|Picture Red & White Checked by Enokson|
The restaurant used to be called the 'Red Checked Table Steakhouse'. Ben the Buddhist took over after the restaurant when it went out of business, when asked by one of his customers why the original restaurant name was kept. To this Ben the Buddhist answered:
'See the restaurant has its own unique character, the red and white tiles, matching retro old style tables and chairs, red cabinets...rather than change the essence of the place, I simply took away what was was not to its true character, stripping it down to its bare red and white nature. I just removed away the clutter that was interfering with the natural beauty and simplicity of this place.
See when you get rid of the clutter, people automatically start feeling at ease, because people's mind are generally full of the clutter of wayward thoughts, it seems people want this subconsciously, much of meditation and a change in attitude simplifies the thoughts patterns of the mind leading to what is beyond the thoughts namely our true essence or original Buddha nature.
Then I added elements of nature carefully complementing the empty space, like the Buddha statue in the front as you come in covered with a purple ivy creeping up the Buddha's body. The Buddha is in the middle of a small sand and rock garden complete with a few miniature rakes that everyone, especially kids so much like rearranging the now and then.
In Zen much care is given to stripping away what is not necessary, but keeping only what is necessary, and augmenting what is there with empty space and elements of nature.
I also think of it symbolically, the Buddha represents our timeless nature, the ivy represents the actions that stem from our Buddha nature, the sand and rocks garden and the rake represent the temporary nature of our thoughts and actions, red represent passion, white represent compassion, see one must live life with passion for a rightful living but also equally with compassion for all that is living'