Bob Schwartz

Tag: Dogen

MUJI to Sleep: Minimalist Essential Wonderful Free App

MUJI Waterfall

Japanese retailer MUJI has a free gift for you. A tiny gift that will delight you and transform your phone or tablet into an instrument of wonder. MUJI for Sleep.

MUJI sells minimalist furniture, home goods, apparel, and other personal products—online and in a small number of stores in New York and California.

On their U.S. website, MUJI explains its philosophy:

MUJI is not a brand whose value rests in the frills and “extras” it adds to its products.
MUJI is simplicity – but a simplicity achieved through a complexity of thought and design.
MUJI’s streamlining is the result of the careful elimination and subtraction of gratuitous features and design unrelated to function.
MUJI, the brand, is rational, and free of agenda, doctrine, and “isms.” The MUJI concept derives from us continuously asking, “What is best from an individual’s point of view?”
MUJI aspires to modesty and plainness, the better to adapt and shape itself to the styles, preferences, and practices of as wide a group of people as possible. This is the single most important reason people embrace MUJI.

MUJI sells a successful line of sleep products for travel. Which explains the MUJI to Sleep campaign, featuring their Neck Pillow and the MUJI to Sleep app to go with it.

Simplicity and minimalism hardly describe the app. It has five screens to swipe through, each a different color, each with a brushstroke sketch of a scene, each scene with a flow of continuous sound: a river, a bird, a waterfall, a fire, a forest. There is a timer to keep it running for 30, 60, or 90 minutes. Touch on, touch pause. That’s it. As simple as a flashlight app. And more valuable.

You can fall asleep to MUJI of course, which is what it intends. Or you can play it as background for your activities or non-activities, a sort of aural incense. It will contribute to your life in ways unexpected and wonderful.

The MUJI to Sleep app currently has less than 100,000 downloads on Google Play. It should have millions.

When you have true practice, then valley sounds and colors, mountain colors and sounds, all reveal the eighty-four thousand verses. When you are free from fame, profit, body, and mind, the valleys and mountains are also free. Through the night the valley sounds and mountain colors do and do not actualize the eighty-four thousand verses. When your capacity to talk about valleys and mountains as valleys and mountains is not yet mature, who can see and hear you as valley sounds and mountain colors?

Zen Master Dogen
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye
Valley Sounds, Mountain Colors (1240)

Spring: Flowers in the Sky

The Plum Blossoms - Henri Matisse
This message for the start of spring comes from the masterpiece Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shobo Genzo) by Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen.

The passage is taken from Fascicle 44, Flowers in the Sky, written in 1243:

Thus, when the time comes, flowers open. This is the moment of flowers, the arrival of flowers. At this very moment of flowers arriving, there is no other way. Plum and willow flowers unfailingly bloom on plum and willow trees. You see the flowers and know plum and willow trees. You understand flowers by looking at plum and willow trees. Peach and apricot flowers have never bloomed on plum and willow trees. Plum and willow flowers bloom on plum and willow trees. Peach and apricot flowers bloom on peach and apricot trees. Flowers in the sky bloom in the sky in just this way. They do not bloom on other grasses or trees.

Seeing the colors of flowers in the sky, you fathom the limitlessness of fruit in the sky. Seeing the opening and falling of flowers in the sky, study the spring and autumn of flowers in the sky. The spring of flowers in the sky and the spring of other flowers should be the same. Just as there are a variety of flowers in the sky, there should be a variety of springtimes. This being so, there are springs and autumns in the past and present.

Those who assume that flowers in the sky are not real and other flowers are real have not seen or heard the Buddha’s teaching. To hear the words that the sky originally had no flowers and assume that the flowers in the sky that did not exist do exist now is a lesser view based on shallow thinking. Step forward and think deeply.