A zen garden is meant to be a meditative place, free from distractions and conveying a sense of infinity and emptiness.Tip Zen gardens were originally created as places for Buddhist monks to meditate and absorb the teachings of the Buddha.Modern Japanese zen gardens are meant to be serene places where the mind can be at rest, and you can experience a state of calm tranquility.It dates back 2,500 years to a man from India named Siddhartha Gautama, who established the concept of zen and is often called the Buddha.The zen garden sand is often raked into forms that mimic an ocean, with the rocks representing islands in that water.While in the zen garden landscape, it's hoped that the mind will find a tranquil place to rest and experience awareness and emptiness. .
Why do you need a Zen garden?
Zen, as the definition goes, is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures.It has mental as well as psychological health benefits,” says Manita Bajaj, CEO, Sattva Life.Zen gardens use rocks and gravel or sand to recreate the essence of nature.While dealing with a stressed mind during work hours, one can take out time to re-rake the pattern on the Zen garden since it can help in changing the mind pattern and making it peaceful and calm naturally.”Firstly, maintaining a Zen garden takes your concentration away from the regular stress to the elements of nature.By focusing on the space rather than the rocks, one can begin to understand the Buddhist ideal of emptiness and appreciate life’s beauty. .
Why do zen gardens relieve stress?
No matter how long you stare at this famous Zen garden, you won’t see all 15 of its rocks from any single vantage point.On the fourth side is a wide wooden verandah, where visitors stand or sit, and stare.1 / 12 1 / 12
Known for its moss garden, bamboo grove, and maple trees, Giou-ji Temple belongs to the Soto School, the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen.Known for its moss garden, bamboo grove, and maple trees, Giou-ji Temple belongs to the Soto School, the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen.You see how the river stones are arranged in exquisitely straight lines and then in rippling circles around the rocks, the two shapes somehow seamlessly merging; how the glazed wall that surrounds the garden is rough and textured, like a piece of priceless pottery; how the garden’s design subtly embraces the cherry, maple, cedar, and pine trees beyond the wall; how the garden itself expresses and reflects the tranquil tension between sky and stone, petal and pebble.In order to apprehend the garden in its entirety, you have to find the fifteenth rock in your mind.While there is no precise definition, traditionally we think of the Zen garden as a spare, somewhat abstract arrangement of rocks, gravel, and minimal greenery, meant to embody serenity and inspire reflection.When you walk through the garden at Saiho-ji, your pace slows, your heart quiets, your mind freshens.You stop and stare at a four-inch-square patch of moss and realize what a universe of hues and textures it holds.You lose yourself in contemplation of rippling brown-green-blue reflections of bough, bridge, and sky, or the gnarled arc of a venerable cedar, its sanctity symbolized by the shimenawa straw rope the monks have placed around it.You breathe in more deeply, focus more clearly; your senses become acutely attuned to the crunch of your soles on the rock-paved path, the earthy scent of sun-warmed moss, the springy caress of a cushioned mound, the rustle of breeze-blown leaves and shoosh-shoosh-shoosh of the gardener’s bamboo broom.Whether in Kyoto or taking a 360-degree, virtual stroll on the city’s Zen landscapes—wandering through a Zen garden immerses us in a world of serenity, beauty, and grace, lifts our minds and souls to a gentler place, and reminds us that whatever our situation, wherever we may be, taking the time to stop, breathe deeply, and truly see can bestow a precious, and renewing, tranquility.Intrinsically appealing and healing, the Zen garden speaks to something deep inside all of us: the need for quiet, contemplation, calm.Happily, you don’t have to travel to Japan to experience these gifts; garden designers around the world have utilized Zen principles and practices to create adaptations in their own homelands.Countries with especially notable Japanese gardens include Scotland, New Zealand, India, Canada, Australia, and the United States.Opened in 1973, the Fort Worth Japanese Garden is a spectacular 7.5-acre strolling garden, highlighted by cherry trees, maples, magnolias, and bamboo, as well as bridges and ponds enlivened by some 1,200 colorful koi fish. .
