Buddhist philosophy permeates Japanese aesthetics, resulting in temples and temple gardens of unequaled beauty. Traditional art and architecture of Japan reflect the Buddhist teaching that all things are impermanent and constantly changing. The arts encourage appreciation of the present moment, in all its imperfection.
Japanese aesthetics are defined by the term wabi-sabi. "Wabi" refers to simple, austere and understated beauty. Something imperfect or even inadequate is more prized than something excessive. Moderation is preferred to ostentation; "just enough" is better than "too much."
"Sabi" means "to rust" and expresses an appreciation of something old and worn. A dark patina of age is preferred to glittery newness. Sabi also applies to something that evokes tranquility, quietness and solitude.
On the other hand, Japan is a land of giant Buddhas, ornate temple gates and a pavilion covered with real gold. Sometimes ostentation is beautiful, too.
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