The concept of 守破離 (shu-ha-ri) has been applied to pursuits of all kinds over the years, including the tea ceremony, noh drama, and various martial and visual arts.
It describes three stages of development in a creative person: 守 (shu) means keeping or adhering to the form and rules of an art by following a teacher without question. 破 (ha) is the point of digression, a willful veering away from the tradition with the intent to explore. Finally, 離 (ri) refers to a transcendent state, achieved through long practice and focus, where the act of creating happens naturally and work of the highest order stems from the deepest roots of the artist’s being.

Tyler Rothmar, “At 104, Toko Shinoda talks about a life in art”.
In The Japan Times:


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