Zen Gardens Essay

1992 words - 8 pages

Zen Gardens


Zen Buddhism began to show up in Japan during the eighth century. It went through various periods of popularity and disregard, but constituted one of the most important influences on Japanese culture. All Buddhist temples include gardens. The first temple gardens evolved from well-groomed landscaping around Shinto shrines. Later, the gates and grounds surrounding Buddhist temples began to use gardens to beautify the temple, similar to the Heian mansion gardens. Jodo Buddhism (Pure Land) used temple gardens as a way to symbolize the "pure land" created by Amida Buddha to aid suffering souls in pursuit of enlightenment. These Zen gardens were meant to encompass the nature of the universe. The garden is the Buddha's realm. Gardens are tools, vehicles for meditation and reflection. Therefore they tend to be far more metaphorical than other gardens. You can stroll through many Zen gardens, but more often, you are encouraged to simply look at it.

During the 10th to 12th centuries known as the Heian era, Japan was breaking away from the styles of the Chinese T'ang Dynasty. New ideas were developing as the Imperial court converted what it had learned. In the area of garden design, however, Chinese thought was still a powerful force. Most of the aesthetic principles we see as Japanese had not yet developed. The dominant architectural style, called Shinden, was essentially a modification of Chinese design. Buildings were arranged somewhat symmetrically and according to the laws of Chinese geomancy called Feng shui. Within the mansions, a central building, the shinden (sleeping hall) would be linked to other outlying buildings by covered causeways. Beyond the tile roofs and verandas was the garden. A large empty area was set aside for open-air gatherings such as dance performances or games. The rest of the garden was intended for viewing and limited strolling. Fishing on small boats to catch fish in their ponds was one popular activity. Poetry reading and writing was also essential.

According to Feng shui, all structures have to be laid out carefully along compass lines and in certain configurations to allow ki (Chinese "chi"), the mystic energy of life to flow properly. A reduced ki flow in a home was thought to cause sickness and disharmony. For example, the builders, after consulting with a Yin-yang diviner, would usually create special arrangements to prevent bad ki from entering the home from the northwest. In the first Japanese garden design manual, the Sakuteiki, it is explained how water courses should flow from the northwest to the southeast so that any bad ki could be cleansed by the protective deity of the east Kamogawa (blue dragon), then proceed west again passing under a veranda of the house so as to draw away any evil spirits that might have somehow slipped into the house. Heavy stones were thought to serve as gates or landing points for spirits and were thus placed very carefully. Other...

Find Another Essay On Zen Gardens

History of Tea in Japan and the Japanese Tea Ceremony

3475 words - 14 pages Ashikaga Yoshimasa. He was the regarded as the first ruler-patron of the tea ceremony. Since historical times, tea was incorporated as an element of an independent secular ceremony. Over the past 5,000 years, the Japan have consumed green tree which acts as a beverage and a medicine (121). This paper focuses on tea in Japan, with various subtopics and its relevance among the Zen. History of Tea According to De Bary, Keen, and Tanabe, the history

a detailed explanation of the samurai warrior - world religion - essay

872 words - 4 pages (“Religious Practices of the samurai.”) Zen Buddhism also brought to life ceremonies such as the tea ceremony, monochrome ink painting, rock gardens, and poetry(haiku). The decline of the samurai care in the late Nineteenth century, prior to Japanese opening up their borders to the United State, marking an end to their isolation to foreign affairs. The imperial family in Meiji was restored, ending the military dictatorship in Japan 1868. The

Famous Japanese Gardens

515 words - 2 pages Japanese garden has a very appealing aesthetic importance due to continuous change in various seasons. These gardens always maintain the stillness of air and peace, even though they are changing externally in every season. Following are some of the famous Japanese gardens all over world: • Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto: It is a famous Zen garden style and one of the most popular dry-landscape designs. It is believed to be the unique masterpiece

It is said that Japanese culture is both delicate and fierce; defend this viewpoint with examples

846 words - 3 pages of a connection between the expanse of pebbles and perhaps a large body of water or an important geographical formation. Only Zen Buddhist monks originally created these gardens, and, as a result the best gardens of this type are still the ones that can be seen at larger Buddhist temples. Now, however, the creation of a Japanese Rock Garden has grown away from this original religious context and is apt to be found elsewhere as well.Many Samurai

