Zen Gardens - Gardens in the Mind

This week we made a small zen garden and some garden rakes. Sharon-san explained to us that Karesansui, or "dry gardens," are quiet works of

landscape art. Rocks, gravel, sand, and moss are arranged to represent mountains, rivers, and islands. A New Zealand garden is a jumble of plants.

A Zen garden is completely different it has no plant life and it exists in our calm imagination.

In a Zen garden the sand is raked in waves and circles to suggest the movement and ripples of water.

Zen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese character chan, which is linked to an Indian word, dhyana, which means meditation.

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In a Zen garden, rocks represent mountains

moss suggests islands, and the raked sand

patterns are the rivers or waves.

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To construct a Zen garden, the mind must be

completely focused, in an atmosphere of

peace and calm...

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Zen

... only then can your hand be relaxed and

controlled enough to create the beautiful and

perfect patterns.

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yama - mountain

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kawa - river

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shima - island

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When we began the session, the Allen Centre was SO QUIET. We had to free our minds of everything except thinking about where to place our beautiful rock-mountain.The quiet made us feel very calm and relaxed so that when we raked our water ripples, our movements would be smooth.

First of all we made our rakes. We made 2 - one rake was for smoothing out our sand, the second rake was for creating beautiful ripples to suggest rivers

and streams. The rakes were made out of dowel. We used stone-hammers to bang in the tines - we had to the tines level so our rakes made patterns

of even depth.You can see how to make one here.

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After we'd made our rakes, we filled a cardboard box with sand and chose a beautiful rock to represent a mountain or an island...

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We loved it!

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