If you want to be original and impress your friends, you can adorn your garden according to the Japanese philosophical principles of the Ryōan-ji garden, for which followers of Zen Buddhism carefully select certain pebbles which they align after meticulous patterns that facilitate meditation.
Whether it is made of plants or stones and pebbles, a Japanese garden is the representation of the universe and its elements: fire – in the shape of stone or iron lanterns (pillars); earth – represented by the presence of stone/rock, and water, air, plants and animals in their natural forms. Japanese gardens are divided into two types: dry gardens (waterless), and varnish, which even if they are in a "dry" form , they still contain artificially made water fountains or small ponds.
The Garden alley, called Roji in Japanese, is not only a functional element and does not only represent the entrance to the garden. It is a philosophical path separating the viewer, step by step, from the exhausting and hectic world which he came from. The stones of the alley are placed in a carefully cultivated irregularity, most often indirectly leading to hidden or obscure areas. The places where the path turns in one direction or another represent attractions points which prompt the visitor to stop and meditative upon certain crucial periods of life.
Stones form the support structure of a Japanese garden and should be regarded as an eternal presence placed in the spot on which they find themselves at the present moment. Rugged rocks suggests mountainous area and smooth, rounded stones and are used as special elements depicting the surrounding natural scenery of life and they are rather symbolic than realistic. For example, in such a garden you will often find an island in the middle of the “lake” or “river”, which symbolizes "the island of eternal life" or Nirvana - a quiet place outside time and space. It may be represented by a turtle-shaped stone or a tree, the symbol of longevity and prosperity.
A Japanese garden is not designed to show a wide range of flowers. Rather, the Japanese prefer their gardens in austere conditions, such as during winter, when the trees are bare of leaves; the Japanese also cut the flowers of camellias, azaleas and other shrubs in order to make fewer flowers. Flowers are hardly used in layers or edges of the alleys. In fact, a Japanese garden reigns severe discipline regarding the use of flowers: they are planted only in a certain place of the house, called Tokonoma, an alcove specially built for this purpose. Fresh flowers are never used in floral arrangements on the table or the house; never worn in corsages, weddings or funerals. From the Japanese philosophical point of view which also governs the discipline of Japanese gardens, flowers and plants have a very special purpose and as an expression of nature they are never used as mere decoration.
The principles governing the arrangement of Japanese gardens come from Zen philosophy and have multiple meanings.
The principle of asymmetry. Fukin is the principle which controls balance in composition, and this is always asymmetrical. The space is organized in three dimensions - height, width and depth - and a Japanese garden will always display irregular elements.
The principle of simplicity – Kanso is the second principle; it relates to simplicity and eliminates any ornaments. It is believed that simplicity expresses things that are intrinsically true, natural, free from falsehood. Applying this principle involves a sense of cleanness and freshness. Also, items that fall into the category of this principle are never flowers or floral elements.
The principle of austerity – Koko - requires an ascetic and ephemeral aspect, apparently denoting time passing; it also involves severity, stiffness. The visuals are reduced to their basic structure, without any sensual aspects.
The natural principle. Shizen implies truthfulness and natural essence, but different from that of nature. It involves a creative sense and goal-; Shizen principle involves real genuineness and that nothing should be forced or imposed. Actually, true naturalness is in Zen philosophy denies ignorance and accidental. Shizen is related to art and the absence of false or artificial, although it involves a creative act, and is manifested by an apparent naturalness and spontaneous impression in the way of landscaping garden.
Principle of subtlety. Yugen refers to avoiding the obvious and is linked to the subtleties of nature; its features are suggested rather than fully disclosed. Involve hidden landscapes in areas where there are games of shadows, reflections and partial black outlines. This principle alludes to hidden details that are not clear from the beginning to the viewer. Finally, a Japanese garden is a collection of "subtleties": reflections in the lake, rocks and sand texture, shadow play, etc.
The principle of transcendence. The surprise is the immediate effect of using the principle Datsuzoku in Japanese garden. It involves conventional transcending ideas and traditional habits. Onlookers will be amazed in the presence of such elements and will witness quitting restrictive laws. Also this principle underlies creativity at the highest level.
The mere creation of a Japanese garden of natural materials and natural elements of success in revealing the essence is in itself a surprise.
The principle of peace. A feeling of peace that emanates in Japanese Zen gardens is due to the Seijaku principle of peace and calm. These two elements are sovereign in a Zen garden, and can be found in water reflections. Seijaku is opposed to noise and anxiety, although it is thought to be an active state, but with calming effects. The time of year that fits best late autumn or early spring, and the day dawn and dusk.
Pic5 muza-chan.netRYŌAN-JI – THE GARDEN OF NIRVANA RYŌAN-JI – THE GARDEN OF NIRVANA