The Dharma of Flower Arrangement
If our hearts could speak, their thoughts would be expressed through flower arrangement. Though a cultivator's mind may be kept silent, it is the display of genuine truth, goodness and beauty.
The Lotus Sutra says, "Flowers and fruit grow together, watered by the rain, yet the grass and trees are all different." True flower arrangement allows grass and plants from all corners to demonstrate their vitality while adapting to, as well as beautifying the environment. --Master Cheng Yen's Dharma of Flower Arrangement.
From ancient times people have cherished flowers and associated them with beauty. In China, the earliest flower arrangement began with the Buddhist practice of offering flowers to the Buddha. The beauty of flower arrangements was enjoyed by all. So the Buddhist practice of offering flowers in the temples was gradually adapted by lay people from all walks of life and became a trend.
Chinese scholars began practicing flower arrangement in the Tang and Song dynasties, and became more prevalent in the Yuan and Ming dynasties. The focus was on the aesthetic being appealing but formal. People in the Song Dynasty considered flower arrangement, incense burning, hanging paintings,and tea ceremonies as four types of art.
In her recent book, “The Goodness and Beauty of Flower Arranging,”Dharma Master Depu described the origin of flower arrangement.
Multi-talented in the art of flower arranging, Master Depu remembers Master Cheng Yen's words, "In each flower there is a universe, and the Dharma in a leaf." It was these words that inspired her to adopt new ideas in flower arrangement, and to follow Master Cheng Yen's teachings that practitioners of Buddhism should practice the Dharma to benefit others. She artfully infuses the Dharma teachings by expressing harmony within the flower arrangement. Through the use of empty space integrating with the beauty of the flowers, it creates an internal and external Dharma cultivation of truth and beauty.
After years of teaching, Master Depu wrote “The Innumerable Meanings of Flower Arrangement” and “The Dharma of Flower Arrangement.” The first book incorporates teachings from the Sutra of Innumerable Meanings. The second book follows teachings from the Lotus Sutra. These books express the beauty of Buddhism at another level. If this message of goodness and beauty can be promoted through our chaotic society, it will instill a self-taught Dharma meditation of goodness and beauty.
Master Depu is grateful for all of Master Cheng Yen's teachings that she shares through the art of flower arrangement with other enthusiasts. We sincerely offer flowers to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and show goodness and gratitude towards our parents, all sentient beings, and our nation.