What is a Zen Garden and Its Use
We are living in tough times and sometimes it feels too much right? There are moments or days when you definitely want to find your inner peace (ideally inside your house), where or how can you do that? Well, the Japanese could help you there. Have you heard of a Zen Garden? Do you know what it is and how you can use it to bring that much needed inner peace? Stick around, we'll tell you all about it and why you need to get to make one right away.
Zen Gardens, also known as Japanese rock gardens have been around for quite some time. They have existed for nearly 3,000 years in monasteries, temples, public gardens, and private homes of people throughout Asia. Recently, the Western world has embraced them too. Zen gardens were influenced by Chinese mythology (all those legendary landscapes feature in Chinese mythology where the Immortal beings lived). Zen gardens or rock gardens appeared in Japanese palaces around 1,000 BC, featuring large stones and gravel imitating the great rivers and mountains of ancient lore.
Thanks to the rise of Zen Buddhism, Zen gardens expanded outside of the palace walls and they have become a place of meditation or a meditative exercise in temples and homes. Zen Buddhists created the zen gardens with two purposes on the mind. One, to imitate the essence of the natural world; two, to cultivate insights on the significance of life. That's basically the use of a zen garden and why people seek to have one.
The most famous zen gardens include moss, trees, and large oceans or lakes represented by sand, they also include a large rock (often standing in for Mt. Fuji).
A Zen garden is basically a miniature landscape that's composed of natural elements and they are arranged to reflect the essence of the natural world. They contain elements of water, trees, stone, sand, moss, gravel, and bushes. But, a zen garden can be as simple as a square of sand with a rock inside. What does each element represent?
Rocks and stones
A stone in a Zen garden represents the center of the world. There could be other stones surrounding the big one, and they represent worship. Rocks represent an eternal element of nature in a Zen garden. There are 5 rock categories:
- Kikuyu, (the element of earth) a reclining stone set near the foreground
- Shintai, (element of water), used as the base stone is flat or horizontal
- Shigeo, (element of fire), a shaped stone
- Reisho, (element of metal), a vertical and low-lying rock
- Taido, (the element of wood), low and vertical stone
Sand and gravel
The sand or gravel represents water. When it is raked is creates the texture of waves, imitating those in the ocean. White sand traditionally represents the purity of thought. Sand could also represent distance or emptiness.
Today Zen gardens have become very popular in many countries and since not everybody can actually put together in their gardens (thanks to urbanization) a zen garden, they have become miniaturized. You can now create or order a mini sanctuary of peace that you can place on your desk at work or in a special place at home.
10 Mini Zen Gardens For Every Budget
If you're seeking a place of refuge and reflection you can use a Zen garden, as we said before, they are great for stimulating meditation and bringing inner peace. By seeing the world "in a grain of salt"(William Blake), so to speak, a mini zen garden offers you a great place for meditating upon the big aspects of your life.
You can make your own miniaturized version of a zen garden, you can either order one online and just assemble it, or you can make your own. There are many options out there and we're sure you can find one that adapts to your budget. Here are some examples.
Zen Garden to Get Online
There are many options to choose from and ultimately you're going to choose the one mini zen garden that suits you. What do you want your zen garden to include? All mini Zen garden kits include at least a wood tray, stones, sand, and a rake. Take a look at these mini zen gardens that you can get online.
1. Zen Garden Black Handmade Kit for Indoors
If you're starting with this relaxation journey then this basic mini zen garden would be just right for you. It contains a handmade wooden box, sand, stones, and a mini rake. For starting, that's all you need and it's budget-friendly.
2.Toysmith Mini Zen Garden
If you really don't have a lot of space, then this mini zen garden is for you, it takes "mini" to the next level and can actually fit in your palm. It's tiny but it packs a lot of serenity, it contains very smooth stones, pagodas, a ceramic cane, sand, and a mini rake.
3. Toysmith Deluxe Zen Garden
A mini zen garden perfect for your coffee table or office desk. It's made of rosewood and it includes three different rakes. One long-handed, one bamboo rake, and a kind of broom so you can create unique patterns in the sand. It comes with stones and two ceramic cranes, plus a meditation booklet.
4. Deluxe Wooden Sand Garden
With this mini zen garden, you can make sand patterns to your heart's content. It contains 6 rakes (all made from bamboo), you can create waves and ripples with the prongs or swirls with the pen, and then erase all that with the T so you can start all over again. It contains a Buddha figurine too.
5. ICNBUYS Zen Garden with Boat Bridge
if you want to stimulate your creativity and give your mini zen garden a personal style, then you can get this kit. This is not your traditional zen garden as it contains other elements such as a boat bridge and bushes and it could be fun to assemble too.
DIY Zen Garden
If you want to create your own mini zen garden, you need a few materials and time to do it. Here are some ideas of DIY zen gardens that you can recreate to de-stress yourself and maintain good vibes either at home or at the office.
6. Cute DIY mini zen garden
To create this cute mini zen garden you'll need a shallow glass bowl, fine sand or gravel, some pebbles or stones, and a crochet doily. It 's pretty easy to ensemble and you can get as creative as you want. You can even construct your own rake.
7. DIY mini zen garden made of recycled box
This beautiful mini zen garden is made of a small recycled mailbox (you can even use a shoebox). You'll also need sand, rocks, a rake, and air plants. See how you can do it here
8. DIY mini zen garden made of picture frame
Have a thick picture frame that you're not using anymore? You can recycle it and use it as the base for your mini zen garden. Apart from this, you'll need a glue gun and glue sticks, sand, small rocks, and a votive candle For the rake you either buy, use a fork, or made it yourself. See how's done here
9. DIY mini zen garden ready to go
How cute is this tiny zen garden?! You can make this one and take it with you wherever you go. You'll need mini tins, sand, skewers, or wooden dowel (for making your own tiny rake), scissors, hot glue, small rocks, and mini zip bags. To make follow these instructions.
10. DIY mini zen garden with crystals
This DIY mini zen garden has some crystals incorporated to add some healing power. You can use a dish as the base. Get some sand, crystals, stones, air plants, a mini rake, and see how you can assemble it here.
How to Use The Zen Garden
Why you should owe a zen garden or the miniaturized version of one? Here are some very beneficial reasons.
1. It helps with your meditation skills
One of the main purposes of a zen garden is to help you meditate. It could help you practice mindful breathing so you could empty your mind and just be.
2. To relieve stress and anxiety
These could be achieved by raking the sand and arranging the stones, once you start doing this you'll start to feel a sense of relaxation. The repetitive movements you do when raking the sand will help you focus on the present, It's a great way to escape your busy life.
3. Creativity Enhancement
One of the benefits of meditation is that it can improve your divergent thinking, leaving you with lots of inner space in your mind so that new ideas can emerge and flow, enhancing your creativity. This could be so helpful when you need assistance in solving problems at the office.
4. Increases focus, discipline and concentration
Having a Zen garden, especially a mini version on your desk could be a great reminder of staying focus and dedicated, with your goal in mind. It can help you to improve your patience and self-control.
5. Helps enhance your decor abilities
The grace and appeal of a mini zen garden is a contribution of the Japanese concepts of Kanso and Funkinsei. They are based on simplicity and asymmetrical balance so having a zen garden can help you enhance your decor at home bringing beauty, flow, and balance to it.
A zen garden will definitely help you with your meditation and can be a great escape when things get intense at the office or at home. Try having one near you by either ordering one online or by making it yourself.