My reading adventures take me to most breathtaking places on earth. That’s why I wanted to share with you one of my latest trips to the country of the rising sun — Japan. A particular point of interest for today is Ryoan-ji temple. Why? Because this is where we’re going to practice Zen garden meditation, included in the altogether magnificent Zen Without Zen Masters by Camden Benares. The author writes:
Perhaps you have seen a Zen garden or pictures of Zen gardens with the artfully arranged rocks emerging from smoothly raked patterns in the sand. If you have not experienced the serenity that such a sight can create in you, do so as the first part of this exercise. The second part of the exercise is to create in your mind a Zen garden of your own design. Create it slowly, selecting the shades of sand, examining the contours of each rock, making the placement of each item a ceremony of pleasure and satisfaction. Mentally rake the sand to leave the flowing patterns that delight the eye and direct the attention to the harmony of the creation. Develop the garden so that it delights the eye from any angle.
Once you have created your mental Zen garden, you may wish to create one in reality, using whatever materials are easily obtained. You might wish to create one in miniature using salt as sand and a small box as the container. Let your imagination be your guide – you might find a Zen garden in the yard more desirable than a traditional lawn.
Regardless of whether or not you create a Zen garden in the material plane, the Zen garden of your mind will always be available to you as a quiet place where you find the calmness that refreshes the spirit.
Here’s a visual aid to this meditation created by yukikawae:
Hi, I’m Gavril, the guy behind this blog. What you see here is the combination of my three favorite things: reading, writing, and mindfulness. While you’re here, subscribe to my blog updates and gain access to free mindfulness resources for stress relief.