Farming and meditation - A Zen Buddhist monastery proposal driven by the religious ritual

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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This dissertation applies a phenomenological and dynamic method to study the impact of religious rituals on their corresponding space to achieve two purposes. First, it discusses the religious meaning of the Zen Buddhist monastery in the context of architecture. Second, it explores the contemporary expression of Buddhist architecture. The religious investigation is carried out from two aspects related to architecture: 1) the evolution of religious philosophy is the psychological basis for the evolution of religious space and 2) religious rituals formulate the religious space. The main research methods of this thesis include theoretical research, field research, and phenomenological research. The theoretical research focuses on the religious revolution launched by ancient Zen masters and the evolution of Chinese Zen Buddhist architecture. The main survey subject of the field investigation was Zhenru Monastery, which is a typical Zen Buddhist monastery with a long history. The author also visited some Buddhist hermits in Ziyun mountain. The phenomenological research includes modelling studies, drawing studies, writing studies, and the final architectural proposal. This multi-angled research helps the author approach the deep meaning of Buddhist architecture gradually. The narrative structure of the thesis is organized into a timeline of a typical day in the monastery. After briefly introducing the monastery proposal, the thesis focuses on each detailed function of the monastery according to the daily routine. Each time node is relatively independent in the text, containing specific theoretical research, field research, and phenomenological research. At the same time, each independent time node is connected in the sequence and confirms the others’ significance.
Sanaksenaho, Pirjo
Thesis advisor
Sanaksenaho, Pirjo
Buddhist architecture, Zen, meditation, farming, architectural phenomenology, religious space, religious ritual