Heaven and Earth Are Flowers: reflections on ikebana and buddhism
In this lovely, meditative exploration of Ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arranging - the author shows us how her twin paths of Buddhist practice and artistic endeavour converge and indeed become thoroughly intertwined. In reflecting on the fading of a lovely bloom, Stamm understands impermanence; when she shows us the natural symmetry of a blossom, we find that we too have regained our balance. Her elegant, lush voice weaves childhood memories of her mother's joy at a just-bloomed morning glory with meditations on the symbolic importance of bamboo, of pine, of the lily. She shares stories of her travels to Japan where she learnt the essential principles of ikebana with masters in centuries-old Buddhist temples, and lets us join her as she teaches flower arranging to women in a nursing home who, though they won't recall tomorrow the rules of arrangement or even the flowers names, nonetheless partake in the joy and love that celebrates all living things, however briefly they endure.