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There’s a pervasive Japanese archetype that spans centuries: the minimalist, searching for meaning by forsaking material attachments.

From Matsuo Basho (1644-94), the most famous wandering poet, to distinctly modern offshoots such as Marie Kondo, and her particular brand of minimalism (keep only what sparks joy to make space for more), this tradition taps into the universal appeal and accompanying cognitive dissonance of a fundamental question of Buddhism: Can humans ever eliminate desire and attachment?

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