Happy Little Trees Japanese Friendship Garden | Balboa Park June 2019 | Fotografía by 8thDayCreate

The Japanese Friendship Garden, also known as San Kei En ( 三渓園 ) is a Japanese Garden within Balboa Park, San Diego. It is an expression of friendship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama that binds the two cultures to create a unique experience for visitors from all over the world. Representing a new concept in the development of a Japanese garden outside Japan, the Japanese Friendship Garden is designed to present an atmosphere of elegant simplicity (shibui) and quiet beauty. The design is guided by the original principles of the Japanese garden while incorporating elements of the regional landscape and climate.

A garden is always in a state of change but the basic elements of trees, shrubs, rocks and water designed in natural balance create a peaceful, harmonious, and transcendental environment conducive to contemplation and meditation.

The Japanese loanword "bonsai" has become an umbrella term in English, attached to many forms of potted or other plants, and also on occasion to other living and non-living things. According to Stephen Orr in The New York Times, "the term should be reserved for plants that are grown in shallow containers following the precise tenets of bonsai pruning and training, resulting in an artful miniature replica of a full-grown tree in nature." In the most restrictive sense, "bonsai" refers to miniaturized, container-grown trees adhering to Japanese tradition and principles.

The purposes of bonsai are primarily contemplation for the viewer, and the pleasant exercise of effort and ingenuity for the grower. By contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food or for medicine. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees growing in a container.

From the Flammarion Iconograhic Guide: “These two guardian kings are Vajradharas (lit. holders of vajras, thunderbolt holders, called Shukongōshin 執金剛神 or Shukongōjin in Japan). In Esoteric Buddhism, they represent two aspects of Vairocana (Dainichi Nyorai). In this respect, they are sometimes confused with the wrathful forms of Fudo Myoo and Aizen Myoo. Although similar to these latter forms, they are in fact distinct from them.”

"Work diligently. Diligently. Work patiently and persistently. Patiently and persistently. And you're bound to be successful. Bound to be successful."

~ S. N. Goenka

“There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a man may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a man to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any "Way."... A person should study as they see fit.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy

Dating from 1735, the beautiful statue was cast in bronze by renowned craftsman Tokumi Obata. Currently the restored statue greets visitors with the right hand raised to bestow fearlessness and the left hand resting open to support a long-stemmed lotus blossom, suggesting the peace of enlightenment.

The bronze statue, weighing nearly three tons and standing 12 feet high, depicts Kannon on a lotus throne.

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