yama
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Zen has nothing to do with Japanese garden #1

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
8-14-2010

Herb3
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Mike -

I am pleased that you are trying to put right some of the western misunderstandings of the Japanese gardening aesthetic. I hope you will write more on this topic.

The most recent issue of the Sukiya Living (Journal of Japanese Gardening) magazine also has a leading article about the use of the word "Zen" in relation to Japanese gardens. Sukiya Living Magazine does not like the expression "Zen Garden" and urges the use of expressions like "dry garden" and "dry landscape" instead.

Some years ago, Sukiya Living also mentioned that there is a widespread misunderstanding, in the west, of the situations where it is appropriate to have a Shinto Arch. (I had constructed a sort of Shinto Arch in our garden but, after reading what Sukiya Living had to say about it, I cut the top off the Arch and turned it into a roofed gate - and the roofed gate immediately looked - to me - much more tasteful.)

Herb

yama
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Shinto and Buddhism have been co existed ever since Buddhism introdued to Japan. AD 552 or Ad 538 Depend of what source of informaton used. I firmly believe that Buddhism came to Japan 200 years before official date. Japanese don't have written old record but Korean history have.
2 years ago , I visited to my aunt who live Shizuoka, Iwata city. I visited few temple nera anut's home. One temple had "torii" /shinto arch-in Temple ground. Many old and famus Temples has Torii and shinto shrine. Name sake, temple bulding and shinto shrin has same rank. Shinto shrine on temple ground is not anex to temple. It is independent from the temple and co exsiting.
(Tori has slight or no curve/arch by the way)
Korrean Temple has Mountain God siting on tiger or side of tiger alway in the temple.( Temple of JOGA order, I do not know other 20 or so sect of Korean Buddhism).
I have to explain Japanese histoty of Shinto and Buddhism some other time.

I think that Sukiya liveing improving quality of artilce but it is still short of full story.and not always acurate on historical fact.
I don't like to sukiya living chengeing name such as dry garden , viewing stone etc. Dry garden has its name for 1,000 years as karesansiu and viewing stone as raihai seki. Sukiya living has such small influence to Japanese garden society 1,400 s of history. Some one started publication only 10 years or so ago, tryto chenge name thir way of seeing Japanese garden is arrognace.

Why some Japanese garden called Zen garden?
because Garden belong to Zen temple? what if pureland monk designed garden for zen sect temple?

What if zen monk desinded garden for pureland temple or Shingon temple/estoric Buddhim,
If you ask to Japanese what is Zen? 90% or more of them can't answer what is zen.

Buddhism give every one great freedom of thinking.Dogma, sutras which often use for zen study has nothing to with garden. Individual zen monk (S) can express his artistic desire such as design garden, painting, curving, poem as way of his life.

I am getting sleepy :) Will write again.
Herb: thanks to responding my post.
Mike Yamakami

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Piet Patings
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I can only agree with what is written.

Wybe Kuitert in his book 'Scenes and Taste in the History of Japanese Garden Art.' (1988) probably first disputed the term Zen-garden. He suggests that the term Zen was first associated with Japanese gardens by Loraine Kuck in the early 19-hundreds.

When I built my karesansui garden I later started my website as www . karesansui . nl. However the term 'Zen-garden' is now so well known and popular that I decided to change the terminology and change my domain name to that respect and I gave up de karesansui . nl. Very very few people use the word 'karesansui'. The search-terms used are 'dry rock garden', 'japanese rock garden' and the like.

So for me the term Zen-garden is used very much pragmatic when it really is about a karesansui garden.
Piet, Tsubo-en

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Piet Patings
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By the way, a good subject Yama san.

It is really irritating to see what total nonsense is written about this subject on the web. One of the poorest examples is an article I found on articlesbase.com it states: ...Japanese gardens are traditionally ruled by Zen philosophy.
... and that is for all Japanese gardens. It even uses these words mutually exclusive !

And then to realize that this article has been accepted to that database tells something about the article quality !
Regards,
Piet, Tsubo-en

yama
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Hi Piet
Thank you for responding to my post. What you wrote or think is one of voice and many can relate to your posting. I am still strugling English and may not able to write polite way, not have proper vocaburaly( and misspellings). So if ihurt your feeling, Please forgive me.

You wrote" I can only what is writen" Only you have read book (s) in your language? Have you ever read Buddhism sutras ? I think you shuld read Sutras for Zenstudy , Pureland Buddhis and general buddhism.
Two of arthur you have mentioned, Did they speak and read japanese or chinese and and able to read and fully understand sutras, History of Japanese garden and Japanese histroy ?

