This flat, rectangular expanse of raked white gravel is enclosed by simple granite edging and a border of water-worn dark gray cobbles at the foot of unadorned walls on three sides. Spare and elegant, it is representative of Zen gardens used as a focal point for meditation.
Like our stone-and-gravel garden, the Zen garden is austere in its simplicity. It is meant to be explored mentally, with the viewer remaining outside the garden on the viewing platform bordering its open side. With everything left out of the garden except two large cones of gravel, the mind is untroubled by unnecessary external influences and reality is reflected purely. At first the surrounding enclosure may seem limiting, but upon reflection the area between the walls can come to seem vast, leading the mind to contemplate the meaning of the absolute, which is limitless.
The bed of white gravel in the Zen Garden clearly highlights every errant leaf, twig, pebble, or footprint. Cleaning the garden and smoothing and raking the gravel requires great attention to detail and inner calmness. In this way the garden becomes the scene of active meditation.