“To create a world free of imprisonment, full of beauty and tranquility, and completely devoid of any sense of tension.” Shunmyo Masuno
Playing with rocks has always been a joy for this farm boy, and when I tried to remember when it started, this photo of my sister and I came to mind. As you can see, I was born to be wild since a very early age. Whatever I learned from Laura in the Poconos that day, is in action at my Zen Garden today.
Beginning Construction Phase
Zen Garden Concept Plant and Boulder Assignment
This fascinating design and installation journey within my garden is nearing completion with just a few rocks to go. Several were placed in haste, only to be removed, to achieve the aesthetic of the “karensansui,” or dry garden inspiration photos below.
“It is impossible to talk about Japanese gardens or beauty in Japan without mentioning ‘empty space’ (which) has its origins in Zen thought.” Shunmyo Masuno
The opportunity to create a bridge within the garden occurred when only this 9’ piece of bluestone slab was available for a 4’ long step. Rather than cut this beauty, I decided to take inspiration from traditional Zen gardens that often feature the Longmen falls in China (shown below) as a symbolic reminder of proverb “Fall Seven Rise Eight,” and the important message of perseverance embedded in its articulation of the kois’ 1000 year journey upstream.
Extended study of contemporary Zen gardens encouraged the application of essence detailed in the quote of Japan’s leading garden designer and Zen Buddhist priest, Shunmmyo Masuno. Starting with the removal of many plants!
“In Zen the state of one’s mind is not conveyed through letters or words, but attempts are made to condense everything through silence.” Shunmyo Masuno
“The essence is the silence, the emptiness that holds the true meaning of the garden. Contemporary forms may alter the perception of a garden, but the power of the empty space is always predominant.” Shunmyo Masuno
Jack Mascharka, Senior Designer