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The over-application of the term Zen to describe everything from interior design to restaurant menus pored over by celebrities and fashionistas to the expression a “Zen moment” can be tiresome.

The practice, along with certain Japanese garden forms associated with it, has not been — despite the efforts of early disseminators, writers and analysts such as Shunryu Suzuki, Ruth Fuller Sasaki and Alan Watts — widely understood outside of Japan. There are notable exceptions, including the likes of poet Gary Snyder and the early garden writer Loraine E. Kuck, who, devoting time to creative and scholarly ends, were well qualified to comment on the subject.

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