Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui



"Zen: Suggestion for a simple life" written by Shunmyo Masuno



Today, I would like to introduce the book that I always have at hand and am reading again and again. Its author, Shumyo Masuno is a chief priest of a Zen temple Kenkoji and Japan's leading landscape garden designer.


The reason that Masuno is a Zen priest and also started creating gardens is that once Zen monks were going to replace mind attained through practices something, and one of them were gardens. For example, those who liked a flat surface drew ink paintings.


Masuno says, "Gardens are made of natural materials, so they change continuously, which is called transience in Zen Buddhism. Transience means "not remain". All things in nature change gradually. Changes are our lives and lifetimes. If you don't want to change them, you will have worries and suffer. But if you accept the changes as they are, the worries and suffers won't be them. Gardens are the place that you can realize it. And Japanese people may have tried to find beauty in the changes."


Below is an excerpt from the book; get rid of unnecessary goods.
-When things aren't going well, we tend to think that there is something lacking. However, if you want to change the current situation, letting go is priority than getting something. Remove your obsession, don't assume, reduce your possessions. Living on a simple life means throwing out baggage of body and mind. Letting go or discarding is pretty difficult. As with a separation from someone, sometimes it might be painful. But if you want to get things done smoothly and live lightly, why don't you start by letting go? When you let go, a thing that newly comes is riches.-


It sounds like a contradiction that letting go enriches your life. But probably that means you could elevate to a new level, which gives you strength and mental space. So I would like to clear up my house during the next Golden Week holidays. (H.S)


View of the hotel's garden created by Masuno from the lounge
(The photo is from Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel's website.)


The calm atmosphere in the evening


The garden of Gotanjoji Temple in Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture, which is popular as a cat temple, was also created by Masuno.
(The photo is from Masuno's website as a landscape designer.)


There might be the "answer" on the page you opened.