Some hints and meanings of the Zen garden
Creating the perfect Zen garden requires a good knowledge of Japanese culture, or at least a basic smattering. The real Japanese garden does not in fact have a mere aesthetic function, but each natural element present in it has a precise meaning.
Able to instill serenity and harmony, a true Japanese garden consists of three elements:
• water, the symbol of life, without which we cannot survive. Just like the rising and setting of the sun, water must flow from east to west or be still.
• the rocks, that is the point in the garden where peace reigns. Round shapes are to be preferred, positioning rocks of considerable size in order to give the impression of having been there since time immemorial. These minerals play a leading role, so much so that their choice is considered an art.
• green, present throughout the year, such as moss or green plants such as fern. The flowers are few, in general camellias, rhododendrons or azaleas.
It will also be possible to place a bridge, some Japanese lanterns and a Buddha statue, a few essential elements that will guide each one to the rediscovery of simplicity.
Cultivate a Zen garden it means cultivating one's soul and personality in a path of continuous growth. In the East, the cultivation of gardens is a real art aimed at not making human intervention perceptible. It is nature that reigns sovereign, simple and spontaneous, while man is relegated to a silent and respectful presence. Harmony and balance will therefore be the keywords in the process of setting up a real Zen garden. In it, the vastness of the world and of nature will be reduced to a few simple and essential elements.
Basic principles for setting up
The Zen garden is deeply connected to Japanese Zen culture. It is a place full of meanings in which to regain well-being by surrounding yourself with natural elements. Based on Feng Shui we will take care to create a harmonious garden, possibly placing it near a domestic space. In this way, the radiated vital energy (Ch'i) will be able to counteract negative energy.
There are several styles of Japanese garden, the most famous of which is the Karesansui or dry garden. The name derives from the material with which it is set up, mainly stones and white sand, although some green areas are not missing. Karesansui is an essential garden, minimalist in form and composition. To set it up we will not choose ordinary sand but white granite which will cover a large part of the surface, illuminating it. Thanks to a simple rake you will have the possibility to draw continuous lines, without ever stopping the instrument, in order to create harmonious paths. Symbol of creativity, this tool will allow us to trace our inner world directly on the surface of the garden. Lot of zen gardens they bring numerous wavy lines around the boulders, so as to show a particular concept or the passage from the sea, towards a different point of view.
After placing the white granite, we can choose the stones to be placed on the surface. First of all, the stones will not only be placed on the ground but buried at the base, so that the center of gravity is found at the bottom, giving visitors a sense of security. The stones are in fact a symbol of strength, they transmit this concept referring to the solidity and eternity of the mountains. The meaning of the stones changes if they are placed in the water, so much so that in this case they will symbolize the many obstacles that a person will encounter on his way.
Based on Feng Shui, the ancient art of furnishing in harmony with the energy of the universe, plants will be chosen mainly among the local vegetation, paying attention to the symbolic meaning of each species. Green plants should be preferred rather than flowers, this is because the Zen garden differs markedly from our western concept, proposing the surrounding environment with a few gestures and elements. We will therefore choose between mosses, lichens and ferns, but also bonsai, shrubs and evergreen plants. Among the few trees present in the zen gardens Japanese maple is widespread, capable of symbolizing the impermanence of what surrounds us because at the onset of the autumn season it loses its leaves.
Drinking fountains and ponds symbolize luck in the economic field, as long as you don't want to overdo it: in this case water would symbolize a universe of tears. Alternatively, you can use simple gravel instead of water, taking care to create wavy shapes with the rake.