It is a long endless journey where the start and finish point are at the same spot. This journey has been taken for so long that we can no longer recognize its beginning and still not able to see where it is going to lead us to.
Buddha’s Word of Wisdom can be found on every square inch of this garden. Everyone who gets a chance to visit this garden, including the owner, questions how each and every tree and rock are artfully placed and its hidden meaning behind each one of them. This beautiful garden offers more than just the beauty of the landscape art but also reveals the truth of life which is a result of transforming a crystalized thought into a reality. Its name is the ‘Garden of Truth’.
The landscape designer, Khun Panat Sumalroj, uses the Buddhist quotes as the main concept to design an empty lot of 600 square meters. This is a storytelling of the 4 Buddhist noble truths through trees and hardscape elements blending in with the reality of life and mind as the homeowners, Khun Surapong and his wife, are two practicing Buddhists who are interested in Dhamma and regularly practice meditation.
Khun Panat explains his design concept, “We cannot avoid suffering. It is about all how to cope with it. The ultimate goal of this garden is to show that we identify the cause, perceive, understand, and cease any suffering. I separate the garden into 4 areas according to the 4 Noble Truths, arranged in clockwise order with a white rock in the center, which is the truth of suffering or “Dukkha”, the truth of the origin of suffering or “Samudaya”, the truth of the cessation of suffering or “Nirodha”, and finally the truth of the path to cessation of suffering or “Magga”.
A bronze metal human figure sculpture relaying a haunting sense of human decay, designed by Khun Panat, is located right by the entrance. It is a message to show a form of suffering. We will lose everything in our life, whether they are mental, physical, or emotional matters, regardless of how hard we try to overcome it. From the truth of suffering is now leading into the origin of suffering or “Samudaya” by using natural materials to relay the message.
The ununiformed paving stones are installed demonstrates many crazy bumpy roads in people’s life. There is no certainty. Sometimes there are beautiful flowers along the way that could distract us. He selects Fiddlewood, beautiful scented flowers, to be planted along the pavers in order to portrait human suffering in passion. There is another big rock towards the end of the walkway. This rock is like human desire. We need to make a decision many times in our lives to either walk straight and hit this rock or walk around it to learn more about the shape of this rock and move on to the cessation of suffering or “Nirodha”.
“As for the cessation of suffering concept, I designed a meditation pavilion in this area. It is the process of learning the suffering and how to overcome it. The end result is attaining and perfecting unattachment through calmness. Therefore, the pavilion design is a simple modern style but totally Zen.”
Finally, the path to the cessation of suffering or “Magga” zone. He conceptualizes an empty yard in this area as everything arises, exists and falls in the end or nothing lasts forever. There is nothing we need to attach to. We should release ourselves from any attachment that caused by desire, passion, grief which is the only way to achieve a release from suffering.
Failure to release from suffering will tune us into a looping cycle of suffering over and over. This is a meaning behind the roundabout-paver where the beginning and the end meet. White gravels in the middle of a roundabout mimic the earth and the ocean which portrait an infinity of human life.
Apart from the Buddhism concept, all of the trees in this garden are selected to solve landscaping problems. The garden is eventually surrounded by various types of building, the designer chooses Silver Oak, Thai Blueberry, Fiddlewood and Mexican Calabash which grow vertically in a small space to protect privacy from outsiders. Their leaves are non-bushy which gives the overall garden to appear more open and airy.