It feels somewhat bizarre to say that I realized about Zen Buddhist philosophy from an previous Anthony Bourdain episode, however right here we’re. I realized about Zen Buddhist philosophy from an previous Anthony Bourdain episode.
This was his CNN present, Elements Unknown, an episode referred to as “Japan with Masa”, by which Bourdain travels with New York-based sushi chef Masa Takayama to Kanazawa, Tokyo and past. In a single scene, the pair be a part of a bunch of Takayama’s previous associates in a rustic home in Yamanaka Onsen to grill meals, drink sake, and luxuriate in one another’s firm.
And that is when Takayama introduces an historic Japanese idea: Ichi-go ichi-e.
Although the literal translation of this phrase is “one time, one assembly”, the idea is best described as “for this time solely”, or “as soon as in a lifetime”. It means, basically, that this second is exclusive – it should by no means occur once more. Even when you get these identical individuals collectively on this identical place and do these identical issues, the second won’t ever be the identical. This second, proper now, won’t ever happen once more.
And so “ichi-go ichi-e” is an idea designed to understand and have fun that truth. It is a reminder that this second, proper now, is gorgeous and superb and completely distinctive. It can by no means, ever occur once more. So, you higher get pleasure from it.
I have been interested by that ever since. It has been days now, per week perhaps, since I noticed that previous episode, and it has been on my thoughts always.
Perhaps I am somewhat late the celebration, however I had by no means heard of ichi-go ichi-e earlier than (and this from somebody who’s pretty obsessive about Japan). The historical past of the idea will be traced again to Japanese tea ceremonies, and particularly to Sixteenth-century tea grasp Sen no Rikyu, who instructed his apprentices to offer respect to their hosts as if it had been a gathering that would solely happen as soon as in a lifetime.
The concept was refined to grow to be ichi-go ichi-e, and it developed hyperlinks to Zen Buddhism; finally, it was even linked to the singular mindset required for Japanese martial arts.
However why, you may assume, was this so profound for me to find, and the way does it relate to journey?
Basically, it places a reputation to one thing I have been pursuing for a very long time now. I am an enormous believer in by no means making an attempt to recreate previous journey experiences. You may revisit the identical locations when you love them, you may return to the identical venues, however every time you must do it afresh, as a result of it should by no means be the identical. It can by no means really feel the identical. The important thing to profitable, pleasant journey is accepting that.
I’ve additionally written earlier than about “moments”, these tiny segments of time that outline our travelling lives, that grow to be our reminiscences, that we treasure without end. We have a tendency to not keep in mind complete journeys, or days and even hours, however fleeting moments of travelling perfection, when issues simply fall into place and you’ve got this virtually out-of-body expertise and immediately admire the enjoyment and the surprise and the unbelievable luck of the factor you occur to be doing.
I travelled as soon as with a man who used to yell out, “I am having a second!” He’d do that on a mountaineering path, in a bar, on a road nook. Only a recognition of perfection. Little did he know, I am certain, that he was following an historic Zen Buddhist practise.
There’s one thing so profoundly lovely about recognising perfection, and acknowledging and accepting that it’s going to by no means occur once more. This second won’t ever occur once more. Nothing you may ever do or try to realize will achieve making this actual once more.
So that you get pleasure from it. You reside it and breathe it and style it and contact it. You have fun it for all its value.
In case you’re pondering that this sounds very very similar to the fashionable trendy idea of “mindfulness”, then you definately’re most likely proper. And although I shudder somewhat as I write this, I believe I agree with it.
I’ve made acutely aware makes an attempt throughout my travelling life to understand moments, and to recognise that they may by no means occur once more. That information, I believe, makes you much more conscious of the superb fortune that we travellers have to have the ability to see the world in a method that is designed completely for our enjoyment.
I’ve all the time tried to simply accept, too, that every one the chums I make once I journey will go their separate methods finally, and these instances we share won’t ever be relived. Positive, I am going to meet up with them once more, elsewhere, underneath completely different circumstances, and that can be nice too – however we’ll all have modified. Every little thing could have modified. We will by no means return.
You need to have fun the individuals round you and the instances you share on the actual second you have got them there in entrance of you. That is the important thing to journey.
Ichi-go ichi-e. As soon as in a lifetime. By no means once more.
What do you consider this idea? Is it one thing you apply to your travelling life? Or to your life basically? What do you keep in mind as the best moments of your journey?
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