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Zen Gardens - The Art of Wonder

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					Zen Gardens - The Art of Wonder
Since Zen is philosophy of the Zen, we can think of Zen Gardens as
gardens of the mind. They are philosophy made visible. Their purpose is
to exalt the consciousness, and free the spirit, not feed the emotions.
They are gardens not to walk in but to observe, to meditate upon. And the
root principle is "less is more." The ideal Zen garden is never crowded
or rushed, and brings the same sense of peace and serenity in midwinter
as is does in spring. Like a the steady mind of Zen, the Zen garden may
reflect the seasons, but it not changed by them.
Zen Garden Design plans always include a border or enclosure. The Zen
garden is a thing apart and should be distinct from any other part of the
lawn. Gates and a fence or walls are essentials.
To think like a Zen gardener, begin not with flowers and earth, but with
rock and sand. In Japan, where Zen was developed, avid gardeners haunt
"rock nurseries" where a single unusual stone may cost thousands of
dollars. Good Zen garden design plans include rocks that evoke mountains,
waterfalls, or even animals like tortoises, birds, oysters - even the
Buddha himself. The rocks are never oiled, polished, carved, or treated
in any way. The older and more "natural" they are the better. They are
usually placed in groups of 3, 5, or 7. They can be classified according
to:
• Place of origin (mountain, river, valley)
• Shape ("master rocks"," pillars, branches, root, and water)
• Symbol (natural, moods, spiritual, idea, or melodic)
In Zen garden design plans, once the proper rocks are selected, the next
step is to position them. They are never simply plopped down on the
ground but buried about two-thirds into the soil, so that they give the
impression of rising powerfully from the earth. This is not a willy-nilly
procedure, but a carefully thought out design. Every rock has a natural
energy which must be honored by placing it in a way that the energy flows
through the garden in mystical "dragon veins" or channels. The center of
a Zen Garden should remain empty - it is the place for the mind alone to
play in.
The second element is sand, which represents water, raked according to
various curving patterns that suggest waves and movement. The wonderful
thing about this is that the pattern can be changed whenever you like -
to reflect a new insight or even a different mood. It is not wrong to
include a shrub or statue if it adds meaning to your garden, but it is
very important to keep the garden uncluttered. Remember that the garden
is a reflection of the your mind - and a cluttered mind is a hindrance to
enlightenment.
Most wonderful of all - you don't need a lot of space of create a
glorious Zen garden. A simple box, a few interesting stones and a
miniature rake (all available in a kit form) can transform an ordinary
tabletop into a place of contemplation - even wonder.
Wendy Pan is an accomplished niche website developer and author. To learn
more about zen garden design plans, please visit How to Design a Garden
for current articles and discussions.

				
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posted:10/11/2010
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