Over the past 7 years that I have been studying Ikebana, I have come to deeply appreciate this uniquely Japanese art form. It has been said that Japanese spirituality is epitomized in the concept of 道 (dou- path or way) which is difficult to translate as it is a truly Japanese concept. Through long and sustained practice, a striving for excellence, and developing a unique relationship with ones teacher and fellow students, skill and perception are gradually attained. This in turn leads to the responsibility of sharing oneʼs ability with others.
This event at Beijing University came about through a personal friendship between my teacher Nagai Sensei and one of her former students, who was a graduate student at Beijing University, and who invited us to participate in the annual Japanese culture festival sponsored by the Japanese exchange student organization.
The event was a great success- over 3oo students and press attended, and over 50 people joined the open Ikebana workshops to create their own small arrangements to bring home. We had hardly enough materials to accommodate the level of interest of the participants.
As the only non-Japanese member of the group, I felt it was an opportunity to confirm the motto of Sogetsu Ikebana – “Ikebana for anyone, anywhere, using any materials.” This is one of Japanʼs many precious gifts to the rest of the world.
Over 100 years ago, Abduʼl Baha foretold that Japan would play a unique role in the ʻspiritual reawakening of the entire worldʼ. The sensitivities that provide the foundation of Japanʼs various traditional art forms bear testament to this spiritual capacity. It is my sincere wish that through the universal language of the arts, Japan will make ever more significant contributions in the global scene.