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Heaven and Earth Are Flowers

Reflections on Ikebana and Buddhism

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In this lovely meditation on ikebana - the Japanese art of flower arranging - Joan Stamm shows us how her twin paths of Buddhist practice and artistic endeavor converge and indeed become thoroughly intertwined.

Stamm's lush, elegant 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 takes us with her on her travels to Japan as she learns the essential principles of ikebana, 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. And, when Joan shows us the natural symmetry of a blossom, we find that we too have regained our balance.

Includes 16 full-color photographs of the author's original ikebana.

Joan D. Stamm received shihan, formal authorization to teach, from the Saga School of Ikebana headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Her essays have appeared in Utne Reader, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, The Best Spiritual Writing series, Weber Journal and other publications. She currently lives on Orcas Island, WA.

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (November 12, 2012)
  • Length: 184 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861718696

"This is a gentle book, beautiful and meditative, that goes right to the heart of ikebana. It is a book that I will recommend to my students to take their understanding to a different plane."

– Diane Norman, author of Ikebana: A Fresh Look at Japanese Flower Arranging

"In this subtle arrangement of real life and ancient teachings, Joan Stamm shows how attention to a single flower reveals ageless wisdom. A loving tribute to a living art."

– Karen Maezen Miller, author of Momma Zen

"The author shapes stem, leaf, and blossom into a dharma of living beauty."

– Lin Jensen, author of Bad Dog! and Together Under One Roof