By the way, when you see its beauty and perfection of the sand patterns in zen gardens, the first thing that springs up is a simple question, “Who is drawing such delicate patterns on sand?”
Sand patterns are made there like a crop circle, in a perfect and beautiful way. Actually, it’s not the gardener who makes them. According to what I’ve learned, priests studying zen do as part of their training, or priests at temples draw by himself!
Even if I understand that, it’s really hard to believe…After drawing the patterns, don’t you think if you walk there again, those patterns on the sand will collapse?
So here, I will clarify how the sand pattern is drawn.
Here are how to draw sand patterns;
- First of all, use Reiki, a broom-like wooden tool, to level the sand cleanly even. The design of sand patterns in an entire garden seems to be decided in advance by each temple.
- From the smoothed sand, this time we will use Reiki of which tip is like a comb, and make various sand patterns. Instead of pushing Reiki forward to make a pattern, draw Reiki backwards so that the pattern does not disappear with footmarks, that is, walk backwards.
I suppose it’s hard to understand even if you look at this explanation! So let’s take a look here! “Seeing is believing”, isn’t it?
Even so, it doesn’t look that easy, and it must also take a lot of physical strength, it seems.
By the way, for those beautiful patterns drawn on the white sand, there are various ways to draw, and each has a different meaning. Here are some typical ones that are often seen at temples with zen gardens.
A sand pattern that shows ripples spread when a drop of water falls on a water surface. I find this to be the most beautiful one.
A sand pattern that represents a calm water surface or flow. At Ryoanji, which is famous for its zen garden in Kyoto, the stone garden (Hojo Garden), which is now the main tourist attraction, has this pattern exquisitely and beautifully drawn in front of the center of the garden, giving it majesty and tranquility.
A sand pattern expressing high undulating waves and changes as shown in a photo of zen garden miniature.
As the name of the pattern implies, it represents flowing water. It reminds me of a stream and gives me the healing effect, again, as shown in the photo of zen garden miniature.
wave crest pattern
This represents a large wave of rushing. This is also known as a traditional Japanese pattern.
This is a lattice pattern with squares lined up like a grid and is one of the traditional patterns in Japan. This pattern has been regarded as an auspicious pattern, and again, as shown in the photo of zen garden miniature.
This represents the universe, enlightenment and truth.
This represents the universe, enlightenment and truth, as well, as shown in the photo of a left-hand whirlpool drawn in a zen garden miniature.
Here, I tried to show various sand patterns with the pictures. Even though there is no water, Karesansu gardens that can express wave patterns, streams and the sea with only sand and stones are amazing.
Next, in order to further explore the beauty of this Zen Garden, we will introduce you to zen gardens in various places mainly around Kyoto according to the characteristics of the landscapes.
You may find not only the most famous temple, Ryoanji, but also zen gardens that suit your taste. Please enjoy our post.