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Zenís 7 Ruling Design Principles

Zenís 7 Ruling Design Principles

Zenís seven ruling principles are guiding lights of design. Once you read them they make real sense for an authentic design plan for your home.

Asymmetry (Fukinsei): Stiff, formal symmetry, suggesting frozen finality and artificial perfection, can be fatal to the imagination. Asymmetry lets us be loose and spontaneousómore human than godlike. It means we can get by with oneóor threeócandlesticks, and all the china doesnít have to match.

Simplicity (Kanos): Zen eschews gaudy, ornate, and over embellished in favor of sparse, fresh, and neat. Itís the triumph of craftsman style over the cluttered Victorian parlor.

Austerity (Koko): Zen asks us to reduce everything to ďthe pith of essence.Ē Donít love it? Canít find a use for it? Let it go.

Naturalness (Shizen): Zen is artless, without pretense or self-consciousness. Itís bare wood, unpolished stone, and flowers from the backyard.

Subtle Profundity (Yugen): Within Zen lies a deep reserve, a mysterious, shadowy darkness. The hint of soft moonlight thorugh a skylight would be yugen.

Freedom from Worldly Attachments (Datsuzoku): The Buddha taught us not to be bound to life, things, or rules. ďIt is not a strong bond, say the wise, that is made of iron, wood, or hemp,Ē he said. ďFar greater an attachment than that is the longing for jewels and ornaments, children and wives.Ē Itís the simplicity movement, not keeping up with the Joneses.

Silence (Sejaku): Inwardly oriented, Zen embraces the quiet calm of dawn, dusk, late autumn, and early spring.

Read more: Crafts & Design, Feng Shui & Organizing, Green Home Decor

Adapted from The Wabi-Sabi House by Robyn G. Lawrence (Clarkson Potter, 2004).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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7:13PM PST on Jan 14, 2011

Clutter semms to bring confusion

1:31PM PDT on Aug 5, 2010

When your home is clean and uncluttered so are you. Show me a dirty house, and behold so is the owner!

12:36AM PDT on Jun 19, 2009

mega kabin

1:24AM PDT on Jun 28, 2008

As long as the Zen home had touches of colour I might be okay. I see this article as a good outline or starting point to living a less cluttered life. We have never had matching china and I hate matching living room furniture, I have always mixed old and new and loved it. I hate anything too bland or regimented, but then I have a creative eclectic personality! Have fun. - Healing Energy from Nature

11:07PM PDT on Jun 26, 2008

nice to look at but difficult to live in such a house and maintain it... I mean where do you keep your shoes, old news papers, laundry?

2:49PM PDT on Jun 26, 2008

But all very impersonal. I would feel really ill at ease in a zen house.

1:15PM PDT on Jun 26, 2008

This is really nice. I particularly like the last Silence. Thank you, Annie, makes sense, looks and feels and sounds good.

11:17AM PDT on Jun 26, 2008

Yes, I want to know more too....thats my style...lots of space and no clutter...

11:00PM PDT on Jun 19, 2008

Wow I want to know more

3:49PM PDT on Jun 5, 2008

It's definetly a great destressing tool.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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