Japanese dry garden
It creates a miniature stylized landscape through carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. A zen garden is usually relatively small, surrounded by a wall or buildings, and is usually meant to be seen while seated from a single viewpoint outside the garden, such as the porch of the hojo, the residence of the chief monk of the temple or monastery.They were intended to imitate the essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid to meditation about the true meaning of existence.They adapted the Chinese garden philosophy of the Song Dynasty (960–1279), where groups of rocks symbolized Mount Penglai, the legendary mountain-island home of the Eight Immortals in Chinese mythology, known in Japanese as Horai.This kind of garden featured either rocks placed upright like mountains, or laid out in a miniature landscape of hills and ravines, with few plants.The ocean style featured rocks that appeared to have been eroded by waves, surrounded by a bank of white sand, like a beach.White sand and gravel had long been a feature of Japanese gardens.In the Shinto religion, it was used to symbolize purity, and was used around shrines, temples, and palaces.In zen gardens, it represents water, or, like the white space in Japanese paintings, emptiness and distance.The Muromachi period in Japan, which took place at roughly the same time as the Renaissance in Europe, was characterized by political rivalries which frequently led to wars, but also by an extraordinary flourishing of Japanese culture.Zen Buddhism was introduced into Japan at the end of the 12th century, and quickly achieved a wide following, particularly among the Samurai class and war lords, who admired its doctrine of self-discipline.But in Kyoto in the 14th and 15th century, a new kind of garden appeared at the important zen temples."Nature, if you made it expressive by reducing it to its abstract forms, could transmit the most profound thoughts by its simple presence", Michel Baridon wrote."The compositions of stone, already common in China, became in Japan, veritable petrified landscapes, which seemed suspended in time, as in certain moments of Noh theater, which dates to the same period.The lower garden of Saihō-ji is in the traditional Heian period style; a pond with several rock compositions representing islands.This garden appears to have been strongly influenced by Chinese landscape painting of the Song Dynasty, which feature mountains rising in the mist, and a suggestion of great depth and height.The garden at Tenryū-ji has a real pond with water and a dry waterfall of rocks looking like a Chinese landscape.Saihō-ji and Tenryū-ji show the transition from the Heian style garden toward a more abstract and stylized view of nature.The scene was called ginshanada, literally "sand of silver and open sea".This garden feature became known as kogetsudai, or small mountain facing the moon, and similar small Mount Fuji made of sand or earth covered with grass appeared in Japanese gardens for centuries afterwards.The stones are surrounded by white gravel, which is carefully raked each day by the monks.The garden is meant to be viewed from a seated position on the veranda of the hōjō, the residence of the abbot of the monastery.The invention of the zen garden was closely connected with developments in Japanese ink landscape paintings.Japanese painters such as Sesshū Tōyō (1420–1506) and Soami (died 1525) greatly simplified their views of nature, showing only the most essential aspects of nature, leaving great areas of white around the black and gray drawings.Michel Baridon wrote, "The famous zen gardens of the Muromachi period showed that Japan had carried the art of gardens to the highest degree of intellectual refinement that it was possible to attain.In 1940, the temple commissioned the landscape historian and architect Shigemori Mirei to recreate the gardens.He made one garden with five artificial hills covered with grass, symbolizing the five great ancient temples of Kyoto; a modern rock garden, with vertical rocks, symbolizing Mount Horai; a large "sea" of white gravel raked in a checkboard pattern; and an intimate garden with swirling sand patterns.In the last century, zen gardens have appeared in many countries outside Japan.In the first known manual of Japanese gardening, the Sakuteiki ("Records of Garden Making"), is expressed as "setting stones", ishi wo tateru koto; literally, the "act of setting stones upright.".Smooth, rounded sedimentary rocks are used for the borders of gravel "rivers" or "seashores.In Japanese gardens, individual rocks rarely play the starring role; the emphasis is upon the harmony of the composition.The act of raking the gravel into a pattern recalling waves or rippling water, known as samon (砂紋) or hōkime (箒目), has an aesthetic function.Rakes are according to the patterns of ridges as desired and limited to some of the stone objects situated within the gravel area. This type of muted black-speckled granite is a mix of three main minerals, white feldspar, grey quartz, and black mica which matches the aesthetic for most zen gardens.Shirakawa-suna also has an eroded texture that alternates between jagged and smooth