Understanding Shibumi

Introduction

Shibumi is a learning centre for adults and young people.
For adults it offers a space where, through dialogue, one understands oneself and relationships in the light of J.Krishnamurti’s teachings. Only for the children of such interested adults, Shibumi offers a learning environment where they can grow and flower in goodness.

What are Krishnamurti’s Teachings?

It has been the immense cry of humanity to find something which will bring freedom from the misery of psychological conflict. We have struggled to find freedom through belief, the following of a saviour, the projection of heaven, meditation practices, the rule of law, and every kind of rationality and irrationality. But we have never ended the sense of being separate individuals psychologically, however closely attached to another.This inevitably brings about a sense of loneliness.

Krishnamurti’s lifework has been to examine rigorously the nature and process of psychological separation. This is not done through the assumption of a model and explanation in terms of that, but through the observation of one’s own action in daily life. In this observation we can see the way thought identifies with sensations thereby creating a sense of psychological identity and continuity in time. This is the source of psychological separation.

You can take a pause and see this phenomenon happening in yourself in the here and now.

Thus, as Krishnamurti points out that psychological separation is a construct of thought and can be ended. The ending of it is not through prayer or practice but through the choiceless awareness of the way one lives and functions in daily life. It is in this awareness that there is freedom from the assumptions and habitual patterns of thought which form the basis of our action and indeed our being.

Thus one’s daily life is where the work is.

For those who are interested, and who feel the total responsibility to live a life of order and freedom, which is indeed one’s responsibility to the whole of mankind, Krishnamurti’s teachings offer an invaluable and varied source of insight into our daily life.

The Intent of Shibumi

The intent of the centre is to explore a totally different movement of learning which nurtures the freedom to bring about clarity in the mind. Only when there is total freedom and the order that goes with it, can there be a meaningful relating to the whole of life and society. Can the adults together learn through self-observation, dialogue and the negation of that which is false, what it is to be attentive, to have love which is non-personal, and to act from a mind which is free of division? In relating to life in the presence of such adults the child has a sense of complete security and stability. From this ground, one can learn to function sanely in society and to acquire skills necessary to earn a  livelihood.

It seems that we are driven by a need for security. But can security become a demand for comfort through conformity to society? This transient and illusory state of security can only result in dependence, confusion, and alienation.

In spite of our immense capacity and progress both intellectually and technologically, we have remained the same psychologically; violent, full of anxiety, pleasure seeking and bereft of relationship to the whole of life.

There are some fundamental questions that shape the intent of Shibumi:

Can education in the truest sense, free the mind from conditioning?
Can there be deep questioning of all structures that limit us?
Is it possible to awaken the deepest intelligence a human being is capable of?
In such a state of awakening, can one come upon order, truth and the sacred?

Responsibility, discipline, earning a livelihood, excellence, compassion and relationship, all come together as one movement and not as fragmented parts to be strung together.

To conclude, Shibumi is primarily a centre where interested adults come together to embark on a journey of self-knowing through engagement with the teachings of Krishnamurti, individually and with each other. And in the light of this enquiry to bring up children in freedom.

What Shibumi is Not

For the adult

Shibumi is not a community one joins. It is not an ashram with a spiritual leader or authority figure. It is not a place for the comparative learning of different schools of thought. It is not a place for merely the intellectual understanding of Krishnamurti’s teachings. It is not a place for group therapy or fostering psychological dependence.

 For the young

Shibumi is not a place where the child is being trained to fit into a particular social strata. Nor is it a place where one can seek security through conformity to the aims and ambitions of society. It is not a place for a gifted child to focus on a particular talent at the expense of the whole human being. Nor is it a place merely to help a slow learner or a child with learning or behavioural difficulties to adapt to the system.

Shibumi’s primary concern is not academic achievement or training. It is excellence in living.

While a child’s particular interests are supported, the most important qualities nurtured are sensitivity and co-operation. When one lives without illusion, there is no choice but to act with compassion and care.

Shibumi is not a soft option. Its fundamental intent is to respond to the deepest challenges that humankind must face if it is to regenerate. Therefore, you as a parent should be free of confusion before you seek admission for your child in Shibumi.

Frequently asked questions

Aren’t children too young to engage with Krishnamurti’s philosophy? How will you impart the teachings of Krishnamurti to children?

Children are not going to engage with his philosophy in an intellectual or academic way, but are helped to examine the daily issues of relating, fear, comparison, hurt, sensitivity, joy, etc. This is done through dialogue and, very importantly, just by creating an environment of care and affection.

Will my child be isolated in following Krishnamurti’s philosophy?

There is no question of following or learning anything. We are not teaching a philosophy, but a capacity to inquire and question not only external things but also one’s feelings, emotions, beliefs, etc. A child will be helped to question and examine this process of seeking security in any sort of belief, idea or isolation, and to discover what it means to really be related.

We are isolated as long as we assume that we are psychologically separate. To be truly related one has to understand oneself.

What does the word Shibumi mean?

Shibumi is a Japanese word that means ‘effortless perfection’. Anything that is Shibumi is quiet in refinement, noble and fulfilling in a manner that is not shaped exclusively by analytical thought. In Japanese culture, Shibumi implies ‘a simplicity of spirit; an attitude of refinement without pretension, honesty without apology, beauty without artifice. Western mystics try to attain or achieve a state of inner peace, but Shibumi must be found, not won.’ Shibumi is understanding rather than knowledge, it is harmony in action. In art, it is understated beauty, articulate brevity. In philosophy, it is spiritual tranquility that is not passive; it is being without the angst of becoming.