Cultivating your mind
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Japanese Garden in Hammersmith Park. There are three Japanese Gardens in Central London which are open to the public and the one in Hammersmith Park is the least known of the three. The other two are in Regents Park and Holland Park.
The origins of the park dates from 1910, as the Garden of Peace, which part of the Japanese-Exhibition. After the exhibition, the area was redeveloped. It is therefore the oldest garden of it's type in public ownership. The area is called White City because of the marble clad buildings that were built here as part of several other exhibitions. Sadly, none of these buildings exist and we won't be able to see how splendid they were. Of the three Japanese gardens in London, this one is least loved and somewhat neglected. Whilst it's not as popular as the Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park, the good thing is that it's not as crowded. However, with a bit more tender loving care, the Japanese Garden in Hammersmith Park could be much better. This Japanese garden could be a good place place for Taiji, Qigong or even Zen meditation. If you are thinking of going, the nearest Tube stations are White City on the Central Line and Wood Lane on the Circle Line and the Hammersmith & City Line.
The garden is sometimes used as an analogy regarding cultivating the mind. Even the art of bonsai also springs to mind. On one hand, somebody who keeps the garden tidy reflects on the state of the gardener's mind. General tidiness has many benefits and it might actually feel nicer when the environment isn't in a mess. The Pure Land as mentioned in Mahayana Buddhism doesn't need to be somewhere else, but we can make our home as ideal or as perfect as possible. So what's this got to to do with Taiji? Well there's a lot to do with Taiji and life in general. We spend too much time on material pleasures and our minds store information that we don't need and probably never will. In terms of Taiji, we often let our ego or let others get in the way of achieving progress. To learn something isn't hard, but it would be easier if you didn't let unnecessary things clutter your mind. It might help by pruning the branches here and there. Why not take the first steps today and see if it makes any difference. Genuine progress can take time and your training doesn't lie.
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