While we were in Kyoto, the place I was most eager to return to, was Ryoanji. On my desk at work sits a tiny greenish coloured bronze replica of this temple’s famous rock-garden which I bought the first time I visited, almost 10 years ago. Everyday I look at the model while my visuals render or large files slowly save. During those moments I can easily picture myself sitting on the wooden deck of the hojo, smell the timber structure and tatami floors and can almost feel the sunshine on my face; I dearly love this garden.
There are 15 boulders placed within the raked gravel rectangle, yet from a seated position only 14 are visible at any one time. It is thought that only through achieving enlightenment, can one see the 15th stone. It is an extremely peaceful place as visitors quietly sit and watch, contemplate and count the rocks. People are often fascinated by the minimal side of Japanese culture, Ryoanji belongs to the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism and has actually been used since 1450 as a Zen training temple, it surely must be one of the origins of Japan’s minimalist aesthetic. It was really great to spend some more time here and to add new memories to my own tiny garden.
I liked this wikipedia info: tracing the meaning of Zen back through Japanese, Chinese and Sanskrit, it translates roughly as ‘meditative state’. Or ‘absorption’.