The primary structure of a Japanese garden is determined by the architecture that contains it; that is, the framework of durable elements such as buildings, verandas and terraces, roads, tsukiyama (artificial hills) and stone compositions. It is ideal for placing in small areas or places without sufficient light or ventilation required for a traditional garden.
There is a wide range of Zen thinking in the Japanese garden. Here are some key elements as examples:
Doors (torii), fences, straw ropes, and cloth banners acted as markers to mark the steps.
Bridges(hashi), going over the bridge was analogous to going from one world to the next. As Zen influence came to the fore, bridges took on the more Taoist meaning of moving from the world of man to the world of nature, a movement from this plane to a higher one.
Water (Mizu) Buddhism always considered water as the most appropriate metaphor for human existence, springing up, gathering strength in its downhill race to calmly disappear into the sea (reborn again as rain). In garden ponds, create a “negative” space in the garden where nothing else resides.
Plantations Although Zen actually dropped the plant palette when it arrived, there are still some Zen ideas in plantings. Large bamboos are often found in temple gardens, as the reeds are a perfect example of the principle of Mushin or “empty heart” (the empty heart provides strength through flexibility). Plums are a recurring Zen theme, blooming without leaves, often while the snow is still on the ground (symbolizing endurance and rebirth). Pine is known as mutsu, a sound similar to the word ‘wait’, so it is established in the garden as a symbol of strength and patience
Sanctuaries they were more of a mental construct than a physical location, a place that existed in the mind rather than a place that could be seen. The sanctuary is a scene of spirit. It is also a place where humans and spirit meet.
Sand or gravel represents water. Raked or not raked, symbolizing sea, ocean, rivers or lakes.
The act of raking the gravel in a pattern reminiscent of waves or rippling water has an aesthetic function. Zen priests also practice this rake to help them focus. Achieving line perfection is not easy. The rakes are according to the desired ridge patterns and are limited to some of the stone objects located within the gravel area. However, the patterns are often not static. Developing variations in the patterns is a creative and inspiring challenge.
Stones They are the main design elements in the Japanese garden. They are considered more important than trees to the Japanese, perhaps due to the strong desire for eternity and the stones represent the eternal elements of nature. In Japanese garden design, stones are used in combination with other stones or sand to imply a natural scene or to create an abstract design. The shapes of natural stones have been divided into five categories called five natural stones. The Japanese used the characters for wood, fire, earth, metal, and water to represent stone elements, and they apply to five classes of stone forms:
- Taido: wood. Tall vertical. It implies tall trees. Also called body stones, they are placed at the back of a group.
- Reisho: metal. Low vertical. It implies the stability and firmness of the metal. Often grouped with tall verticals. It is sometimes called soul stones.
- Shigyo: fire. Arching. Branches that are shaped like fire. These types of branches are called pebbles and pebbles atmosphere. It is often placed in the front and side in other ways.
- Shintai: water. Flat or horizontal. Level base stones called or mind and body stone. Often used for harmonization in rock groups.
- Kikyaku: earth. Reclining. Often known as root or prostrate stones. It is usually placed in the foreground to create a look of harmony.
The message at Zen Garden is that each divided area remains representative of all of nature; the fence helps us to recognize the division and the garden should remind us of the whole. The gates in the fences are very much like the bridge in deep meaning; the phrase “walk through the door” is a metaphor for becoming a monk.
Transition between one state of existence and the next.