What is a Zen Garden

What is a zen garden? A lot of people would say that a zen garden is that unusual garden of meditation, covered with sand and stones, specific to japanese culture. Zen is a concept that relates to reaching 'satori', the illumination state which is created in the highest level of consciousness. The zen garden is an artfully designed ambient which combines different natural elements: water, stones, vegetation, but symbolically represented by stones and gravel. It generates peace and calm, it relieves anxiety and nervousness, allowing the mind to dream and wonder. This is why the asian gardens are gaining a lot of popularity in the chaotic and stressful life of occidental civilizations.

In the zen garden, the soft pebbles represent the ocean, while the bigger stones are an allegory to the land, islands or rivers. Some specialists say that this type of garden design induces a calming effect because of the subliminal image it creates: that of a tree born out of the rocks.The number of the stones must always be an odd number. There's almost a philosophical feeling while walking through a zen designed garden.

The zen garden landscape usually doesn't include way too many flowers. They are also asymmetric, simple, natural, very subtle and calming.

One of the most famous zen garden is Toranko-Watashi Garden, in Kyoto. It is a combination of 15 stones situated in a sea of white sand, surrounded by a clay wall. Its true meaning has been searched by many zen masters and many interpretations have been given, but only a silent, personal contemplation can reveal its mysterious significance. Because of its beauty and symbolic value, the garden is now an UNESCO World Heritage. Zen garden art invites people to draw their own lives in the sands of their own gardens, being a source of peace and hope.

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