Most chinese can read and pronunce words in Sutras but most chinese do not understand meaning of it because many words in sutras are in sunskrit.
When koreans stduy sutras , Chinese sutras are used and next to Chinese charactoers, there are Hungle/Korean charactoer side by side. Korean are readind how chinese read but most Korean people don't understand meaning of each words because many words in sutra are sunskrit. It is same to Japanese. For Japanese , it is even harder. Korean read uniformly. They read korean/Hungle same as reading book and news paper.
Standard Japanese way to read and pronance chinese charachtor do not apply to when we read sutras. Well respected Japanese professor who wrote "Sakuteiki" with American co arthour, could not read the word and he left blank in his book. I could read,and origin of meaning because I am studying Buddhism.
Chinese Charachtor we call "Kanji" meaning leter of Kan, Han in chinese. This Kanji is how read ,study in all schools News paper and official letters but not in Sutra. Sutra is pronunced "Go on" ( not go as go to) Go is name of old Chinese kingdam and Japanese was copying sound of "Go" people pronuneced. So well educated professor who have been teaching Japanese garden could not read it. Just imergin How average Japanese can read.
(The book of Sukuteiki was published only 10 years or so ago.)

I don't trust second hand or third hand informations. Reading some one's books and put it togather and write as own writing/book. I don't trust contents.

Garden of jodo/pureland. garden of zen, garden of daimyo and kuge/war loard and Rolyal family . garden of roji/tea garden and karesansui. those are tipical way to define Japanese gardens. Karesansui and zen garden ofeten as one but I think it is wrong way to call it.

If you study zen teach, pureland buddism and Buddhism in general by your self then you will know origin of Japanese garden. Also you will learn
why Korean zen buddhism and chinese buddhism have nothing to do with garden.

You can call your garden whatever you like to call or name it. Zen demand action. You can find your way to enlighted. No one else but your self to find what is zen. That is Zen's way.

Mike Yamakami.

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I'm clapping with one hand, Mike... :lol:

HG
Scott Reil

yama
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Hi Scott
why not both hand? :D Your brother study zen ,Soto zen.. I have met once Shimano Roshi in Atlanta. One of customer IN Atlanta is friend of Shimanao roshi. Small world.
Ever since I went to christian school in Tokyo, Everywhere I go, Bible is always with me.
Being christian, leaning Buddhism was not confertable.
I have been wondering why zen monks and pureland monks involved design and constraction of gardens and what why,when,how .
Chinese and Korean buddhism don't involve garden and its constaction. I wanted to know why. later I found that other sects of Japanese buddhism such as Tendai sect, Shingon sect monks were also involved constraction of Japanese garden. beside nobleman, war loards, group of Doboshu/ low cast peoples........

Ifound three sutras of main pureland sutras are clearly sugesting foundation of Japanese garden.
I cannot finding any of sutras use for Zen sect teach and its canons .

Dinner is ready.....I write more later. mike

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So we should call them Rinzai Gardens?

:lol:

HG
Scott Reil

yama
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Hi Scott
Japanese zen sects suh as Rinzai shu, Soto shu .Ohbaku shu and Tendai shu all have different of its tech. also way of practice zen by other sect such as Jodo shu, jodoshin shu, Shingon shu, Nichiren shu, kegon shu, Sanron shu. Kushya shu they practice zen,
Dharuma Daishi is concidered as first Chinese zen founder, even he ws not Chinese. Lineage of zen masters from Mahakasyapa ( Maha Kashyapa is one of 10 descipal of Budha) Dharuma daishi is 28th of zen master.

Reading sutras of Pureland Budhism , I found relationship between Japanese garden and Buddhism.
Reading sutras which zen sect use as study material, I have not found anythying relate to Garden.
Zen teachs " Furyumonji" zen teach is not depend on letters/leterature. Thir leaning is not depend on sutras. When zen teach don't care much even sutra, why they care garden. Zen monk can meditate anywhere. tehy don't have to face garden nor wall.
Probably you cannot tell different between zen garden or any gardens in kyoto.
Individual zen monk may have been involved to constraction of Japanese garden. Shingon monks, Tendai monks, pureland monks are also constracted many Japanese garden. Some of zen temple garden was build by Sansui kawaramono. lowest cast of Japanese soscity, and Doboshu/ many are self ordained Pureland monks such as Ji shu monks
Probably Shimano Roshi don't care garden much so did Dogen zen shi or Eisai zenshi.
This is too complicateed topics for Non Buddhist, perhapas even for Buddhist . Many sutras zen study have not translated yet.Some sutras are translated fron Chinese version of sutra. Sunskrit to Chineese then Chinese to English may lose origianl meaning of the sutra.

