daruma & the zen bungalow

a zen bungalow daruma doll hanging out in our zen garden

this zen bungalow daruma decided to meditate in our zen garden

daruma is the father of zen buddhism.   as with many religious figures, his "likeness" is represented across a variety of icons.  for the first time last week i learned some very interesting facts about one type of icon -- the daruma doll.

in japan, daruma dolls hold special significance for those embarking on new ventures or who find themselves in a period of transition (here's a short blog post i wrote on the subject).   i particularly like the fact that new daruma dolls lack pupils.  new owners fill in one pupil (usually the left) to mark the start of their journey toward achieving a goal.  the second pupil is filled in upon attaining that goal.

to say this struck a chord within my own soul would be a serious understatement. not only is the zen bungalow a relatively new venture itself (less than 4 months old as i write this), but the environment we are establishing is intentionally focused upon nurturing businesses and individuals embarking on new paths.  this makes the tradition behind daruma dolls particularly relevant to our purpose.  so relevant that i have decided to make them an integral part of our own culture.

starting this month, new members of the zen bungalow will receive a daruma doll to mark the start of their journeys.  though we may start with many winking (one-eyed) darumas, it is my hope and desire to house a host of wide-eyed darumas in the months and years to come.

zen and the art of small business

Daruma dolls have their genesis with the father of Zen Buddhism...

daruma dolls are a tangible reminder of the enlightement achieved by the father of zen buddhism. (photo credit :: american express open)

as this recent article on goal setting astutely pointed out, "it's not that people don't know how to set a goal.   it's that they have a hard time keeping it."

i was drawn to this article because of its title (referring to "zen luck"),  and was especially pleased to learn about the significance of the daruma doll in japanese culture.  apparently, daruma dolls are  given to individuals taking on a new challenge or direction (which can include starting a new venture or setting a significant goal).    at the start of this journey, the recipient of the doll makes a wish and paints in one eye (usually the left).  the other eye is painted when the goal is achieved.

Children of the 1970's, do you remember "weebles" ("weebles wobble but they won't fall down")?  the creator of the weeble must have been a zen practitioner, as weebles are just like a well-made daruma doll -- "bouncing back to regain its balance, and symbolizing an undaunted spirit and recovery from misfortune."

We have a quotation hanging in the zen bungalow that reads "failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.  -- henry ford."   i guess ford was a zen practitioner, too.    whether you're a successful capitalist or enlightened buddhist monk, however, the lesson remains the same.

in pursuit of our goals, we will be knocked over.  many times.  the key to achieving our goals lies in reminding ourselves to emulate daruma.   happy 2011!