Isamu Noguchi Research Report

1188 words - 5 pages Fountain. This piece is appealing to me because it has a serene, Zen aesthetic to it. Fountain is composed of two large and extremely heavy basalt stones of roughly the same size, but differing in aspects of form. There are varying textures in this piece, and it requires careful study to discern them all. Upon closer inspection, one can deduce that the top surface of one stone is concave with rough-hewn sides, while the top of the other stone is

Japanese Garden

2229 words - 9 pages Diana KhachatryanThe Japanese GardenJapan is an island nation of 125.3 million citizens. There are 335 people per square kilometer, making Japan the 16th most densely populated nation in the world.Compared to the United States it is relatively smal in size: 377,727 square kilometers versus 9,372,610.There are two general types of Japanese gardens: (a) the wet or landscape garden and (b) the dry Zen Buddhist or religous garden. The major

Releasing the Moment in Clampitt’s Poem Fog

716 words - 3 pages / opens up rooms, a showcase for the hueless moonflower/ corolla, as Georgia / O’Keefe might have seen it" (611). Through description and word choice, she invites her reader to attend to the presence of absence. It is a Zen-like disclosure, like the "dry" Japanese gardens of rock and raked gravel that suggests the soft ripples on the surface of a pond not there. Clampitt’s poetic power to observe details is all the stronger because of the fog’s

Maintaining Cultural Identity in Design

3104 words - 12 pages middle of the room, and very little gets in the way of either physical progression or general visual flow. Moreover, Japanese gardens can also be considered part of their interiors since they can create a connection between the exterior and the interior. In Japanese gardens from the Heian Period, built in the Chinese model, buildings occupied as much or more space than the garden. The garden was designed to be seen from the main building and its

Tea Ceremony – The Quintessence of Japan

2013 words - 8 pages by Kohken, who was another Buddhist monk. By the thirteenth century, samurai warriors began preparing and drinking matcha as they adopted Zen Buddhism, and the foundation of the tea ceremony were laid. In the sixteenth century, tea ceremony spread to all levels of Japanese society. In 1738, Soen Nagatani developed a new process of roasting and drying tea, which quickly replaced the traditional method (History of Green Tea). The most famous tea

When the Bubble Burst

1539 words - 6 pages By the time I arrived state side from my second tour in the Middle East the housing bubble had already burst. I noticed a drastic change in the way that many of my friends and family were living. Several of my friends that worked in real estate had sold their boats and seconds houses. My own stock portfolio had lost a third of its value. My sister and her husband had defaulted on their home mortgage leaving them scrambling for a place to live. I

phase diagram

4456 words - 18 pages Introduction: Chemical equilibrium is a crucial topic in Chemistry. To represent and model equilibrium, the thermodynamic concept of Free energy is usually used. For a multi-component system the Gibbs free energy is a function of Pressure, Temperature and quantity (mass, moles) of each component. If one of these parameters is changed, a state change to a more energetically favorable state will occur. This state has the lowest free energy

Similar Essays

Japanese Garden Features Essay

553 words - 2 pages meet the private needs and sometimes around the temples for a suitable environment for worship. Most of the today’s Japanese gardens characters are developed and influence from Zen Buddhism. This idea was brought from China in 13th century and got very much influenced in Japan. Japanese garden features imply the characteristics of the garden increasing the soul relaxation, meditation, peace and linking with

The Zen Rock Garden Essay

996 words - 4 pages wu or mu, the notion of a void beyond all form and color. Some gardens are walked through and others are to only be looked at, but all are carefully planned and maintained environments; if a leaf were to fall, it would be removed in order to maintain the designer's plan. The primary intention of any Zen garden is its ability to guide one to satori, or enlightenment. One could simply gaze at the garden, contemplating its meaning while

Japanese Gardens Essay

2606 words - 10 pages stroll garden from the former period and the Zen garden from the later. As we shall see, the composition of these gardens where remarkably effected by the norms of architecture and the ideals of popular religion in these eras. Therefor, in understanding each garden style in its context, it essential to also take into account the social, historical, and theological elements as well as the main stylist differences. Japanese aristocrats from

Balance Of Man And Nature In Japanese And Australian Aboriginal Art

1171 words - 5 pages also portrayed in Japanese art. The characteristics ofJapanese art are the deep understanding and respect for nature, the importance of space associated with unbalanced composition and humor. While Japanese art does not have a specific term for their connection with nature, it is evident in the Zen gardens and landscape paintings. The first landscape paintings were influenced by the Tang and Song Dynasties of China. The first indication of the