Purity and Equanimity the Mandala of Zen Rock Garden


This paper discusses the ultimate essence of realization in Buddhism as the nature of purity and great equanimity. To illustrate this, the Zen rock garden is revealed like a Zen Koan, a case study to discern into the essence. The example used here is the karesansui (dry landscape) or rock garden in the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. Made up of sand, rock and moss, the rock garden invites direct contemplation from the observers. Scholars, artists and Buddhists etc. have made numerous investigation on this garden to answer the koan and different interpretations have been received. Now the Zen rock garden is looked upon as a mandala that bears the meaning to hold the essence of all phenomena. This essence has a technical term called dharmata, a Sanskrit word to mean the nature of phenomena which is also the nature of dharmadhatu, another Sanskrit word to mean the ultimate universe of Buddhism that contains all (all universes in n-dimensional time and n-dimensional space, all land in samsara and nirvana). The attributes of the dharmadhatu can be divided into the form and form-less aspects. There is an aspect of emptiness, a space-like aspect to allow all different manifestation, and an aspect of manifestation, a powerful aspect of vitality to allow things to appear. This aspect of emptiness has the quality of purity as it is free from discrimination and conceptuality while the aspect of manifestation has the quality of great equanimity as vitality is prevalent everywhere in the dharmadhatu, in all universes.

Author Information
Wong Wah Sang, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2016
Stream: Philosophy - Philosophy and Religion

This paper is part of the ACERP2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon