Asian studies in Lithuania

The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy

Original language: English
Translated from: English
Authors: Masuno, Shunmyo
Translated by: Uzėlaitė, Viktorija
ISBN: 9786094664809
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2020
Publisher: Tyto alba

“The Art of Simple Living: 100 Daily Practices from a Japanese Zen Monk for a Lifetime of Calm and Joy“ is a book that proves that by doing simple daily practices, making small changes in habits, and not searching for necessarily exceptional experiences can help change the outlook and experience inner peace again. The author Japanese Zen Buddhist Shunmyo Masuno, used centuries of wisdom from Zen Buddhism, and wrote a hundred simple everyday practices for the modern man, living in a world dominated by technology, where people are becoming more and more distant from nature and each other, and where mental illnesses are more common than ever before.

In this book, Masuno reminds his readers that there is no other more important moment than right now, so one should seek peace in everyday life, using all of their five senses. The waste of time worrying about things that cannot be changed at the time, forgetting oneself and thinking about all the problems in the world, according to him, is what prevents a person from feeling inner peace and causes anxiety. Simple things like watching the sunset every day, planting flowers and watching them grow, spending time barefoot, giving up unnecessary things or getting up fifteen minutes earlier can teach to accept life changes, relax, rejuvenate thoughts and get rid of anxiety.

According to Zen Buddhists, when people are not doing great, they tend to think that something is missing. However, if a person wants to change the current situation, they first need to give something up and only then look for something new to gain, because this is an essential law of simple life. By following simple habits and enjoying the moment, life eventually becomes brighter, more organized, and more beautiful because that is human nature. Hence, this book teaches that in order to improve one’s life and live with a lighter heart, one must first cleanse, whether it is their home or their mind.

Shunmyo Masuno is a world-famous Zen gardener and landscape architect born in 1953, a professor of environmental and landscape design at Tama University of the Arts, and the eighteenth lead monk of the Kenko-ji Temple. The monk also runs the 450-year-old Soto Zen temple and has given lectures at the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, Cornellio, London, Beijing and Harvard School of Design. Shunmyo Masuno has also written seven books on gardens and Zen Buddhism. When designing gardens, Masuno primarily meditates and makes contact with the area, and the garden for him is a special spiritual place, where mind lives, so he believes that gardening helps achieve inner harmony, peace and spirituality.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU