The definition of the Japanese words wabi sabi has changed over the years. At one time when the Japanese language was young, wabi meant "poverty," and sabi meant "loneliness." During the first major flowering of Japanese culture, "wabi" came to refer to the ideal hermit's life, lived in contemplation of nature and appreciation of the spiritual and aesthetic values underlying a solitary existence. His was a wabi way. The Japanese tea masters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries developed a wabi style of tea ceremony as an alternative to the ornate and ostentatious ceremony in which the aristocracy would show off their valuable tea objects and forge political alliances. "Sabi" was refined over the years to emphasize a state of receptivity, fostered in remote natural settings. This positive aloneness was joined to the wabi appreciation of the understated and unrefined to form a phrase with deep resonance for the contemplative mind. People would dream of living in simple enlightened appreciation of nature.
Source: Wabi Sabi for Writers: Find Inspiration. Respect Imperfection. Create Peerless Beauty., Pages: 6
Contributed by: Richard