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Shunmyo Masuno

Shunmyo Masuno

Shunmyō Masuno (born 28 February 1953) is a Japanese monk and garden designer. He is chief priest of the Sōtō Zen temple Kenkō-ji, professor at Tama Art University, and president of a design firm that has completed numerous projects in Japan and overseas. He has been called "Japan's leading garden designer".

When designing a garden, Masuno first meditates and establishes a dialog with the space. This requires an emptying of the self in order to "hear" the elements of the garden speak. In discussions with the philosopher Koji Tanaka, he explained his perspective on the ethics of gardening, saying that gardening brings about a gentleness in the designer, builder, and caretakers.

The garden teaches the suchness or intrinsic value of each thing, the connectedness, harmony, tranquility, and sacredness of the everyday. Developing a sense of respect for all things is no small step in becoming an ethical human being, both with respect to other humans and the environment at large.

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