Category Archives: Landscaping

Tranquil Zen Fire at the Kubota Garden

While Zen is often equated with tranquility, the fire of hard work is at the core of an effective practice. There is no better example of practicing Art and Zen in landscaping than the monumental accomplishment of Fujitaro Kubota and his sons Tak and Tom.

In 1927, Fujitaro purchased 5 acres of logged-off swamp land and began exercising his passion for gardening. Over the years, the garden grew into 20 acres of the most scenic landscaping imaginable. The Kubota family brought in huge boulders (over 400 tons of stone), creating water courses while planting the most magnificent plants and trees. In the middle of fulfilling his dream, Fujitaro and his family were forced into internment at Camp Minidoka in Idaho during World War II. Most men would have been discouraged by such treatment, but not the Kubota men. Fujitaro was driven by a passion to have his garden one day open to the public to improve American understanding of Japanese culture and worked until his death in 1973 at the age of 94 to fulfill his dream.

Now designated a historic landmark by the City of Seattle, it remains a hidden treasure, with few visitors, which helps support the tranquil atmosphere. The Kubota Garden is located very close to the Zen Monastery Frank supervised in construction. It was at the Kubota Garden that Frank inquired about finding a Zen landscape artist and was quickly referred to Terry Welch. And though it took nearly a year to make the connection, Terry taught Frank concepts in stone placement learned from masters in Japan. They artistically performed together in putting the finishing touches on the Zen Monastery construction, in sync with the first abbot Master Jian Hu.

Kubota Garden
Kubota Garden

If you ever find yourself in the Seattle area, this hidden treasure is worth the discovery. You will have a chance to peacefully connect more closely to life on this planet.

Here is a link to the Kubota Garden website for more history and location: http://www.kubotagarden.org/about-us/history/

Touching… Walking on Art

When you visit a museum or gallery, you are expected to not touch the art. Frank enjoys the fact that his art is not only touched, but walked on:

It was Frank’s great honor to be hired as a consultant to assist in the property purchase, development and construction of a new Zen monastery  in Seattle, where Master Jian Hu served as the first abbot. This was a dream fulfillment for Frank.

This new monastery replaced a dilapidated facility, once a church that degenerated into the living space of drug users and prostitutes. The local community received a great blessing with a new Zen spirit in their neighborhood upon completion of the monastery… a true sanctuary for those seeking truth and peace.

Through Frank’s experience in managing the work of government agencies, contractors, architects, and engineers, he was able to save the Zen monastery well over one million dollars in the acquisition and build-out process.

After completion, It was then Frank’s greater honor to envision, build and gift an outdoor public art installation, a Peace Pole and Dharma Wheel combination, seen in the pictures above, for the enjoyment of all at the monastery , including Master Jian Hu. Frank was also commissioned to paint an outdoor welcome sign at the entrance to the monastery.