mahabis design // japanese rock gardens in kyoto

while investigating the curiosity of a japanese rock garden, we've found ourselves caught between a rock and an infinite place. that is what we love about zen design.

japanese rock gardens (枯山水 karesansui) use minimalism to symbolize the essence of nature and are designed to serve as an aid to meditation.  

the most famous japanese rock gardens are in kyoto, the old capital of japan. every traveller or pilgrim to kyoto must visit ryoan-ji. this serene stone garden started as a private residence in the 11th century but  was turned into a zen temple in the 13th century as zen buddhist monks brought back ideas from china. (they also brought green tea).

the rectangular garden has perfectly raked gravel in symmetrical lines and naturally shaped rocks that seem to be both unpredictable and yet perfectly chosen for their task.

it's also interesting to consider that each morning a monk must re-rake the lines in the exact same way as they have been raked every day for up to the last 900 years. the raking and repetition can be consider a meditation in itself.

the world changes but the pebbles remains in the same place. the deeper that you look into a section like this, the more you  fall into the idea of waves, land and mountains.... and to a sense of serene calmness.

the rocks and gravel will also conjure up different imagery if viewed from different sitting positions.

it is worth considering that every individual stone, from a tiny pebble to larger rock, each have their own special purpose in the garden.

and for extra bliss and ambience, chill out in front of a rock garden whilst listening to these japanese buddhist chants.


 photos are from various flickr photographers. click on the image to get to the source.



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