In my younger days I lived in Tokyo. One of my favorite trips on weekends was, well, anywhere OUT of Tokyo, but, I digress. My favorite weekend destination was Kyoto. (How cool those two cities are anagrams!) I loved exploring the simple majesty of the temples and the tranquility of the Zen gardens. I never bored while meandering through the sand and rock gardens of Zuiho-In or Shitenno-ji Honbo Gardens in the Spring and Tofoku-ji Garden in the fall. I fell in love with the idea of Shintoism. Every blade of grass has a spirit. I think, aside from perhaps India, these were the times I was most relaxed; my soul quieted and at peace.
When I moved back to the States I bought one of those Zen gardens (the little table top “garden” with sand and a rake) but it met with an untimely demise one day when my cat “Jamil” mistook it for a litter box. Well, I won’t bore you with the details but it was ugly. I never replaced the garden.
Fast forward several years,I found Buddha Board! This board is like a Zen Garden without the sand with it’s white board and “paint” brush, you simply dip the brush in water and “create” your art work. After a short time, watch what your creation “vanish” before your eyes. It aligns itself perfectly with the sand sculptures of the Tibetan Buddhists who constructed awe inspiring works of art entirely out of colored sand. After they were done, they either destroyed their portraitures or allowed the elements to do so to demonstrate the beauty in the impermanence of life. If you want a demonstration of what it can do, you should just check out the Buddha Board website
I find it a great meditation tool where I “zone out” and allow my unconscious to be the creator of whatever it likes. As it happens, it is also a “clean” form of entertainment for the kids as it uses only water and children love the idea of drawing whatever they like and watching it disappear.
The original Buddha Board measures 12.5 x 11 x 10 inches and comes with a water trough/easel and beautiful Japanese “calligraphy style” paint brush. It’s “ink” is black when painted. The laptop style comes in 5 beautiful colors (the “ink” appears in the color of the laptop) which is great for kids! It has a slimmer water trough and comes with a “paint brush”. Incidentally there are also 5 inch “gift card” Buddha Boards which make great party favors or small gifts for every occasion, comes in five colors (the same as the laptop colors, red, blue, pink, black, and purple) and can be personalized by the sender. It also comes with its own little paint brush in an elegant black envelope.
I find the Buddha Board calms me down after a stressful day and allows me to be quirky and funny by leaving cute little notes for my husband (when I know he will be around to quickly read them). It can even offer a unique twist on the game “Pictionary” or Drawing Charades as players really have to be on their toes to “get” the drawing before it disappears!
Buddha Board offers a cute little free iPhone App too. Get it HERE!