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Snowflakes, Symbols of Individual Perfection


According to an ancient Zen proverb “A snowflake never falls in the wrong place.”

The beauty of snowflakes, their hypnotizing silhouettes and their mysterious formation process have made them the center of legends, symbols of purity and accurate proverbs spanning different cultures and philosophies.

One of the most widely spread suppositions about these minute ice crystals is that no two are alike ––assertion that has led scientists and artists to carry out arduous researches, photographing and comparing them for years on end. And although this belief has never been scientifically proven, it is an expression of the unrepeatable quality that defines us as humans and characterizes our universe and the events in our everyday world. There is not a single person, thing or circumstance that is identical to another.

But far from scientific explanations surrounding the formation of these flakes —the direction of the wind, humidity and temperature—, Zen philosophy has found in them a perfect symbol of life and the events that comprise it.

Based on their voyage across the terrestrial atmosphere and their final destination —adding to their incomparable lightness and beautiful forms— there is a Zen proverb that states: “A snowflake never falls in the wrong place”; or, in other words, nothing happens fortuitously.

This precept illustrates one of the fundamental principles of the Buddhist and Taoist philosophies: everything is perfect —in nature and in life there is no good or evil, right or wrong, just perfection. Coincidence then, is inexistent, both in nature and life.

This proverb —which combines a meteorological phenomenon as symbolic as snow and human subjectivity— leads us to question the value of the events of our past and the judgments we tend to make about them. In some way it offers us a comforting vision (as comforting as seeing snow fall) in our life and its design.

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