The term “Zen Garden” brings to mind an arid rocky landscape with brushed and furrowed gravel all around. The very scene in your mind makes you want to cocoon yourself from the din of the world and enter into serene meditation. According to some, Zen priests in the eleventh century chose the dry landscape aid to understand the Zen concepts better. Others consider the Japanese Zen Garden to be a myth. They see it as a late 20th Century improvisation of the gardening style and as a brainchild of the west. It is further argued that it has no relation to the Japanese Garden Tradition and that the arid gardening pattern is not a specialty of Zen temples alone and can be seen in many other building architectural designs.
Notwithstanding your opinion regarding the debate, everyone is unanimous about the spectacular beauty that this form of gardening, often known as a Zen garden, provides. It primarily consists of rocks that simulate islands or mountains and has flowing water as sand or gravel, all around the rock-mountains.
In order to make scientific analysis of the calming effect of such gardens on travelers, scientists reached probably the most famous Zen garden in the world, at the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. Research showed that the apparently unorganized collection of rocks and moss on a gravel rectangle, if seen from the right angle, created the image of a tree in the mindâ€™s eye.
Zen gardens are not only a subtly planned congregation of dry stones and gravel, they also include mosses, plants, shrine lanterns and also bridges and water bodies. A Zen garden is perennially attractive because of evergreens present as a compulsory feature in their design. Black pines, moss, bamboo, and hoards of evergreen plants provide seasonal continuity and never allow winter to deprive the garden of its beauty.
Rocks being the platform for Zen gardens, they need to be selected carefully. It is often not easy to find the right rocks and pebbles to complete the picture in your mind but a little patience is all that you need. But remember, it is not just a garden; it is your seat of meditation. And meditation takes time. So, take it slow and easy.
Zen gardening, also called landscape gardening, is like painting a landscape, the only difference being the use of rocks and plants instead of paints and brushes. Just like a painting, landscape gardening has a subject. Others fit in accordingly. What the painting will project resides in the mind of the painter. Similarly, the gardener knows exactly how he wants the garden to be designed. The entire picture takes form slowly in the shape of a beautifully designed garden.
Zen gardening includes the gardenerâ€™s vision that is executed by the plan, design, construction, planting and cultivation. A Zen garden is never complete. Does beauty have any limitation? No. Similarly, a Zen garden can be made more beautiful by maintaining and creating better designs that help you concentrate on your meditation further by contemplating the picture of the perfect garden.