Monday, July 18, 2011

Zen Gardens, Zen Mind

Zen has one aim: to encourage us to take a closer look at all that is around us in the hope that once we develop a more intense insight, we will cherish and nurture this earth and its inhabitants. We learn to acquire a heightened awareness. Zen sharpens our senses, intensifies our perceptions and enriches our experiences. Every day events take on a new meaning. The ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary.
The following are some pictures of parts of my Zen gardens. Now you will see how I spend some my spring and summer days.

Tsukubai: Water basin -- for purification, so one can enter pure of mind and body
When we practice Zen we embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Stone lantern: for illumination

Be alive,
be here -- and know
the beat of your heart.

Small pond in front with goldfish.
All Zen asks is that we live our lives with compassion, creativity and a deep respect for all living things. There is a close connection with nature. Nature and human creativity are synonymous.
For Zen, art that depicts nature is considered an affirmation of life.

This bird bath is a new addition to my gardens.

This large rusty ball is a new addition to my garden

Zen is an experience for a way of life-- not a belief. Zen is passive-- it relies on us to teach ourselves.

The sound of silence: the stone garden
Zen wants us to pay full attention to the smallest details in life-- to be mindful of everything we do. Zen deals with the present. Life is too precious to waste.

Zen is about enjoying the simple things. At the heart of Zen there is the need for harmony and balance in life. To free the mind is to free the spirit... the resulting clarity of perception is just one of Zen's rewards.
Large pond in back with very large koi.

No thought
no form
only emptiness...
the joy of silence.

Water in the garden helps offset the weight of stone and provides melody, movement, and open, reflective zones.

Zen gardens are an attempt to control nature -- a balance between life forces in the natural world and the harmony and order in Zen. Gardens also want to provide a physical setting for quiet contemplation and mediation.

Stone, sand and rock
reveal the mysteries
of time.

The art of the inner work, which unlike the outer does not forsake the artist, which he does not "do and can only "be", springs from the depths of which the day knows nothing.
----- Eugene Herrigei, Zen in the Art of Archery