Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buddhist Zen Garden goes beyond the emotion of simple enjoyment

Zen Garden Buddhist
Buddhism Zen Garden

GARDENS are usually associated with patches of green grass with surrounding plants where people can sit and enjoy their evening strolls and communicate with nature. In a city like Mumbai where gardens are already a luxury, a garden with a difference, based on the Zen Buddhist philosophy, can be more than just a place to sit and relax. It sparks a sense of spirituality and life where there is meaning and purpose.

"Zen gardens have more than just open space spiced up with beautiful colourful fauna. These gardens are a combination of rocks, water, sand and special plants - everything placed with different meanings," says Manisha Padhi of Greenworld. "Placement of stones or cutting of each plant or bark symbolises meaning to life," she adds.

Symbolism in Zen Gardens

Each element has a purpose for being in the garden of symbolic nature. Rocks, one of the most important parts of the garden, can symbolize many things depending on shape, colour and texture. A vertical rock can symbolize the sky, while a horizontal rock can symbolise the earth. Rocks can even symbolize an animal.

For instance, if the garden is portraying a specific place, rocks can also symbolise islands or mountains. Gravel, sand or small pebbles are also major aspects of a Zen garden used to create an adequate atmosphere for meditation.

Often, sand is used in place of water. The sand is swirled around with great care to emulate rippling or rushing water. These 'swirls' also provide energy to the garden. Although sand is often used in place of water, water is also present in some Zen gardens. The thought is that without water there is no life, thus the water accommodates the garden with life.

Plants also hold specific purposes in a Zen garden. Pine trees are highly respected for their jagged bark. The bark resembles the scales of a dragon. A red pine can symbolise female presence. Plants are used to accent each other bringing wholeness to the garden and adding emotion.

Because a Zen garden imitates nature, and floral arrangements are not readily found in nature, plants are used very carefully to bring a subtle yet eloquent beauty to these gardens. Pruning is important when plants are used because one does not want to create a mass image, but rather shape them where the sunlight will shine most appropriately.

Apart from natural elements, some landscape elements can be added. Pathways, bridges and lanterns are frequently used. Bridges and paths allow a spectator to view things from all different angles. Lanterns are put in the gardens too, but are carefully chosen.

Maintaining a Zen garden may be a little more expensive than the usual gardens, but the rewards that you get in return a aplenty.

1 comment:

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