Zen gardens are a type of tradition Japanese garden where rocks and sand are used to express lakes and the flow of water — without ever using water itself. It was originally a practical form of landscape gardening for areas without lakes and rivers. Then the introduction of Zen Buddhism into Japan and simple precepts such as “all things are essentially nothingness” and “be satisfied with one's lot in life” greatly influenced the spirit of Japanese aesthetics. These gardens began to be created not in wide areas but within the confined space of temples, which resulted in further evolution. Rocks, pebbles, and cleaned white sand were placed according to a crystal-clear vision — not a single pebble was wasted. The emptiness and use of space made for a very abstract and spiritual garden. The elegant simplicity is something that could only have been born in the ever-changing, nature-blessed, and seasonally rich nation of Japan.
Buddhism has many ascetic practices, including hand-copying sutras, zazen (seated meditation), and Ajikan meditation, where you meditate on the syllable “A” from the Siddha? alphabet, which is said to be the root of all things. A Zen garden is a query in and of itself, like a question asking an observer to decipher its meaning. Looking out onto the honed beauty of the garden, you may see a large river or a gentle brook, an island adrift in the vast open sea, a mountain peak peeking its head above a sea of clouds, or the boundless universe. What will you glean from a garden of tranquility? The music on this album was all chosen to represent the many faces a garden presents depending on the mindset of the observer. Take a listen, enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and providence, and savor Japanese aesthetics.