Thursday, July 15, 2004

A space for tranquillity


Thursday July 15, 2004

A space for tranquillity
* The New Zen Garden: Designing Quiet Places Joseph Cali Kodansha, $32

By Steven Barrie-Anthony

Carl Jung once said, "Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble." The human condition, it seems, is inherently stressful. When the chaos overwhelms you, find a moment to pick up Japan-based designer Joseph Cali's excellent book on Zen gardens. Photos of classic and contemporary designs -- modest sand-and-stone courtyards and green gardens with waterfalls and ponds -- exude tranquillity.

Read the first chapter about the origins of Zen and its influence on design and you'll agree that Buddhist masters are onto something. Read the next chapters, which interweave Zen history and philosophy with practical instructions for creating your own space, and you'll be ready to transform yourself by transforming your backyard. Detailed diagrams help clarify the process of, say, building a traditional clay wall in the nuru style. And in the end, amid the chaos of the everyday: a quiet space, a taste of emptiness.

-- Steven Barrie-Anthony

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