In the Table: Kare-sansui

DSC_0003JB arranged his version of a Kare-sansui in the table. It includes a paper sculpture he created. The word Kare-sansui 枯山水 literally means “dry landscape garden” and refers to what is more commonly labeled as the zen garden where features like trees, shrubs, and large rocks are carefully composed with gravel or sand raked to symbolize water ripples. These gardens are meant to be a place of meditation and contemplation and are usually meant to be seen from only one vantage point. One of the most famous of these gardens is Ryoan-ji in Kyoto where 15 rocks are deliberately placed so that only 14 can ever be seen at the same time. It is said that when all 15 can be seen at once, one has reached enlightenment. JB and I visited Rioan-ji on our visit to Japan several years ago.

Seated on our couch, we can see the whole of this Kare-sansui at once. It is only the invisible, veiled, sometimes indiscernible boulders and rocks that inhibit and obstruct our complete vision. Enlightenment still eludes us.

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