A Little Zen Goes a Long Way

Como's Japanese Garden in Saint Paul Minnesota

Como’s Japanese Garden Opens for Summer Season

This garden, on the grounds of St. Paul’s Como Park, was created by renowned landscape designer Masami Matsuda from Nagasaki, Japan. The garden opens today, May 1st, and remains open through September 30th. It is a blend of East and West with its ancient Japanese design principles and its hardy Minnesota plants, trees and shrubs. (For more on the blending of East and West, see the bottom of this post.)

Taking a little time out from our busy lives is both healthy and inspiring. Could you use a little more Zen in your life? Here are some definitions of Zen:

Zen, also known as Zen Buddhism:

  1. A school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion and that is practiced mainly in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. 
  2. a Japanese school, of 12th-century Chinese origin, teaching that contemplation of one’s essential nature to the exclusion of all else is the only way of achieving pure enlightenment.
  3. a Buddhist doctrine that enlightenment can be attained through direct intuitive insight.
  4. a state of sudden spiritual enlightenment.

These quotes strike me as appropriate for the topic of gardens:

We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.  —Taoist Proverb

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.   —Buddha

If you’ve never visited Como Park, I do recommend making the trip to see it. This Japanese Garden is just one part of an extensive park that includes a conservatory, a zoo, an orchid house, a bonsai garden, art sculptures, a restored antique carousel, a miniature golf course, a lakeside pavilion with music and food, and more.  As one Chinese proverb says:

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.

Como Park Japanese Garden

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Venture forth, find a little zen and experience joy. For more information on Como Park, click the link below:

Como Ordway Memorial Japanese Garden

Lantern at Japanese Garden at Como Park in St. Paul, MN

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Question: What is the True Definition of Zen?
Answer: I Don’t Know.

Zen Meditation Stories
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Constellation Earth, Statue by Paul T. Granlund
Constellation Earth, Statue by Paul T. Granlund

This sculpture at Nagasaki Peace Park commemorates Nagasaki’s sister-city relationship with Saint Paul, Minnesota. Saint Paul is the oldest sister city in Japan, dating back to 1955. Perhaps if we all find a little more Zen in our lives, the world at large and our own little worlds at home can experience more peace.

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