and is prized for its ability to hold raked grooves, with patterns lasted weeks unless weather, animals or humans intervene.Since the banning of extraction from the Shirakawa River the gravel used for both maintenance of existing gardens and the creation of new ones is sourced from quarried mountain granite of similar composition that is crushed and sieved. For instance the Portland Japanese Garden experimented with granite chips sourced from Canadian quarries to compensate for the loss of access to Shirakawa-suna.Some classical zen gardens, like Daisen-in, have symbolism that can be easily read; it is a metaphorical journey on the river of life.Many different theories have been put forward about what the garden is supposed to represent, from islands in a stream to swimming baby tigers to the peaks of mountains rising above the clouds to theories about secrets of geometry or of the rules of equilibrium of odd numbers.The researchers claim the subconscious mind is sensitive to a subtle association between the rocks. The critique comes down to the fact that Buddhist priests were not trying to express Zen in gardens.A review of the quotes of Buddhist priests that are taken to "prove" Zen for the garden are actually phrases copied from Chinese treatises on landscape painting.In Japan the critique was taken over by Yamada Shouji who took a critical stance to the understanding of all Japanese culture, including gardens, under the nominator of Zen. Christian Tagsold summarized the discussion by placing perceptions of the Japanese garden in the context of an interdisciplinary comparison of cultures of Japan and the West.Zen priests quote from Chinese treatises on landscape painting indicating that the Japanese rock garden, and its karesansui garden scenery was and still is inspired by or based on first Chinese and later also Japanese landscape painting.Though each garden is different in its composition, they mostly use rock groupings and shrubs to represent a classic scene of mountains, valleys and waterfalls taken from Chinese landscape painting. .
How Japanese Rock Gardens Became Expressions of Zen
Intended to stimulate meditation, these beautiful gardens (also known as dry landscapes) strip nature to its bare essentials and primarily use sand and rocks to bring out the meaning of life.Let’s look at the history of how sand and stones transformed culture, as well as some of the world’s best Japanese rock gardens.Zen philosophy was introduced into Japan from China in the 12th century and became quite popular with samurais and warlords who admired it for its focus on control and self-discipline.In the 14th and 15th centuries, during the Muromachi period—which was happening at the same time as the Italian Renaissance—special gardens began to appear at Zen temples.By stripping out water features and using stones, they were making a timeless landscape that was almost abstract in form.Water was represented carefully raking the sand into wavelike patterns, while the garden was often designed to be viewed from one perspective on a platform.Arranged in a balanced (but not symmetrical) fashion, and often in groups of threes, the seeming simplicity of a Japanese rock garden reveals complex ideas through meditation.The manual guided designers in the selection of rocks, placements of stones, and how to perfect raked patterns.The garden is a 2,670-square-foot rectangle filled with white sand and 15 stones arranged in five groups of three.A trace of moss around each stone is the only sign of vegetation and each day monks carefully rake the sand into perfect patterns.A reflecting pond in the background is contrasted with a waterfall made from stone and boulders, as well as raked gravel meant to be gazed at from a viewing platform. .
Plants and worn, aged materials are generally used by Japanese garden designers to suggest a natural landscape, and to express the fragility of existence as well as time's unstoppable advance. Though a natural-seeming appearance is the aim, Japanese gardeners often shape their plants, including trees, with great rigour.No original examples of these survive, but they were replaced by the "paradise garden" associated with Pure Land Buddhism, with a Buddha shrine on an island in the lake.The ideas central to Japanese gardens were first introduced to Japan during the Asuka period ( c. 6th to 7th century).Their aesthetic was influenced by the distinct characteristics of the Honshu landscape: rugged volcanic peaks, narrow valleys, mountain streams with waterfalls and cascades, lakes, and beaches of small stones.Japanese gardens have their roots in the national religion of Shinto, with its story of the creation of eight perfect islands, and of the shinchi, the lakes of the gods.Prehistoric Shinto shrines to the kami, the gods and spirits, are found on beaches and in forests all over the island.They often took the form of unusual rocks or trees marked with cords of rice fiber (shimenawa) and surrounded with white stones or pebbles, a symbol of purity. The white gravel courtyard became a distinctive feature of Shinto shrines, Imperial Palaces, Buddhist temples, and Zen gardens.Although its original meaning is somewhat obscure, one