The stacked stones are a common symbol of Zen - but what do they mean?
I think that "stacked stones" are also popular in many other traditions of Buddhism. I think the first stupas were simply stacked stones. I've heard legends about Tibetan "saints" hiding teachings and sutra translations in mountain altars to be discovered hundreds of years later, which were just stones stacked up beside paths. Stacked stones also serve as mile posts and road markers in many cultures, Asian and otherwise. Considering the offering next to these stones (looks like mint rather than poison ivy or maybe basil), this is a reminder that it doesn't take much to pay homage to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The strength of the offering is in the intention, not the ornateness of the altar on which we place it.Just a thought.