Mar 2, 2020

It was wonderful to introduce Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living online to a Japanese audience at the kind invitation of Kiyoko Inoue of Nagasaki Mindfulness Center. Even more special, as it was in the month of the 75th remembrance year of the tragedies ending World War II.

I appreciated very much the sensitive work of the translator trying to express Western concepts into Japanese language. Already the translation of ‘compassion’ was not straight forward, often being understood as ‘pity’ rather than a healthy way of relating to suffering.

The Japanese have a beautiful and very helpful metaphor, taken from the art of Kintsugi. In this ancient craft, broken pottery is mended with a lacquer mixed with gold. The repaired bowl becomes more beautiful than the original one, because its imperfections are not hidden but highlighted with shining gold. A wonderful way to view the practice of compassion: gathering the shattered pieces of what is broken in our lives, mending the cracks in relationships - with and within ourselves, and with each other - and letting imperfections shine golden.