This article may confuse you.
Many garden books of Japan and west, Zen garden is always big topic. Many of arthurs of Japanese garden did not study, did not read sutras to study Zen nor pureland buddhism
Zen as sect of Buddhism or Zen thought by past Zen masters .
Practicaly All sects or countries of Buddhism study and practice Zen. Word of Zen has many meanings. Zen is Japanese way to pronunce Chinese word of "Chan " "Son" in Korean.
Chinese Zen sects or Korean zen sect has nothing to do with garden design. In fact, many sutras often used as text book by zen sect don't mention anything about garden.
Three sutras of pureland Buddhism mentioning garden, trees. pond, creek/river, water lily in the pond.Building of Gold pavilion/kinkaku temple and silver pavilion/ Ginkaku temple of kyoto is mentioned in One of pureland Buddhism sutra called Kan muryo ju kyo.
( By the way, Kinkakuji or ginkakuji is not true name of the temple)
Threre are about 3,000 sutras. and comentarys of sutras and rules of Sanga (temple), monks, nuns and famose high preist's writing or his word are also considered as sutra. So ,All togather there are about 7,000 of them. Some sutra contain only cople hundread of word/letters, large sutra contain milions of wors/letters.
Word of Zen as meditation, Japanese Buddhism sects call different way one to other. No matter how it called or practice ,teach are go back to Buddha, how Buddha attained perfect wisedom, and we are learning and practicing how Buddhda attained perfect wisdom.
Many of so called Zen garden in past, some zen garden was desgined by Zen monk such as Muso kokushi. many zen gardens was desgned /build pureland monks, Shingon sect monks, Tendai sect monks and other sects of monks.
The founder of Soto zen sect ( Dogen), Rinzai sect( Eisai), Pureland sect.(Honen) , Shingon sect( Kukai/Kobodaishi) Tendai sect( Saicho/Denkyo Daishi) all of them have nothing to do with Japanese garden.
Instead, involevment to build /design Japanese garden were indivisual monk and some one like Kobori Enshu who was Sumurai and his task was contraction related work include garden constraction and related building constraction.
Teach of zen and dogma has nothing to do with garden but it may relationship between uniqe politect of Japan and Japanese Buddhism.
Long before so called Zen Buddhism came to Japan in 13 century, there were already had form of Kare sansui, dry garden often called zen garden.
I belong to Korean Zen sect JOGA Order( Chogyo Order), Japanese call, Sokei shu. I have been trying to find why Korean temple don't have big gardens or not spend big money on garden? . Korean Zen teach don't see much value garden in the temple ground. Pureland Buddhim is in Korean Zen sect much as Japanese zen sects. Foundermental teach and understanding between Zen and Pureland buddhism are different, but hundread of years Zen and pureland Buddhim were co exited and studied by each others. some sutras used both sects are same. Historicaly Chinese Buddhism have been both sects studying same sutras so that Korean and Japanese buddhism do same.
Probably You have critictizm, disagreement, or just wonder why on my article.
You are welcome to post your critizum, your disagreement, or simply question(s).
by Mike Yamakami