of the Japanese words for garden—niwa—came to mean a place that had been cleansed and purified in anticipation of the arrival of kami, and the Shinto reverence for great rocks, lakes, ancient trees, and other "dignitaries of nature" would exert an enduring influence on Japanese garden design.Japanese gardens were also strongly influenced by the Chinese philosophy of Daoism and Amida Buddhism, imported from China in or around 552 CE.Daoist legends spoke of five mountainous islands inhabited by the Eight Immortals, who lived in perfect harmony with nature.Replicas of this legendary mountain, the symbol of a perfect world, are a common feature of Japanese gardens, as are rocks representing turtles and cranes.In spring 74 CE, the chronicle recorded: "The Emperor Keikō put a few carp into a pond, and rejoiced to see them morning and evening".The following year, "The Emperor launched a double-hulled boat in the pond of Ijishi at Ihare, and went aboard with his imperial concubine, and they feasted sumptuously together".These legations, with more than five hundred members each, included diplomats, scholars, students, Buddhist monks, and translators.In 612 CE, the Empress Suiko had a garden built with an artificial mountain, representing Shumi-Sen, or Mount Sumeru, reputed in Hindu and Buddhist legends to be located at the centre of the world.Shorelines and stone settings were naturalistic, different from the heavier, earlier continental mode of constructing pond edges. It appears from the small amount of literary and archaeological evidence available that the Japanese gardens of this time were modest versions of the Imperial gardens of the Tang Dynasty, with large lakes scattered with artificial islands and artificial mountains.They may be modeled after Chinese gardens, but the rock formations found in the To-in would appear to have more in common with prehistoric Japanese stone monuments than with Chinese antecedents, and the natural, serpentine course of the Kyuseki stream garden may be far less formal than what existed in Tang China.The south garden of the imperial residences had a uniquely Japanese feature: a large empty area of white sand or gravel.The Emperor was the chief priest of Japan, and the white sand represented purity, and was a place where the gods could be invited to visit.The layout of the garden itself was strictly determined according to the principles of traditional Chinese geomancy, or Feng Shui.It is a good omen to make the stream arrive from the east, to enter the garden, pass under the house, and then leave from the southeast.In this way, the water of the blue dragon will carry away all the bad spirits from the house toward the white tiger.The social life in the gardens was memorably described in the classic Japanese novel The Tale of Genji, written in about 1005 by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting to the Empress.The south garden is famous for its cherry blossom in spring, and for azaleas in the early summer. Near the end of the Heian period, a new garden architecture style appeared, created by the followers of Pure Land Buddhism.These were built by noblemen who wanted to assert their power and independence from the Imperial household, which was growing weaker.After his death, his son transformed the villa into a temple, and in 1053 built the Hall of Phoenix, which still stands.The Hall is built in the traditional style of a Chinese Song Dynasty temple, on an island in the lake.It was a lesson in Daoist and Buddhist philosophy created with landscape and architecture, and a prototype for future Japanese gardens.The weakness of the Emperors and the rivalry of feudal warlords resulted in two civil wars (1156 and 1159), which destroyed most of Kyoto and its gardens.The Emperors ruled in name only; real power was held by a military governor, the shōgun.In some ways they followed Zen principles of spontaneity, extreme simplicity and moderation, but in other ways they were traditional Chinese Song-Dynasty Temples; the upper floors of the Golden Pavilion were covered with gold leaf, and they were surrounded by traditional water gardens.He was a monk, a ninth-generation descendant of the Emperor Uda and a formidable court politician, writer and organizer, who armed and financed ships to open trade with China, and founded an organization called the Five Mountains, made up of the most powerful Zen monasteries in Kyoto.The zen rock garden of Ginkaku-ji features a miniature mountain shaped like Mount Fuji.The Sogen pond, created by Musō Soseki, is one of the few surviving features of the original garden.The garden at Tokushima Castle (1592) on the island of Shikoku features water and enormous rocks.The Momoyama period was short, just 32 years, and was largely occupied with the wars between the daimyōs, the leaders of the feudal Japanese clans.The new centers of power and culture in Japan were the fortified castles of the daimyōs, around which new cities and gardens appeared.The characteristic garden of the period featured one or more ponds or lakes next to the main residence, or shoin, not far from the castle.The daimyōs had developed the skills of cutting and lifting large rocks to build their