Tag Archives: Buddhist garden design

Fernando Gonzalez’ Buddhist approaches to the design of gardens and landscapes

The photograph of Brighton beach, below, reminds me of Fernando Gonzalez’s Pure Land Garden:

Flint meeting chalk on a beach is a symbol of impermanence - anicca" width="900" height="531" /> Flint meeting chalk on a beach is a symbol of impermanence - anicca

Flint meeting chalk on a beach (in Sussex) is a symbol of impermanence – anicca”

Fernando  is  exploring the future role of Buddhism in garden design. The videos, below, have a comment on his 2015 Pure Land Garden and a 2013 interview with the designer.

Fernando wrote of the Pure Land Garden that: A curvilinear white shimmering structure captures the organic shapes of the landscapes and is inspired by nature’s natural rhythms. A planting colour palette influenced by the principal colours used in Buddhist art and ritual, warm yellows, oranges, blues and reds, emerge through a matrix of tussocky grasses. Three multi-stemmed Koelreuteria paniculata , golden rain trees, complete the well-being garden, exploring the potential of harmoniously combining the artificial and natural in a new artistic.

This video shows two contemporary Buddhist-inspired garden designs, at the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show: The Sound of Silence Garden Fernando Gonzalez (interviewed by Tom Turner) and the Mindfulness garden by Martin Cook (a stone-carver and calligrapher).

Lumbini Garden – Buddha's birthplace

I came across this drawing of the Buddha’s birthplace recently and it reminded me what a cruel thing Kenzo Tange did at Lumbini. Like Corbusier, Tange was a gifted designer and a terrible planner.

An ability to design objects (eg buildings) sometimes goes with an understanding of outdoor space, and gardens, but in the case of these two leading architects from West and East it did not. ‘Baroque Buddhism’ is as unwelcome as ‘Baroque Communism’, in politics and in design.

The illustration shows the scene which Fa-hsien described in c400 CE:
“Fifty li east from the city (ie from Kapilavastu) was a garden, named Lumbini, where the queen entered the pond and bathed. Having come forth from the pond on the northern bank, after walking twenty paces, she lifted up her hand, laid hold of a branch of a tree, and, with her face to the east, gave birth to the heir-apparent. When he fell to the ground, he immediately walked seven paces. Two dragon-kings appeared and washed his body. At the place where they did so, there was immediately formed a well, and from it, as well as from the above pond, where the queen bathed, the monks even now constantly take the water, and drink it.”