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Bringing Zen HomeThe Healing Heart of Japanese Women's Rituals$
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Paula Arai

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835354

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835354.001.0001

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The Healing Power of Beauty

The Healing Power of Beauty

(p.167) Chapter 5 The Healing Power of Beauty
Bringing Zen Home

Paula Arai

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses the role of beauty in the Japanese Buddhist women’s healing activities. Beauty is the center of the Japanese women’s practices and locus of their healing. Indeed, the highly ritualized and aestheticized dimensions of Japanese culture are brought together in their way of healing. All ritualized activities the women engage in as part of their healing have an aesthetic dimension. Whether they are composing a poem or arranging flowers, or just enjoying a walk to see the plum blossoms in late winter, the power of beauty to help heal was emphasized by all the women. This chapter examines the women’s ritualized activities that focus on the explicit creation and appreciation of beauty. It considers the types of aesthetic practices that the women cultivate based on the Way of healing paradigm, such as calligraphy, painting and drawing, poetry reading and writing, music and particularly go-eika hymnody, flower arranging and viewing nature, and tea ceremony.

Keywords:   beauty, Japanese Buddhist women, healing, ritual, calligraphy, painting, poetry, go-eika hymnody, flower arranging

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