A Japanese Tea Garden

Peace In Every Step, written by, Zen Master, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and poet Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that it is our intention that colors our attitude in everything we do. Doing everything with intention, brings order and peace of mind.

One of my favorite local spots is Geneva, Illinois. Some of you might remember a post I wrote last December about a fine little shop located in the downtown area.

In our harried lives, it is important to slow down with intention and notice everything around us. In creating a ceremony of the simplest things in life, we can gain a greater appreciation for the every day things around us.

Recently I went on a garden walk in Geneva, Illinois and I thought I would share my experience with you here.

The first stop was a hundred year old Japanese Tea Garden, located in the Fabian Forest Preserve. Here a woman plays the Guzheng, calling your mind to order.  You are now on a different plane than  you were moments ago driving in traffic. Relax along with me as you look at the pictures and read the post.

imageWith so much stress in our lives, it is easy to miss the little things that make us happy. It is important to slow down every once in a while and recharge our mind and soul.

Upon entering the garden you embark on a silent inner journey using all of your senses, leaving the secular world behind you enter the world of self reflection.

imageThe garden reproduces nature in miniature, offering symbolic elements of life. Paths vary in textures and help the visitor think about the varying paths of life. The gravel represents everyday challenges; wood chips represent quiet meditation; stepping stones represent risks and elevations represent climbing life’s difficulties.

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In life we are presented with choices and here in the garden you are presented with a choice of which path to take. You have a choice to climb the alternate path, Mt. Sumeru representing the Buddhist center of the universe. This way is arduous, as you mount life’s challenges.  Or, you can choose to take the easier path to the left and view the Mt. Sumeru’s symbol as you reflect. imageThe path delicately leads you to a waiting bench where you wait  to be taken to the tea house for tea. It is a place to set aside world cares.

imageimageThe tea house contains two windows, one square and one round to remind you that there are always two ways of looking at things to give you perspective.

You must remove your shoes before entering the tea house and place them pointing outward and away, symbolizing that your worries and cares will not follow you in. You cleanse your hands along with your mind in the water filled lotus bowl.

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Upon entering the tea house you sit in a lotus position while you are served green tea in silence. The decoration and ornamentation are sparse and austere to clear your mind. Economy of movement made by the server is deliberate and meaningful.

Inside you can reflect on the sites and sounds all around you. imageWater elements such as the calming pond and raging waterfall remind us of life’s ebb and flow

imageimageSitting on the meditation bench you can see two cranes. In Japan, the crane, or tsuru, is a national treasure. It is the symbol of longevity and good luck because it was thought to have a life span of a thousand years. Tsuru are also monogamous, therefore, a symbol of everlasting love.

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The plants and trees are chosen for textures and shades of green, along with a few splashes or red from the Japanese maples.imageThe half moon bridge above is very steep to test one’s religious zeal as you climb it.

imageOnce your path is slowed, and your breathing more calm, you might begin to notice more of the little things that are around you, like the frog about to leap or the robin about to bathe.

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Lastly, as you exit the garden, you will notice the snow capped Mt. Fuji, a revered landmark of Japan and a reminder that no problem is insurmountable.

imageI hope you enjoyed our garden walk and you are now refreshed and ready to take on all of life’s challenges with a renewed spirit of peace in every step.

I am currently working on book 5 in my series and in a few  weeks I will share some teasers with you. Electric, The Beginning, Book 1 is available for free download and books 1, 2, and 3 have been combined at a reduced price. To find your links for the books click here.

Enjoy the beauty of summer. I will share more garden pictures with you next time.

As alway, I thank you for your time and attention and I bid you peace.

3 thoughts on “A Japanese Tea Garden”

  1. Thanks for the support guys. I am just frustrated that the pictures are coming out sideways. So I will probably delete and start over.

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