castles, and they had armies of soldiers to move them.The most famous garden of this kind, built in 1592, is situated near the Tokushima castle on the island of Shikoku.Its notable features include a bridge 10.5 meters long made of two natural stones.In the east of the garden, on a peninsula, is an arrangement of stones designed to represent the mythical Mount Horai.Tea had been introduced to Japan from China by Buddhist monks, who used it as a stimulant to keep awake during long periods of meditation.It was a small and very plain wooden structure, often with a thatched roof, with just enough room inside for two tatami mats.It usually had a cherry tree or elm to bring color in the spring, but otherwise did not have bright flowers or exotic plants that would distract the attention of the visitor.Along the path was waiting bench for guests and a privy, and a stone water-basin near the teahouse, where the guests rinsed their hands and mouths before entering the tea room through a small, square door called nijiri-guchi, or "crawling-in entrance", which requires bending low to pass through.Sen no Rikyū decreed that the garden should be left unswept for several hours before the ceremony, so that leaves would be scattered in a natural way on the path.The Edo period saw the widespread use of a new kind of Japanese architecture, called Sukiya-zukuri, which means literally "building according to chosen taste".The buildings were built in a very simple, undecorated style, a prototype for future Japanese architecture.This arrangement had the poetic name ganko, which meant literally "a formation of wild geese in flight".Edo promenade gardens were often composed of a series of meisho, or "famous views", similar to postcards.A third wave was the naturalistic style of gardens, invented by captains of industry and powerful politicians like Aritomo Yamagata.After World War II, the principal builders of gardens were no longer private individuals, but banks, hotels, universities and government agencies.Some modern Japanese gardens, such as Tōfuku-ji, designed by Mirei Shigemori, were inspired by classical models.It was built as part of a resort and conference center on a steep slope, where land had been stripped away to make an island for an airport.Due to the absolute importance of the arrangement of natural rocks and trees, finding the right material becomes highly selective.In Buddhist symbolism, water and stone are thought of as yin and yang, two opposites that complement and complete each other.Water flowing from east to west will carry away evil, and the owner of the garden will be healthy and have a long life.An island of weathered rocks and a single pine tree in Rikugi-en garden in Tokyo represents Mount Hōrai, the legendary home of the Eight Immortals.Sometimes one or more rocks, called suteishi ("nameless" or "discarded"), are placed in seemingly random locations in the garden, to suggest spontaneity, though their placement is carefully chosen.In ancient Japan, sand (suna) and gravel (jari) were used around Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.Ankokuji garden in Hiroshima features rocks of different but harmonious sizes and colors.A large flat rock on an island in Korakuen garden in Tokyo, which represents a turtle's head.Selection and subsequent placement of rocks was and still is a central concept in creating an aesthetically pleasing garden by the Japanese.During the Heian period, the concept of placing stones as symbolic representations of islands – whether physically existent or nonexistent – began to take hold, and can be seen in the Japanese word shima, which is of "particular importance ...
because the word contained the meaning 'island'" Furthermore, the principle of kowan ni shitagau, or "obeying (or following) the request of an object", was, and still is, a guiding principle of Japanese rock design that suggests "the arrangement of rocks be dictated by their innate characteristics".As such, this form of gardening attempts to emblematically represent (or present) the processes and spaces found in wild nature, away from city and practical concerns of human life.The concentration of the interest on such detail as the shape of a rock or the moss on a stone lantern led at times to an overemphatic picturesqueness and accumulation of minor features that, to Western eyes accustomed to a more general survey, may seem cluttered and restless.Such attention to detail can be seen at places such as Midori Falls in Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, as the rocks at the waterfall's base were changed at various times by six different daimyō.The garden was designed to be seen from the main building and its verandas, or from small pavilions built for that purpose.The simple and unadorned zen teahouse style began to be used on all Japanese buildings, from garden pavilions to palaces.At the Byōdō-in garden in Kyoto, a wooden bridge connects the Phoenix pavilion with a small island of stones, representing the Mount Penglai or Mount Horai, the island home of the Eight Immortals of Daoist teaching, The bridge symbolized the path to paradise and immortality.During the Edo period, when large promenade gardens became