Links Between Buddhism and Gardens
Part of Buddhism is to step back from the struggles and worries of everyday life to find a more peaceful, harmonious way of being.
Peaceful, Uplifting Places
Buddhist meditation is a method for cultivating this peaceful, harmonious way of being.
Gardens are places which for many people, from any religion, sometimes bring about such feelings naturally. Accordingly, gardens are used in Buddhism as uplifting environments which can put people in tune with Buddhist religious feeling in much the same way that a beautiful temple or Buddha image can do. Gardens are a natural place for people to go to study or think about Buddhism. Sometimes Buddhists use them as places for meditation. Much more often, though, Buddhists simply enjoy gardens as places where Buddhist religious feeling can arise naturally.
Buddhist monasteries and temples often are surrounded by attractive garden areas which add to an atmosphere of peace and beauty. Also, there are some Buddhist gardens created as beautiful places where visitors can naturally experience feelings of peace, happiness and harmony with everything. Bringing out such feelings is part of the Buddhist religion.
Writing about the purpose of their Tibetan Buddhist Peace Garden in London, the Tibet Foundation puts it like this:
“Who has not experienced some special moment when, pausing from life’s stress and tension in an environment of stillness and beauty, the mind falls silent? In such moments…our entire perception can somehow subtly be transformed.”
They hope that their garden can offer visitors such moments.
Buddha himself reached Enlightenment while sitting under a Bodhi tree in a forest. He gave his first teachings to other people in a deer park. When near to death, he chose to spend his last hours in a garden under flowering trees.
Continue reading: The Great Garden Temple.