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10 Secrets Of Japanese Gardens

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:13 pm    Post subject: 10 Secrets Of Japanese Gardens Reply with quote

10 Secrets Of Japanese Gardens
By Joseph Kerrigan

1. Copy Nature.
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. Traditionally, designers studied paintings of landscapes and tried to recreate such landscapes in simplified form.

2. Space.
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.

You must use old things in the garden or use things made to look old for example, crinkled or covered with moss or something like that. The Japanese like to link the past to the present for a feeling of nostalgia.

4. Seasons.
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.

5. Surprises.
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. There is a story about Sen No Rikyu the famous seventeenth Japanese Tea Ceremony master: "A stone water basin stood on a garden near Osaka with a fine view of the inland sea. Rikyu planted two hedges, one outside the other. They were planted in such a way that they completely obscured the beautiful view of the inland sea. Only when the guest bent over the water basin to dip for water with his hands could he see through a break between the hedges. It was deliberately done in the hope that the guest would see his reflection in the water basin then when the guests looked up to see the infinite ocean he would realise that the water and the ocean are one. In the same way he would realise that the mind and universe are one."

6. Unity.
The garden should create unity and harmony. This can be achieved by linking the house with the garden. The garden needs to be connected to the house or it needs to have something in the garden that suggests the house such as a gazebo or a pergola. But the ideal should be to have the house and garden merge in one, perhaps with a conservatory which merges with the garden outside.

7. Serenity.
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 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. Sometimes the design of the garden is metaphysical and not from nature because this makes for a simple garden taking the person looking at it directly to truth.

9. Water.
Very little land on the Japanese islands is cultivable. Dykes are everywhere and thus the Japanese became masters of controlling water. A great deal of moss is found in Japan because of the humid conditions and that's why rocks and objects such as plant pots need to be covered in moss. The Japanese garden needs to have water but if there is no water available then you could give the appearance of a river with a suitable line of pebbles Freshwater is sacred but hide the source of your water with hanging leaves, for example, or else let the water come from outside the garden.

10 Ancestors.
The Japanese believe that when their ancestors die they go to the mountains and people sometimes have a rock to symbolise a mountain and these rocks can be used in a form of worship. Before worshipping they like to wash their hands and rinse their mouth, therefore you need to include, as well as a rock, a hand basin that supports the religious aspect of the garden.

A Japanese garden can become a meditation retreat where you can enjoy relaxing and all the various features the religious and the traditional or lend themselves to piece and tranquillity and meditation.

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