Friday, December 25, 2009

Getting beyond our funk of hubris.... (old post from another blog.)

It is a lack of humility in our modern age that keeps us from acknowledging our influences. Rather than simply seeing tradition as something we only take from, Hamada saw the responsibility of the maker to make something original, but genuine, that we give back to the tradition. In his words:

"Just to give oneself up to folk art will never do. One must chew and eat up mingei (folkcraft) -- eat it, consume it, put it in your belly; to put it in your system and digest it is what is required in this day and age. We are to assimilate it and do something of our own with this food."

And more from other authors:

Between Lies and Truth
Written by Shirasu Masako
for Bessatsu Taiyo, 1996, Heibonsha Publishing
Translated by Aoyama Wahei

"Individuality derives from standing on the shoulders of tradition. By acknowledging the roads taken, by understanding history, we can finally arrive at discovering ourselves. By first understanding how to make something, it is our next duty to take it one step further. Even in the art of Noh (Japanese traditional theater), the most minute of details have been passed down in the form of procedural kata. Yet only when an actor masters the traditions, can he finally break free and turn them into his own. Those that simply follow what the "kata" formalities of tradition have taught them, will forever only be "kata" themselves. In the end, they will realize that they had not understood a thing."

Whole essay found here:

Here is a Navajo Chant:

The mountains, I become part of it...

The herbs, the fir tree, I become part of it.

The morning mists, the clouds, the gathering


I become part of it.

The wilderness, the dew drops, the


I become part of it.

And and Ojibway prayer:

look at our brokenness.

We know that in all creation
Only the human family
Has strayed from the Sacred Way.

We know that we are the ones
who are divided
And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk in the Sacred Way.

Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion, and honor
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.

The last two are from Mayumi Oda's Japanese version of "I Opened The Gate, Laughing."

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