Taking the time to go into nature to find just the right plant to bonsai begins a most interesting and satisfying journey of consciousness with a new friend. It is symbolic of a spiritual, emotional, physical journey resulting in gathering a new companion in life.
The art of Bonsai is said to have begun as a spiritual quest in ancient China.
The oldest proofs remaining of plants being considered spiritual or artistic representations is found in records from ancient China “from the Tang Dynasty”. Penjing translated in English takes 4 words to give the complete word picture. It means pen-pot-container-scenery. Much easier just to draw a picture, isn’t it?
The Chinese have long been a culture giving serious respect to the past and especially to their ancestors. As a result, they have preserved records of their culture proving them to be the oldest civilization on earth. Penjing and Bonsai are peaceful traditions because they preserve honor for the created world.
Bonsai in Japanese best translates in English as “tray tree, ” or “tree grown in a pot, ” or “tree planted in a pot.” None of the English words convey the true meaning of bonsai. I think, rather, the movie, “Karate Kid,” best depicts the symbolic relationship existing in the ancient Japanese art of bonsai.
In the movie the tree to be gathered was already identified. The quest became the journey signifying the relationship between the spiritual, emotional, and physical parts of life.
The bonsai or penjing pictured was rescued from the wild the week of September 12, 2007. It had been mowed over for many, many years and seemed to shout out at me to rescue it from the terrible fate soon again to cut back it’s few springs of growth.
I had to cut the tap root back quite severely to remove it for it had grown for many years into the snarled ugly root stub in the picture. I felt concerned it would survive. And, indeed, it may not.
It is now starting to show the effects of being so rudely transported. If you want to begin to learn about the art, reading this is a good beginning. It’s free. Bonsai or penjing can be a very expensive but rewarding hobby!
There are many beautiful pots designed for the hobby. There are societies formed to join. And, like any hobbies, the practice of it takes time.
You can begin with any old pot, look any place where plants grow for a specimen to begin your new hobby. I suggest you don’t go right out and buy all the trappings. Bonsai or penjing require a lot of care and attention. They have to be watered daily. They need the proper place in which to thrive.
In essence, they are living, growing things. As such, they require more care than plastic stuff requires. If you’re not willing to give the proper amount of time, do yourself a favor, buy fake plants.