- Landscape Architects
- Takeshi Nagasaki / N-tree
The stone garden surrounding the newly built worship hall of Jihoin located in Angyo, Kawaguchi-city in Saitama prefecture. The project“Sango no Ishizue”(meaning: the stones of three karma)was a long-term renewal for the whole temple, envisioning the next hundreds of years to come with the concept of a garden to be inherited together with the temple to the coming generations.
Huge Stones Without a Name take the leading role of the garden. The stones weighing a total of 46 tons were intentionally structured, some placed slanted at the temple gates to express dynamism, some near the building were placed standing majestically, and others were laid with an air of composure. Out of the stones that were laid down, one red stone and two blue stones are for Zazen (seated meditation), and from there spreads a scenery of small rock work.
The front view of the rock work of the huge stones gives a dynamic impression to the visitors. However, when it is viewed from inside the worship hall, the interior feels integrated to the ground caused by the floor level of the building and the protruding stones, resulting in the contrasting “stillness and motion” of the two perspectives from indoors and outdoors.
The stones are in three colours, red, blue, and white. The combination of colourful stones gives uniqueness to the garden. The three colours are used as a metaphor for the “three karma of body, speech, and mind.” The three kinds of human action are categorized in the Shingon Buddhism teachings as the karma of the body, karma of speech, and karma of mind, and purifying these actions are taught to be important.
The combination of stones in a garden is an act of determining the space in between the stones. When the stones relate to each other with a good balance of space, not too close but not too separated, there is a fascinating ambience as a whole. The material itself does not change by combination. However, the way the stones are presented changes the implication of the existence dramatically, which precisely relates to the idea of the consequences of the three kinds of karma.
The new plantation of maple, taxus, peony, and hydrangea was arranged divided into zones. The seven types of maple planted on the east side of the building, has reddish purple tender shoots budding, revealing its glorious colours in autumn. The colours of the leaves together with the colour of surrounding stones redden the whole area. All trees chosen to be newly added were young trees, envisioning 600 years hence. Viewers may appreciate the years passing by, as the trunk of the taxus thickens and grows tall, and the maple branches out elegantly.
A michelia compressa was planted at the end of the open–air corridor of the worship hall. The visitors will be welcomed with a gentle sweet scent from the breeze passing through the corridor during the blossoming season of spring through early summer.