These gardens have caught the imagination of many people in the West who are drawn, amongst other things, to their tranquil spaces and apparent simplicity. Whether they have had a chance to visit them or have just seen photographs of them, however, these gardens often remain something of an enigmatic mystery. Why do they look as they do and what are they for? To answer these questions this talk explores the origins of Japanese landscaping in the sacred spaces of traditional Japanese culture, before following the development of the gardens under the influence of Buddhism, culminating in the arrival of Zen Buddhism. We then look at how the gardens changed under the influence of Zen practice and how Japanese Zen gardens evolved to reach their mature form in the early 17th century.
Mr Keir Davidson
Trained City of Leeds and Carnegie College, graduated BEd from University of Leeds and became a landscape designer. Pursued interest in Japanese gardens and the art of the Japanese Tea Ceremony whilst living in Kyoto. Has lectured as Visiting Educator in Asian Studies at Whitman College, Washington, Hofstra University, New York, Horticultural Society of New York, Longwood Gardens in Philadelphia, Way with Words Literature Festival in Devon. Publications include The Art of Zen Gardening (1983) and A Zen Life in Nature: Musô Soseki in his Gardens (2007).