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22 May 2016

Peace Like a River

I've been toying with the idea of trying my hand at sumi-e for a long time. Even bought a book, and The Daddy brought me a number of cool supplies from various trips to Japan he's taken over the past several years. But I've been too chicken to have a serious go at it.

Now I've got a verse that I want use to create an art to hang up.

O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments—then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.

It's beautiful in Japanese:


There's a number of things here that make me love this more in Japanese. If you hearken is fantastic: ​聞き​従ったら. 聞 means to listen, and 従 is to obey/submit. They're used in a compound verb, so it's both to listen and to obey/submit: hearken.

The way they build the word for peace is also extremely descriptive.  平安 means both peace and tranquility, and it's a compound where 平 means even, flat, or peace, and my dictionary says 安 means relax, quiet, contented and peaceful. So to wrap that all up, a flat, even, quiet, peaceful scene -- in this context, a smooth, peaceful river.

Your peace will be like a river.

If we want the blessing - the peace of a smooth, calm river - then we need to comply with the law upon which the blessing is predicated. Which is to say, we need to keep the commandments. So, if we're missing the peace, then we need to look for the commandment that we're neglecting. In my case this week, I think it was forgiveness. And as soon as I realized that, and asked for help, then the peace started to roll back in.

I want to remember this, and I think it would be cool if I could learn to do something like this:

It's going to take me some time to learn to do something like that, but I found this, and thought it was a good place to start. Looks like it should be pretty straight-forward to follow -- and I even understand part of the instructions he's giving!


Anne Chovies said...

I very much like your thought: "So, if we're missing the peace, then we need to look for the commandment that we're neglecting." I'll be very interested to see how your sumi-e turns out when you get it done.

Ritsumei said...

I think I need to learn some more: my first attempt last night I wasn't unhappy with it, until it started running. But then the paint didn't stay where I put it, so I need to figure out what's going on with that, and if I need to use dryer paint, or if the paper is really meant for something else. I might try doing this on watercolor paper, and see how that works. I'll show you when I have something that's working!


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