The “Zen Rock Garden” as it is affectionately known in the community
The author completed this raking pattern (the result of about 5-hours work with help from several curious meditators) in early October 2016, specifically as an offering to the practitioners sitting in the adjacent (behind the 6 red-framed windows) practice space known as the “Main Shrine Room.”
Of all the patterns produced thus far by this author/raker, this is the simplest and yet resonates the most energy from what has been called “The Buddha Rock” or the largest rock protruding from the earth closest to the Main Shrine Room. Encircling the large stone created a pattern of watery ripples that fills the entire garden space. Simpler, quieter, one-ring ripples encircle the 4 stones that represent islands (like the “Buddha Rock”) amidst the wave-action of the teaching Buddha (and all Buddhist teachers), to form the precious three jewels of the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha–all represented here by way of a single focal stone, 4 other stones, and an ever-expanding range of concentric circles.
Before The Year of the Fire Monkey ends (January 27, 2017), and before the calendar year of 2016 ends (December 31st, 2016), the author (given 2-6 years to live by Western Medicine) plans to offer one more raking in the coming weeks prior to the first week of November. Because of recent events, because of changes ahead, because of the environmental energies we feel and honor, the next pattern will surely be very different.
The author’s dedication to karesansui here at what Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1970, named, “The Tail of the Tiger” has given him a beloved mind-body synchronization practice (along with the profound practice of Kyudo)–within a sacred space–that has resulted in a strong appreciation for an ancient and traditional Japanese, Zen-monastic practice. The author plans to remain involved in the upkeep, uplift, and future of this particular example of a small, temple-style dry landscape garden.
Though it appears simple, the challenge of completing the final encirclings (four stones, one of which cannot be seen in this lovely photograph, with photo-credit thanks to Mr. G. Vu) was difficult….namely entering and exiting the two “disciple” stones, or Buddha’s children–the two stone/islands flanking the Buddha stone to the right and left–and finally, touching up and exiting at the Buddha stone. The final operation of raking the single “frame” line was straightforward, and–as the author has told others (and through consultation with our resident Feng Shui expert), improves the feng shui of the garden.
May this garden help others contemplate impermanence, joy, and the six perfections as they manifest in the phenomenal, psychological, and social worlds. Thanks to the Vidyadhara for creating this garden; thanks to everyone who has supported and acknowledged the author’s practice in this subtle space; and thanks to the stones and the dralas. May…..as the Natives say when sometimes referring to stones…..the ” wise ones” continue to offer a space of phenomenal quietude and yet, contemplative insight, and may the garden itself thrive and benefit all sentient beings, especially those who visit this space/place and feel the dralas that have been felt and carefully embraced by this dedicated karesansui raker. With hopes of continuing to practice the contemplative dry landscape art within this space in the coming years, thanks to Mr. A. deLong for giving me the first opportunity to explore what has become a most profound and energizing meditative and contemplative practice. Most gratefully, as my healing journey contnues…..Chi-me Chönying
As the Axis of Character now approaches 100 posts, and with this author’s awareness that posts have been sometimes frequent, sometimes absent for extended periods, and, of course, sometimes non-literary in appearance….the author wishes to note that his health has become a paramount challenge. Secondly, photo-imagery is important, alternative blog content, along with captions and ancillary text as a part of this overall literary experiment. Captioning a photograph can take many turns, leading to a future post (as these dry landscape garden posts have been a kind of counterpoint to the fabulist [fable-like] pieces that have been regularly offered at the Axis), creating illustrative relief. As a visio-spatial and kinesthetic artist/writer, images and the 3d spaces they imply via 2 dimensions–posts containing photos of real-world imagery–help provide juxtapositions and inspiration for literary moves.
May you enjoy the experiment as it continues (while the author searches for better, more curative, healing therapies). Your comments are always welcome.