Using a Japanese Garden as a Meditation Retreat




Japanese GardenA Japanese garden can become a meditation retreat where you can enjoy relaxing with peace and tranquillity.

The garden should have a feeling of space and this gives a feeling of freedom. In Japan most people do not have room for large gardens, they have to make the best of the space they have and there needs to be within the garden a feeling of privacy and that is why there needs to be some kind of enclosure. This is particularly important if you want to use your garden for meditation.

The Japanese garden needs to contain design that shows the changes of season, winter and summer, spring and autumn There can be a sense of a new birth or a new beginning for you.

The Japanese garden needs should not reveal everything all at once; there should be surprises; things will be hidden in unexpected places and will only be revealed as you move through the garden.

The garden should create unity and harmony. There needs to be a feeling of serenity. This is achieved by symbolic meanings. For example, the flowering cherry symbolises the change of seasons, mounds symbolise mountains, three rocks symbolise the Buddhist Trinity, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the Red Bridge (Guzei) is the route the blessed take to salvation, the mountain is Yang, assertive, hard. Water symbolises Yin, intellectual force, softness, feelings. But the symbolism should not be overdone. The garden ideally should be protected from outside noises. It should be Japanese Garden reserved for relaxation and meditation.

Gardens trigger people’s emotions good or bad. The Japanese believe that by going to nature they link their unconscious to their past. In a sense the garden is a form of worship.

A true Japanese garden is an idealised copy of nature that takes you on a journey in mind body and spirit. It incorporates culture, symbols, religion and tradition. It just uses sand, plants and rocks to create an amazing environment perfect for meditation and relaxation.

Sand: Instead of water, sand or gravel raked in different forms is used.  Many experts say that these forms represent the waves or ripples in water. The raking itself is considered a type of meditation, because it requires a great deal of concentration in order to make the lines and curves perfect. Most of the people, who practise Zen meditation, use this process to calm themselves.

Plants: The hardest component of a Japanese garden is to grow plants and trees. Using plants which are fragrant have a soothing effect, e.g. lemon, lavender and mango. Some plants are soothing because they move in the breeze e.g. ornamental grasses.

Rocks: Rocks and stones are scattered about to replicate mountains and islands.

Almost every Japanese garden has a unique appearance. The whole idea behind its architecture is to create small buildings, gazebo-type structures and winding pathways, which are usually made to support meditation.

If you are not familiar with the appropriate design, plants, rocks or sand for a Japanese garden,  then you’d better consult with an expert landscaper who will give you a helping hand to build the garden you desire.


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