Shunmyo Masuno calls his works "expressions of my mind," and they have the power to stir up depths of emotion and even tap into the subconscious. They are not psychedelic paintings, however, nor are they virtual reality installations -- they are gardens. And the man who creates them is a Buddhist priest.

Known for his strikingly contemporary Japanese garden designs, Masuno, the 52-year-old head priest of Kenkoji Temple in Yokohama, is one of the world's leading landscape designers. These days, many people are designing Japanese gardens both in Japan and around the world, and the priest has seen many excellent examples of landscape design.

None of them, however, has the greatness of a Zen garden, which, he adds matter-of-factly, requires the creator to be a full-time practitioner of Zen Buddhism. Therefore, what is called a modern Zen garden these days, he said, is likely to be an imitation.