Views Zen Comics: Wisdom Through Manga
Harmony and Hygiene: An Environment for Improvement

Mokutan Angelo [Profile]

[2017.10.20] Read in: 日本語 | ESPAÑOL | Русский |

The essential nature of the tea ceremony can be applied to everyday life. The third of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips examines the phrase和敬清寂 (wakei seijaku).

The phrase 和敬清寂 (wakei seijaku) lines up characters for “harmony,” “respect,” “cleanliness,” and “tranquility.” It expresses the essential nature of the tea ceremony. Participants seek to bring their spirits into harmony while showing mutual respect. By maintaining cleanliness and tranquility both mentally and in the tea room itself, they can attain a state of clarity.

The expression is of long standing in the tea ceremony and is also used in Zen with a meaning applying to the wider world. Mutual respect is needed for people with differing views to live in harmony and only arises from a pure and calm state of mind.

The first kanji 和 also appears in 和え物 (aemono), a type of cooked salad, such as spinach dressed with sesame paste, typical in Buddhist cuisine. Here, the distinct flavors of ingredients combine harmoniously into a new taste. Similarly, in human society consideration for individuality creates social accord.

Because of its apparent simplicity, wakei seijaku may be taken lightly. Yet, in our world of fierce competition, it is a phrase to remember.

Cast of Characters

Noriko, a junior high school student
Her senpai, an older student

After classes at Noriko’s school. After classes at Noriko’s school.

“Your class was really noisy yesterday.” “Your class was really noisy yesterday.”

“Yeah, Kyary visited us for her TV program.” “Yeah, Kyary visited us for her TV program.”

“Kyary came? That’s amazing! She’s really famous. How was it?” “Kyary came? That’s amazing! She’s really famous. How was it?”

“We did a huge cleanup before she arrived.” “We did a huge cleanup before she arrived.”

“Everyone complained at first that they didn’t want to do it.” “Everyone complained at first that they didn’t want to do it.”

“But once we got started it was kind of fun.” “But once we got started it was kind of fun.”

“The classroom was spotless!” “The classroom was spotless!”

“And?”

“Kyary came, but she just said a few words and then left. She didn’t even notice how clean the room was.” “Kyary came, but she just said a few words and then left. She didn’t even notice how clean the room was.”

“You must have been bummed after putting in all that effort.” “You must have been bummed after putting in all that effort.”

“A bit . . . but we all felt refreshed somehow, and that helped us study better.” “A bit . . . but we all felt refreshed somehow, and that helped us study better.”

“That’s cool. Maybe a big star will visit my class one day.” “That’s cool. Maybe a big star will visit my class one day.”

“Do you want me to drop by?” “Do you want me to drop by?”

“Ha ha ha ha!” “Ha ha ha ha!”

The End

(Originally published in Japanese on October 3, 2017. Manga by Mokutan Angelo.)

  • [2017.10.20]

Born in Brazil. Inspired by Japanese manga at the age of 14, he decided to become a manga creator himself. Studied manga and Japanese and attended Tokyo Zōkei University as a graduate student from 2007. After graduation, worked at an IT corporation for five years. Was a manga representative at the opening ceremony for the 2015 Tokyo International Book Fair. Produces many manga works based on Zen, including the Mai zen daiarī (My Zen Diary) strip for the Japanese business magazine President Next.

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  • A Path to Peace: Knowing Enough Is EnoughAccepting life as it is, rather than chasing constantly multiplying desires, is a route to tranquility. The second of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips examines the phrase 知足安分 (chisoku anbun).
  • The Language of Zen: Words for a World of ChangeFamiliar people and places surround us, but we should recognize that each encounter is different. The first of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips tackles the phrase 一期一会 (ichigo ichie).

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