The poet Bashō wrote in the 'Narrow Road to the Deep North', the following poem (translated here by Donald Keene):
How still it is
Singing into the stones
the locust's trill.
In Bashō's poem he is showing us both the independent existence of things and the interpenetration of things. At the moment of acknowledgement of this relationship arises the stillness. The river flows in ceaseless movement, because that is the nature of the river, yet the river is still within its flowing.
It is no accident of history that many garden creators in Japan were priests, poets, painter, tea masters and so on. Broadly we may label these characters as artists, but the characterisation lacks meaning beyond being a label. All of these creators recognised that in order to create we have an obligation to integrate our own search for meaning and truth into the work. The work is our search for meaning and truth. As the novelist Tanazaki Junchiro remarked, 'Beauty rises from the reality of life'. The very fragility and insubstantiality of the garden are the very qualities of the garden creator. The resonance and the persistence of the garden is resonance and the persistence of the garden creator.
To follow this blog: the 'Follow by E-mail' facility is now operating. Don't miss a beat and sign in. If you enjoyed this, or any other post, please let me know! If there are specific aspects of the Japanese garden tradition you are interested in, please let me know. Thanks.