Zen Garden, also known as Japenese Rock Garden, is a miniature replica of a natural landscape. It is composed of rocks and bushes. There are water features, moss, and pruned trees as well. The use of gravel and sand is most common in such type of garden. They are usually raked to symbolize ripples of water.
The idea of Zen garden was formed to replicate the essence of nature. But it’s not a replica of nature; it’s somewhat symbolic. That is why, instead of using water to represent a river or flowing streams, it uses gravel. The garden is small in size most of the time. This garden is not a place where you can sit and meditate. Instead, a person meditates from an outer viewpoint from where the garden is clearly visible.
Features Of Zen Garden
Zen garden has quite a lot of exciting features. The essential part of the garden is the rocks. Each rock represents something in the garden and has significant meaning. That is why the choice of stones is a matter of utmost priority. There is even a written manual on the selection of rocks. In ancient times, people thought that not following the guidelines of rock selection would lead them to an unfortunate destiny. However, there aren’t any rules against including plants and water features in the garden. The rocks are placed in strategic positions to symbolize mountains and islands. The raked patterns of the gravel represent the flow of water. The garden requires regular maintenance, as wild vegetation can sometimes grow on the gravel and rocks.
What Is The Purpose Of Making A Zen Garden?
Everything has its purpose, and the Zen garden is no exception to it. You might be wondering, what is the purpose of this garden? Well, there are many things that we can learn from it. First of all, its primary goal is to help in meditation. Japanese Zen monks have also said that they feel closer to nature when they meditate overlooking the garden. Every component of the garden has a simple but profound meaning. The main message lies in the appearance of the garden itself. The focus of the garden isn’t the rocks, nor is it the plants. The beauty and purpose of the garden is the harmony that it projects. All the elements in this garden keep a balance with each other.
The garden itself supports the principle of the Zen practice. That is to acknowledge the mystery of nature and to unite oneself with it. It serves to calm the person’s mind and eventually leads him to a peaceful and blissful state. Not only that, but it also helps in improving an individual’s concentration and discipline. The rakes made of gravel have creative and unique styles. Zen monks have stated that this inspires a person to think creatively and allows them to concentrate on the task at hand. It also tests one’s patience and discipline, they say.
Shrines And Temples Famous For Their Zen Gardens
Here are some shrines and temples that are famous for their Japanese Rock Gardens.
- Daitokuji, Daisen- in, Jissoji, and Jisso-in are the famous gardens in Kyoto, Japan.
- An-yo-in is also a well-known and revered Zen garden in Kobe, Japan.
- Another one is Kinbyozan, which is a temple located in Fukuyama.