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State University of New York Press
The Japanese Arts and Self-Cultivation

The Japanese Arts and Self-Cultivation

by Robert E. Carter, Eliot Deutsch


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Explores how spiritual values are learned and mind and body developed through the practice of the Japanese arts.

It is through the practice of the arts, and not through rules or theory that moral and spiritual values are taught in Japan. Author Robert E. Carter examines five arts (or “ways” in Japan): the martial art of aikido, Zen landscape gardening, the Way of Tea, the Way of Flowers, and pottery making. Each art is more than a mere craft, for each takes as its goal not just the teaching of ethics but the formation of the ethical individual. Transformation is the result of diligent practice and each art recognizes the importance of the body. Training the mind as well as the body results in important insights, habits, and attitudes that involve the whole person, both body and mind.

This fascinating book features the author’s interviews with masters of the arts in Japan and his own experiences with the arts, along with background on the arts and ethics from Japanese philosophy and religion. Ultimately, the Japanese arts emerge as a deep cultural repository of ideal attitudes and behavior, which lead to enlightenment itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791472545
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 11/08/2007
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 197
Sales rank: 896,981
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Robert E. Carter is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Trent University in Canada. His many books include Encounter with Enlightenment: A Study of Japanese Ethics, also published by SUNY Press.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Eliot Deutsch




The Bodymind
Unification of Body and Mind
Meditation as a Path
The Resultant Transformation
A Brief Map

2. Aikido—The Way of Peace

The Beginnings
Aikido: One and Not One
Aikido and Budo
A Spiritual Way
Aikido and Ethics
The Value and Worth of the Other
Aikido and Sports
Letting Go of the Ego

3. Landscape Gardening as Interconnectedness

The Shinto Influence
The Buddhist Influence
Zen-Inspired Gardens
Masuno’s Gardens
I and Thou
The Ethics of Gardens

4. The Way of Tea (Chado)—To Live without Contrivance

Background to the Way of Tea
Zen and Pure Land
From Sen no Rikyu to Sen Genshitsu XV
The Lineage
Beyond Language

5. The Way of Flowers (Ikebana)—Eternity

Is in the Moment
Zen and Ikebana
Shinto and Ikebana
The Koan of Living by Dying and Dying by Living
Reflections of a Pioneer
The Principle of Three
A Culture of Flowers

6. The Way of Pottery—Beauty Is in the Abdomen

Non-Dualistic Awareness
Hamada: Teacher and Collector
. . . and Ethics?


Ethics and Self-Transformation
The Train to Takayama
Attitudes Revisited


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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Carter's new book provides readers with a fine introduction to several classical Japanese art forms, while it explains how these cultural arts function as 'Ways' that lead to spiritual realization. The author's many years of experience in this field are clearly evident, and the book will appeal to readers well familiar with these disciplines as well as novices.