On this page of our online meditation course we’ll be looking at Zen garden meditation.
If you have a zen garden you will get some excellent ideas for updating it. If you do not yet have a meditation garden you’ll learn how to design one from scratch.
There are few experiences as enjoyable or relaxing as Zen garden meditation. So let’s dive right in.
First you need to decide how to design your Zen garden.
There are lot of decisions to make when you’re designing a Zen garden.
Where should you lay your sand, rocks, bonsai trees and other items?
Designing your Zen garden will take time, but this is part of the exercise: It is contemplation.
Take time designing your garden. Do not rush. I mean, rushing wouldn’t be very Zen now, would it? So, take time and enjoy the journey of designing your garden. You might like to draw it out in pen / pencil first so you have everything planned out in advance. This can save you time later on.
What you will need to make your Zen garden
There are a few items you will need when making your Zen garden:
- White sand
- A special rake. Zen rakes have dowel-like rods. These are used to make impressions in the sand. Using the rake you can smooth the sand with one side and make swirling patterns with the other.
- A Buddha statue (take a look at my selections of the best Buddha statues to buy. They’ll look beautiful in your garden).
- Inspiration! Take a look at these Zen sayings and quotes so you’re inspired and read to get to work!
Planning your Zen garden
Here are some things to bear in mind when designing your zen garden…
- Dependent on the space you have dedicated to it, your zen garden may be big or small. Provided you have enough room for meditation and perhaps some zen walking, then all is fine. A zen garden doesn’t need to be elaborate, but rather practical for spiritual practice. So, make sure that your Zen garden is large enough for you to do Zen Walking Mediation in it. Take a look at our guide to Zen meditation to see the types of meditations you can do in your garden.
- A Zen garden should be flat, but may be square, rectangle, round or any other shape.
- Your Zen garden should merge into the rest of the garden and the surrounding landscape. You want it to look as though your garden is flowing from the Zen garden to the rest of the garden. This will help you to feel a sense of oneness when you meditate in your garden.
- A Zen garden has a layer of sand with rocks on top, so much of the garden will be filled with sand
Making Your Zen Garden
- Clear the area that will used for your Zen garden and set down some wooden planks like a large sandbox.
- Make a few holes in this for water drainage.
- Create borders to keep the dirt from entering your garden.
- Make sure the bottom is as level as possible before you begin to cover it.
- Put several inches of your white sand on the garden. This will be raked over and over again over the time you have your zen garden.
It is up to you if you wish to add decorative elements (perhaps a bonsai tree, for instance). Trees can hold spiritual significance and are helpful when meditating. Personally I also like to set up a bird feeder. That’s just me, though. I love animals and nature, and having the sounds of birds singing around me while meditating creates a divine experience. You may instead choose to incorporate water features, a statue of Lord Buddha, wind chimes, or any other elements that you personally enjoy. Remember, though, that you are going to be meditating in this space. It is very important that you minimize distractions, so as to create an ideal meditation space. The same rules apply here as apply when you are creating a meditation room.
Maintaining your Zen Garden
Your Zen garden will be maintained using the rake. This can be used to clear away leaves and other debris.
Use garden maintenance as an opportunity for meditation. Love your garden and enjoy its upkeep. This is a sacred spiritual space that you are designing for yourself. It should be created and maintained with love and affection.
The final result
With proper love and affection, your zen garden could easily end up looking as beautiful as this…
Now you’ve got a meditation space outside, why not create a meditation room inside your home?
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