The Tea Garden also was introduced to Japan from the Chinese
culture around the sixth century A.D. Because the Buddhism religion incorporated
the use of tea in their ceremonies, did it not become popular until the
thirteenth century. It is still unclear, but the generally accepted theory is
that the tea ceremony celebrated the Zen beliefs of purity, inner peace, and
simplicity through meditation.
A Japanese tea garden consists of two gardens, one that includes a waiting area where the guests will be called into the more formal, intimate, yet rustic structured inner garden. The outer design of the tea garden usually includes stepping stones leading to a cleansing area. Here the guests will perform a symbolic cleansing ritual, freeing themselves of all wrong doings, evil thoughts, and misfortunes of life. The outer garden will provide an atmosphere of preparation, which includes the stepping stones, a lantern, and cleansing area in a very simplistic setting all designed to prepare for the tea ceremony inside.
The inner tea garden is designed very simplistic and in a rustic, hut style structure. The atmosphere will be friendly and intimate. Here is where the tea ceremony is held. All is symbolic of the Buddhism belief of meditation and appreciation of the simplistic life cycle. The Japanese tea garden represents the virtues of Restraint, Politeness, Sensibility, and Modesty.
To summarize, a Japanese tea garden is much more that a garden of Japanese elements. It is much more than an accumulation of trees, rocks, water, and plants. It is a Garden of Respect for a people's culture and religious beliefs that extend not only through centuries of the Japanese people, but through centuries of the Chinese people from which so much influence was introduced.
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