popular, streams and winding paths were constructed, with a series of bridges, usually in a rustic stone or wood style, to take visitors on a tour of the scenic views of the garden.The segments express the idea that after death our physical bodies will go back to their original, elemental form.Stone water basins (tsukubai) were originally placed in gardens for visitors to wash their hands and mouth before the tea ceremony.In tea gardens, the basin was placed low to the ground, so the drinker had to bend over to get water.Some plants are chosen for their religious symbolism, such as the lotus, sacred in Buddhist teachings, or the pine, which represents longevity.The trees are carefully trimmed to provide attractive scenes, and to prevent them from blocking other views of the garden.Their growth is also controlled, in a technique called niwaki, to give them more picturesque shapes, and to make them look more ancient.Very old pine trees are often supported by wooden crutches, or their branches are held by cords, to keep them from breaking under the weight of snow.In the late 16th century, a new art was developed in the Japanese garden; that of ōkarikomi (大刈込), the technique of trimming bushes into balls or rounded shapes which imitate waves.According to tradition this art was developed by Kobori Enshū (1579–1647), and it was most frequently practiced on azalea bushes.It was similar to the topiary gardens made in Europe at the same time, except that European topiary gardens tried to make trees look like geometric solid objects, while ōkarikomi sought to make bushes look as if they were almost liquid, or in flowing natural shapes.Goldfish were developed in China more than a thousand years ago by selectively breeding Prussian carp for color mutations.Natural environments in the gardens offer habitats that attract wild animals; frogs and birds are notable as they contribute with a pleasant soundscape.Features are hidden behind hills, trees groves or bamboo, walls or structures, to be discovered when the visitor follows the winding path.Features are hidden behind hills, trees groves or bamboo, walls or structures, to be discovered when the visitor follows the winding path.Asymmetry: Japanese gardens are not laid on straight axes, or with a single feature dominating the view.Landscape gardener Seyemon Kusumoto wrote that the Japanese generate "the best of nature's handiwork in a limited space".These designs avoid contrasts, symmetries and groupings that would create points which dominate visual attention.These gardens had large lakes with small islands, where musicians played during festivals and ceremonies worshippers could look across the water at the Buddha.The Paradise Garden appeared in the late Heian period, created by nobles belonging to the Amida Buddhism sect.They were meant to symbolize Paradise or the Pure Land (Jōdo), where the Buddha sat on a platform contemplating a lotus pond.These gardens featured a lake island called Nakajima, where the Buddha hall was located, connected to the shore by an arching bridge.The most famous surviving example is the garden of the Phoenix Hall of Byōdō-in Temple, built in 1053, in Uji, near Kyoto.Enjō-ji Temple in Nara Prefecture is a good example of a paradise garden of the late Heian Period.Their purpose is to facilitate meditation, and they are meant to be viewed while seated on the porch of the residence of the hōjō, the abbot of the monastery.The style of garden takes its name from the roji, or path to the teahouse, which is supposed to inspire the visitor to meditation to prepare him for the ceremony.There is an outer garden, with a gate and covered arbor where guests wait for the invitation to enter.They then pass through a gate to the inner garden, where they wash their hands and rinse their mouth, as they would before entering a Shinto shrine, before going into the teahouse itself.Edo period gardens also often feature recreations of famous scenery or scenes inspired by literature; Suizen-ji Jōju-en Garden in Kumamoto has a miniature version of Mount Fuji, and Katsura Villa in Kyoto has a miniature version of the Ama-no-hashidate sandbar in Miyazu Bay, near Kyoto.During the Edo period, merchants began building small gardens in the space behind their shops, which faced the street, and their residences, located at the rear.An example is the Shisen-dō garden in Kyoto, built by a bureaucrat and scholar exiled by the shogun in the 17th century.Citing even older Chinese sources, it explains how to organize the garden, from the placement of rocks and streams to the correct depth of ponds and height of cascades.And, if a large rock pointed toward the north or west is placed near a gallery, the owner of the garden will be forced to leave before a year passes.The opening words of Illustrations for designing mountain, water and hillside field landscapes (1466) are "If you have not received the oral transmissions, you must not make gardens" and its closing admonition is "You must never show this writing to outsiders.The characters attend festivals in the old Kyoto imperial palace garden, take boat trips on the lake, listen to music and watch formal dances under the trees.Another poem of the Heian period, in