Cover image for Zen gardens
Zen gardens
Borja, Erik.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Leçons du jardin Zen. English
Publication Information:
London : Ward Lock, [1999]

Physical Description:
165 pages, 1 unnumbered page : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB458 .B6613 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



A cultural history of the Zen garden How to create these increasingly popular stone and gravel gardens Over 200 stunning colour photographs

Author Notes

Erik Borja studied sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After a trip to Japan, and a visit to the gardens of Kyoto, he abandoned his career as a sculptor and dedicated himself to gardening and designing Zen gardens

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Two informative and aesthetically pleasing books explore the significance of the garden in Zen Buddhist practice and describe the various types of gardens the Zen sensibility inspires. Berthier focuses on the Japanese dry landscape garden, a garden form unlike any other in its near absence of plants. He explains that in the Zen Buddhist tradition, a garden of rocks and sand slows time and holds change at bay, thus aiding in the contemplation of the essence of life. Berthier then charts the history of dry gardens from their inception in the eleventh century and offers detailed descriptions of famous gardens. He also explains how to "read" these abstract and linear gardens and unveils their symbolic meanings. His enlightening study is followed by a long essay by translator Parkes, in which he delves more deeply into the art and philosophy of these unique places. Borja chronicles Zen gardens of all kinds. Many are lush with trees, shrubs, flowers, ponds, and waterfalls, but others reflect the Japanese sensitivity to the "soul of stones" and their places of honor in dry gardens. Borja, too, writes knowledgeably about Zen Buddhist thought and the centrality of the garden to Zen practice, both in the making of gardens and in garden-directed meditations. He then provides a wealth of design and construction information and encourages gardeners to create their own Zen gardens, with suggestions that embrace technical, artistic, and spiritual concerns. Paul Maurer's photographs complement the text effectively, both in content and mood. --Donna Seaman

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 8
Factors Influencing a Gardenp. 11
Man and the Environmentp. 11
Shintoism and Buddhismp. 14
The Zen Approachp. 23
Revealing the Essence of Naturep. 35
Choosing the Sitep. 36
Tayori, Fusui and Nosujip. 41
The Shakkei or Borrowed Landscapep. 44
Stone Featuresp. 51
The 'Soul' of Stonesp. 54
Collecting the Stonesp. 58
Using Stonesp. 60
Pathsp. 78
Bridgesp. 84
Lanternsp. 86
Water in the Gardenp. 91
The Poolp. 91
Waterfallsp. 97
Springs and Streamsp. 99
Purification Stonesp. 100
Fishp. 104
The Plantsp. 109
Zen Treesp. 110
Pruning to Revealp. 115
Maintaining the Shapep. 119
Working with Naturep. 119
My Garden Studiop. 125
The Meditation Gardenp. 125
The Tea Gardenp. 134
The Mediterranean Gardenp. 146
The River Gardenp. 152
The Southern Gardenp. 158
Conclusionp. 162
Glossaryp. 164
Further Readingp. 166
Acknowledgementsp. 166
Indexp. 166