Espace pour la vie Newsletter Media Contact us Jobs and internships FAQ Facebook Twitter Foursquare Youtube Flickr Home Planning your visit Explore our spaces Further reading Get involved Kids and teachers Scientific research Accueil Jeunes et enseignants Espace jeunes Jardin des jeunes branchés
The Japanese Garden and Pavilion
Home - Elements - Pavilion - Zen Garden - Bonsai Garden - Tea Garden - Activities - Foundation  
Open Windows on Japanese Gardens

     2. A very famous Zen garden

Ryoan-ji garden. Photo : Sophie Lambert
Made of sand and stone, the most celebrated of Zen gardens is designed according to the "three-five-seven" concept: three groups of rocks, of three rocks, two rocks and two rocks. Photo : Sophie Lambert

Ryoan-ji, created in Kyoto in the late 9th century by Soami, a painter and gardener, is one of Japan's famous stone gardens-exercises in abstraction by Zen Buddhist monks.

Its absolute simplicity probably makes it the supreme example of a dry landscape garden, particularly in its use of the sacred island theme.

As the Sakutei-ki puts it: "Think over the famous places of scenic beauty throughout the land and by making it your own that which appeals to you most, design your garden with the mood of harmony, modelling after the general air of such places".

Ryoan-ji garden. Photo : Claude Gagné
Another view of the garden.
Photo : Claude Gagné

Perhaps the creator of Ryoan-ji wanted visitors, by contemplating this barren composition, to reflect on the essence of the eternal Japan, the highest emotion they could wish from their gardens.

Or perhaps he wanted to express the inner mystery in each of us-for no matter where one stands to admire the garden, one of the 15 rocks is hidden.

Ryoan-ji garden. Photo : Sophie Lambert
Approaching Ryoan-ji garden..
Photo : Sophie Lambert

Despite the many learned analyses of the meaning of Ryoan-ji, the garden remains a mystery.

But then, is it always so important to understand everything?

Next Next

Facebook Flickr Twitter Foursquare Youtube Blogue Fil RSS du blogue Newsletter
Schedules Rates Directions Biodome Insectarium Botanical Garden Calendar Frequently asked questions Photography and Commercial shoots Wedding photos Commercial and professional Film shoots Site rentals Find a space Civil weddings Reserve a Rental Area Groups and travel organizers FIT and group rates Group services Group activities Group reservations About Space for life What is space for life Business plan Key projects Sustainable development Biodiversity Community support Space for life foundation Make a donation Media Press releases Jobs and internships Jobs Internships
All rights reserved, City of Montreal Confidentiality and security Policies Join us Site map City of Montreal