the Hyakunin isshu, described a cascade of rocks, which simulated a waterfall, in the same garden:.The cascade long ago ceased to roar, But we continue to hear The murmur of its name.Sometimes the lesson is very literal; the garden of Saihō-ji featured a pond shaped like the Japanese character shin (心) or xīn in Chinese, the heart-spirit of Chinese philosophy, the newspaper character is 心 but it's the full cursive, the sousho style (草書) for shin that would be used; sousho, this well-named "grass writing", would be appropriate for gardening purpose indeed, for in cursive writing the character shapes change depending on the context and of course, since it is cursive, depending on the person -that is to say that the character would be done in a single pencil stroke, it would match the state of mind and the context rather than the newspaper print.[clarification needed] However, usually the lessons are contained in the arrangements of the rocks, the water and the plants.For example, the lotus flower has a particular message; Its roots are in the mud at the bottom of the pond, symbolizing the misery of the human condition, but its flower is pure white, symbolizing the purity of spirit that can be achieved by following the teachings of the Buddha.The Japanese rock gardens were intended to be intellectual puzzles for the monks who lived next to them to study and solve.One painter who influenced the Japanese garden was Josetsu (1405–1423), a Chinese Zen monk who moved to Japan and introduced a new style of ink-brush painting, moving away from the romantic misty landscapes of the earlier period, and using asymmetry and areas of white space, similar to the white space created by sand in zen gardens, to set apart and highlight a mountain or tree branch or other element of his painting.The empty space between the different planes has a great importance, and is filled with water, moss, or sand.Robbed of its local garb and mannerisms, the Japanese method reveals aesthetic principles applicable to the gardens of any country, teaching, as it does, how to convert into a poem or picture a composition, which, with all its variety of detail, otherwise lacks unity and intent.Samuel Newsom's Japanese Garden Construction (1939) offered Japanese aesthetic as a corrective in the construction of rock gardens, which owed their quite separate origins in the West to the mid-19th century desire to grow alpines in an approximation of Alpine scree.The lush courtyards at Du Cane Court – an art deco block of flats in Balham, London, built between 1935 and 1938 – were designed by Kusumoto.He also writes, however, that as the gardens have been introduced into the Western world, they have become more Americanized, decreasing their natural beauty.Red lacquered arched bridges are Chinese in origin and seldom seen in Japan, but are often placed in Japanese-style gardens in other countries. .
DIY Mini Zen Garden to Help You Relax
These special areas were originally created in Japan to assist Zen Buddhist monks with daily meditation and introspection.Monks raked the sand every day to maintain its distinct pattern and discourage vegetation growth.Many people like to keep tabletop zen gardens on their work desks to take a mindfulness break during the day while others like to display them in living areas to give guests a tranquil activity to do.Raking patterns in the sand and rearranging rocks helps increase mindfulness, making mini zen gardens a great activity to unwind during times of stress and doubt, or even periods of success.To help you get started, we’ve put together all of the info you’ll need to create your own mini zen garden.Our guide includes an in-depth materials list, detailed steps and some styling ideas so you can draw inspiration for your own DIY zen garden.Before we dive into the materials you’ll need, let’s take a look at the symbolism of traditional zen garden elements to better understand their importance.This is because traditional zen gardens don’t include plants or water features in order to achieve abstraction and promote feelings of tranquility and calm.In other words, distracting neon-colored sand and bright LED lights may not be the best things to add if you want to maintain your garden’s tranquility.Other alternatives include mini back scratchers, skewers, toothpicks and forks depending on the look you’re trying to achieve.A glass container is great for an elegant approach to the traditional zen garden while a wood box takes a more natural route.Plants that thrive in zen gardens include foliage that spreads on the ground and keeps a low profile.Check your specific plant’s care guidelines to make sure they can thrive in a zen garden setting.Add a few drops of your favorite essential oils if you want an aromatic mini zen garden.Decorative trinkets are great for personalization, especially if you’re giving this as a gift, but don’t go overboard and overshadow your garden with towering pieces.Plants aren’t a part of traditional zen gardens, but they are a great way to bring in other elements of nature.If you’re giving this as a gift, you can get sand in the recipient’s favorite color or include meaningful stones and accessories in the garden. .