The guesthouse of the International Zen-Dojo I stay for these seven days is an old Japanese house surrounded by a beautiful garden. I love it, although at night it is as spooky as you just can imagine, and freezing cold. In daytime it is heaven to sit on the veranda (where I am writing right now) while enjoying the beautiful scene of the garden.
Japanese houses can teach us westerners modesty and awareness for details. Especially if we, like myself, are taller than the typical 1,80 meters height of doors and horizontal beams. The paper sliding doors are easy to destroy, everything is fragile and has to be used with a certain skill and care.
This morning, while waiting in the garden for his guests to wake up, the Roshi talked with me about the benefits of this kind of old Japanese architecture: it makes us human beings live closer to nature than any modern insulated apartment made of concrete and steel. A wood- and paper house surrounded by a garden opens our heart and helps us feel and understand that we are part of nature, not separated beings.