Japanese Zen Gardens
The austere, enigmatic rock gardens of Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, have never ceased to fascinate garden lovers. Weather-beaten rocks set in an expanse of white sand raked into geometric patterns challenge the idea of a garden as a space chiefly dedicated to the cultivation and appreciation of plants. How did the taste for this kind of garden arise? What do the stones represent? Why aren't there more flowers?
This book sets out to answer questions such as these. It explores the Zen characteristics of these gardens, and discusses the impact Zen Buddhism has had on the Japanese way of looking at the natural world. The book considers how these gardens can be seen as artistic representations of Zen consciousness, reflecting the longing for religious enlightenment. This book also shows how key traditional concepts, such as that of using the confined space of a garden to create a landscape in miniature, were reinterpreted in Zen temple gardens.