There is wonderful website for someone who like to read sutra in English , If you are intrsested Please let's me to know.
mike

Josh from GISG
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Hi Yama,

Great post! I am a Shingon monk in Nara and I agree that there is too much emphasis placed on the "Zen" in a garden. I think Zen has been sold to the western world as merely a way to meditate or more of a philosophy that is compatible with any other beliefs. I don't fully agree with this because I think it is so much deeper than this. Most other Japanese forms of Buddhism are complicated and require sutra reading and chanting etc., so they are not easily grasped by people.

But because the world has embraced the term Zen, I can understand Piet Patings use of "Zen Garden". It is the most basic way to communicate what he is talking about. If you use "Zen Garden" as an entry way to your site or business, I hope you then can educate people about the karesansui and other detailed aspects of rock gardens etc. People in general like to learn.

I think the placing of stones and the overall garden design stems from a general Japanese aesthetic that has developed over time. There are many aspects to aesthetics such as wabi-sabi or yugen that I think people lump together as "Zen." As you point out, there are various Buddhist temples of different sects that all have and love Japanese gardens, but they wouldn't exactly associate it directly with Buddhism. Koyasan (Mt. Koya), which is like Shingon's mecca, is a mountain top full of Japanese gardens at Shingon temples but they don't associate it with Zen. Shinto's respect and love of nature may be more of a connecting factor. Although I also believe Buddhism has been around longer than what is normally stated and that it has influenced Shinto beliefs. I would suggest a general study of Japanese aesthetics would bring someone closer to aspects of designing and appreciating a Japanese garden than doing Zazen would. A combination might be good though :wink:

yama
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Hi Jhon
I have a friend who is Shingon monk. I attending every sunday Korean Zen temple of Sokei sect (chogea order).
I am reading Rinzairoku and Shohoganzo zuimonroku Teach of / record of Dogen Zenshi.
Shingoshu's zen is called "Ajikan" Tendai sect call "shoshikan" Jodo shu and Jodoshinshu ,In Kammuryojukyo one of three Pureland's main sutra
called "kanso" Chinese pureland Buddhism use 5 main sutras for study.
Amida sutra, Kanmurryjukyo, and Muryojukyo some how conect to Japanese garden.
IN Sokeishu chanting prase Amidanyorai, and founder of Chogea order"Giso who is master of Kegon sutra.
!3 and 14 century. many Shingon sect monk involved Japanese garden constraction and rebuild Todai ji. It is same Tendaisect monk.

After I retune to Japan end of this year, I am going to visit Daikakuji/kyoto, Koyasan and Yakushiin in Hachioji city / my home town.
Yakushiin ,Naritasan and Kawasakidaishi are Kanoto 3 major temple of Shinogon shu as you know.
Do you know that There is shingo sect in Korea. Shingo sect is minority sect in Korea. also in Hongkong. I also planing to visit to Heian sa which had 84000 wood blok of wooden sutras.
My Korean temple chant in Suskrit/mantras same as Shingon sect.

It is nice to meet with you on this website. Please ask to webmaster for my email address. My friend is at portland, Oregon Shingon sect's US head quater, like you he was born in us he is sansei Japanese. his uncle is a monk in Japan.
mike

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Yama, you say you are studying Dogen Zenshi?

How about the Mountains and Rivers Sutra? Isn't "mountains and rivers" an old euphemism for gardens?

While Zen may not be the best descriptive expression for the style, the art certainly sprang from spiritual roots. The earliest expressions were more related to Shinto than to Buddhism, but there is undeniably a period of Japanese Garden Design steeped in Buddhist tradition.

One of the first stringent reforms to the Meiji Edict was the adoption of the Western ideas and teaching at the Imperial College. Their first Chair of Architecture was Josiah Conder, who offered the first English book on the subject of Japanese gardens. Of stone setting he says,
From very ancient times it has been the custom in the grounds of temples and monastaries, to apply a religious meaning to the principle stones giving them the names of different Buddhist deities or the attributes of certain holy functions.

Landscape Gardening In Japan

It seems strange that this man charged with overriding the traditions of Japan with the modernisms of Western society would make note of this point if it was not somehow intrinsic to the gardens themselves. So many of the temple gardens spring from this tradition, and so many other aspects of stone setting are influenced by the stone setting priests. Conder's commentary seems to confirm this for me.

This is not to say that there are not secular gardens, or to detract from the other styles as a lesser derivation. And Yama and Josh are right; Zen accounts for so few of the gardens of Japan. The term has been grossly over-used. But the gardenstyle did spring from a religious background that certainly included Zen in it's lineage...

