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Zen Gardens and assorted ramblings

Once more in McDonalds with a cup of coffee. Very therapeutic. Mornings are not my best time but for some reason my spirits are lifted here. It's certainly not the burgers. The world is often mysterious, full of surprises.

I enjoy having a thread based loosely upon zen gardens, finding where they go. Dogen, the 13th century zen master once wrote:-

[i]Whoever told people that 'Mind' means thoughts, opinions, ideas, and concepts? Mind means trees, fence posts, tiles and grasses"
(And gardens)

This is true. We can feel trapped in our minds, yet "if consciousness ends in the skull how can joy exist?" Which was a question asked by another zen guy. We have to allow Reality to come to us, be open, ready to [i]receive[/i], not imprint our own thoughts, our own self, upon it.

[i]Seen with the eye of faith
the cherry blossoms
are always about to fall[/i]


Faith is not belief, faith lets go and allows Reality to illuminate us. Belief seeks to dictate to Reality.

Getting back to zen gardens, one feature is often of a meandering path, one that in fact leads nowhere. Which is much like my own Pure Land path, a way that is no way at all, a way of no calculation, a way more of trust and grace. The Catholic monk Thomas Merton once received a picture of a house from the young daughter of an older correspondent. Merton wrote back saying that though he thought the house was lovely he was sorry to see that there was no path to the door. In the next letter there was another picture of the house but this time with a path leading up to the door. Merton then wrote of "the road to joy that is mysteriously revealed to us without our exactly realising it."

St John of the Cross once wrote that if we wished to be sure of the road we tread on "we should close our eyes and walk in the dark ".

(Don't try that on the M25)

Moving off at a tangent, the gravestone of the poet and artist David Jones was a circle, which is significant. David Jones once said that everything constituted a sort of circle in some way. "I need to think that everything is complete somewhere". I'm much the opposite. I tend to think that the journey is home. Home is not "completeness" but more being receptive, open to grace.

Dogen spoke of "continuous practice"........."On the great road of Buddha ancestors, there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained. It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off. Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana, there is not a moments gap; continuous practice is the circle of the way" So, a circle, yet neverending. The Middle Way of the Dharma.

There is the suggestion that though we live ("common sensically") in a linear time frame, Reality itself is not simply linear.

Well, this post has been a mixture of spontaneous thoughts and cut and paste from previous bits and pieces. I see that sensitivities morph, ways of understanding change.

A couple of images to finish...


May true Dharma continue.
No blame. Be kind. Love everything.
JollyRoger · 70-79, M
So right! Taking a long walk in the serenity of the wind in the trees or the bending of the grass in a field gives our 'mind' time to process its muddle of thoughts, let them dissipate and then precipitate into meditation on the beauty of the world - the world where we live but seldom observe.

I love your 'First day in the Zen Garden School' cartoon!
TelegramSam · 70-79
Here is an example of a miniature zen garden. Obviously not large enough to chill out in but use your imagination.....

I live in a retirement complex and the lady who is the scheme manager has one much like it in her office. She hails from the Philippines. My granddaughter, when just three, while in her office saying hello, gave the intricate swirls a helping hand according to her own fancy. Ying and yang became a little confused and as far as I know have never recovered.
TelegramSam · 70-79
A gift I received from my daughter for Christmas, a Zen Garden Litter Box. Unfortunately the subtle ying/yang lines are often disrupted when our grandchildren spend time with us.


TelegramSam · 70-79
A few nice pictures of zen gardens.

TelegramSam · 70-79
A couple more.....

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