Virtues of Bonsai
Bonsai Man and his Wife
The Bonsai Librarian
Pai Lo-Tien, 772-846
Pai Lo-Tien, a Chinese poet, wrote
Ten Virtues of Bonsai approximately 1200 years ago. To give you a point
of time reference, The Ten Virtues
of Bonsai were written 700 years before
Columbus traveled to America and 1000 years before our own Declaration
Independence. Pai was a great lover of stones, dwarf trees, and
with green moss. The ten virtues derive from the rules that governed
the community of Buddhist monks. Without the virtues as
guidelines, Zen monks along with Pai felt that bonsai would be reduced
to a mere hobby “made to fit the needs of
1. Bonsai cultivates one’s
and improves one’s
appearance. The bonsai practitioner cultivates trees which he selected
from among a variety of trees. If he pursues beauty only, he may feel
empty inside, become aware of his own ugliness, or wonder if he
should have selected unsophisticated, simple trees.
2. Bonsai purifies one’s soul and keeps one from impurity. Bonsai
is a reflection of his mind. The joy of cultivating bonsai brings
serenity to his mind. Visiting an exhibition of other’s bonsai
will stimulate him to examine himself: the bonsai will purify his
and uplift his spirit.
3. A practitioner of bonsai does not sin. If someone were to steal a
bonsai, he would surely sell it soon, for rare is the person shameless
enough to be able to enjoy daily viewing a stolen bonsai.
4. Bonsai relax the eyes and enable one to do without sleep.
Ophthalmologists in the feudal age observed that plants--especially
green ones-relax the eyes, and their observation is supported by modern
5. Bonsai herald the arrival of spring or autumn. A bonsai of a
blossoming apricot tree, representing spring, alleviates the cold of
midwinter, and a bonsai of a scarlet-leafed maple represents autumn.
6. Bonsai alleviate the heat of summer. A miniature landscape created
on a tray--in which trees with fresh leaves stand along a limpid
stream—alleviates the heat of summer. Graphic
representation of the four seasons is one of the charms of bonsai.
7. Bonsai live long. A cut flower lives but several days. A bonsai, on
the other hand, lives long because it has roots. Some bonsai have
survived hundreds of years owing to good care.
8. Bonsai offer scenic beauty. The greatest charm of bonsai: the
pleasure of appreciating natural beauty in a landscape created n a tray
with plants, stone, and sand. Bonsai can represent, for example,
a forest of tall trees, steep mountains, and expanse of
field at the foot of a mountain, or a cliff above a choppy sea. Such
landscapes can substitute for a sightseeing trip.
9. Bonsai afford the pleasure of viewing a rocky cavern.
10. Bonsai afford the pleasure of viewing seaside scenery.
and His Wife”
by Nanci Strickland, Former
Written to honor Bud Stout in appreciation for five years of service to
The Villages Bonsai Club
Bonsai Man sits and ponders
Thinking to himself,
“Should I trim that limb
or sit the tree on the shelf?”
Looking, feeling with his fingers,
The tree’s various options,
Bonsai Man sighs and ponders
While sipping a cup of tea.
Suddenly, it occurs to him,
“A tilting of the tree might do.”
As he leans it one way then the other,
Twisting, turning, around and around,
Settling on a new position,
The limb needs no cut at all,
Just a new pot and repotting.
Jumping up in glee,
Bonsai Man turns to see
His lovely wife in full agreement,
While sipping on her tea.
Off to the garage they march
Bonsai Man and his wife,
For you see,
The two of then so appreciate
The Beauty of the Tree.
Ode to Betty Rogers for 5 years of dedicated service to
The Villages Bonsai Club
by Nanci Strickland, Former Club President
Bonsai Betty, caring and sharing,
Patiently waiting, urging members
“Stop by, check out an item or two”
Located in the library at her fingertips.
Oh, the information she does impart
From her brain and with such heart.
Alas, for the Bonsai Librarian
Just a few small “blips”
Of members not returning items
To her fingertips.
But, throughout the many years
Nothing is amiss,
Thanks to the energetic little lady
Watching over items loaned to all of us.