HG
Scott Reil

yama
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Location: Salem, MA

Hi Scott
Yes I am studying Dogen and Rinzai. To learn whos is Dogenzenshi,"Shohoganzozimonki" is well known book,record of,teach,conversation with his deciple. try to find Dogen's master in China and what he tought to Dogen.
Rinzairoku and Shohoganzo zuimonki is enetry book to lean both Zen master, Obaku who was Rinzai's master Obaku's master, 6th patriarch Eno, then 5th Gunin Eno's master way back to Dahruma daishi, I am learning what sutres have been used for Zen.There is English varsion of Shohoganzozuimonki but is is expensive can't afford the book,
I have list of classic book from Toyodo Kanda, Tokyo which list about 10,000 books?0old/used book from 800 yen to 1,2 million yen.

Dogen start teaching away from Kyoto, Nara and Kamakura. Dogen told his deciple not waste water when wash, clean while back of the temple had stream. Dogen's deciple contacted to Shogun in Kamakura to give Kokushigo( meaning master of the cuntry), Dogen kickout his deciple and cut off froor where the diciple sit removed soil. Dogen was offerd three times to given purple robe from Emeror, he refuse tow times at third time, to keep Empero's face , He accecped pourple robe ,but he never worn it. THe pourple robe is honrnering /showing the highest rank of preist , only given from Emperor.
Eiheiji was very poor because Dogen stay away from power full, rich nobels and Shogun, Emperor.
To build garden take 500 to 1,000 workers for years.
History of Rinzai sect is different from Soto sect.
Rinzairoke(record of Rinzai's teach) not mentiong any garden.
Rokuso dankyo which was written by Eno has nott mentioning any garden.
So far 100 or so sutras I have collected,400~500 or so Buddhism related books published 6~ 8 cuntries.

Korean zen and Chinese zen have nothing to do with gardem,. nly Japanese Buddhism involed heavyly with garden. I like to to why.
Only I can think of connection to Japanese garden is pureland sutras.
Muso kokushi is/was well known to build/design Japanese garden, he was Rinzai monk ordained as Shingon monk when he was young.
Once I go back to Japan, I get book about Muso kokushi and lean his life, his personal history and word he left.

I have asking my self that what is qualification to be called zen garden?
1) Garden of Zen temple? The temple originaly build as Pureland
temple and had built garden based on Pureland sutras can be called
Zengarden such as Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji.
2) Zen temple's garden designed and build by pureland monk is still
can be called zen garden ?
3) Any non zen sect garden can be called zen garden since practicaly all
sects of Buddhism practice zen?
What do you think ?. Scott :roll:

I don't check email or this websit offten any more I have new toys. new laptop pc, degital camera and trying new things. :D

Ps
I am collecting sutras tredtionaly used as text by zen masters. ( well known and mentioned offten)
I donot know anything about the sutra you mentioned above.
Best regard. yama

yama
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Dear Scott
I am learning Soto sect and Dogen's teach, history of Chinese zen . Becide relation of Japanese garden and zen but also because of Brian Victoria's critizum of Japanese Buddhism and Suzuki Daisetue.
Brian Victria , he was ordined Soto shu, I think at Eiheiji Maine temple of Sotoshu.
what he teachs at Univercity he is teachin Buddhism,he is making bad exsample himself. His book is against Dogen's teach.("zen at war") Showing luck of Budhhism teach. and Japanese history.
This subject may not proper in this forum . It gos much deeper than most of readers want to know in this forum.

I have to study more about Japanese garden history,history of Japanese buddhism. Once I retune to Japan, I am planing to visit to Eihei ji temple Daitokuji. if I'm lucky and find Kawamoto sensei, I can visit to Tenryuji with out restriction. myself as Buddhist, I can find way to Rinzai sect temples and Soto templs. Many of books about Japanese garden or zen have not translated into English.
I will let's you know my findings.
yama

yama
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Location: Salem, MA

Hi all
If you like to read sutras in English , this is for you.
www4.bayarea.net/~mtlee
which sutras are for zen study ? let's you know later.
yama

yama
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Dear Scott
4~5 years ago,Amazon.com jp had 5,500 Buddhism related books.
To check it up all of books listed, it took me 2 weeks, every day sat on chir 10~ 12 hours to read brief introduction of the books and arthurs.
Tody,Amazon.com jp has about 15,000 bokks of buddhism related books.
It may take whole a month, just ckeck up all books listed on Amazon.com,jp
I am going to find more about zen garden. however this topic is not for most of your readers. So I stop write this topic and write topick which entertain this forum readers.
If you have any sugestion,please let's me to know.
yama

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Thanks Yama! You know I find all this connection to the old gardens and the old stylings fascinating. The more the merrier...

S
Scott Reil



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