire the constant movement and changes in nature, as well as in our arrangements, will make the practice of ikebana , all the more meditative. This wonderful art teaches us to be aware of being in the moment and to experience its therapeutic effect on us, which is nothing but Zen philosophy.          

Intensive studies are taking place on the topic of ikebana as meditation and its positive effects on mental and physical well being of practioners and the results are amazingly impressive. Let us all enjoy the beauty of ikebana by indulging in it and help our minds to pause for a while from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.