Why Buddhism? A Brief Response

Buddhism is a religion that, while widespread in terms of numbers and influence on world cultures,1 is not well-understood in the West. Chances are you, you’ve probably heard of it, or seen something like the Happy Buddha in gardens or Chinese restaurants. You’ve probably have an idea of what “Zen” is, and so on. BuddhismContinue reading “Why Buddhism? A Brief Response”

Medieval Japan and Amitabha Buddha

On the same Japanese documentary as here, I saw a great segment on the famous Eikandō Temple, more formally known as Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji (永観堂禅林寺). Homepage here in Japanese and English. The temple is iconic for several reasons, including its very picturesque fall scenery, and also its vast collection of Buddhist artwork listed here. The mostContinue reading “Medieval Japan and Amitabha Buddha”

A Brief Look At One Hundred Aspects Of the Moon

Astute readers may have noticed lately that I’ve been frequently referencing certain artwork from something called One Hundred Aspects of the Moon. It has been a kind of become an artistic obsession of mine for weeks. Called the tsuki no hyakushi (月百姿) in Japanese, this collection of woodblock prints was published in the early-modern periodContinue reading “A Brief Look At One Hundred Aspects Of the Moon”

The Seven Luck Gods in Art

Hello Dear Readers, I recently wrote about the Seven Luck Gods in Japanese culture, and shortly after that, I stumbled upon this awesome fan art here (direct link to Instagram here): If you prefer Twitter, here’s their post here: It’s amazing when people take something traditional and give it new life with such amazing artwork.Continue reading “The Seven Luck Gods in Art”

Buddhism and the Parthian Empire

Speaking of the Parthians, let’s talk about Buddhism. As mentioned in the previous post, the Parthians primary religion was Zoroastrianism, a fascinating subject by itself. However, they were quite tolerant of other religions and faiths, including the Greek colonists, Babylonians and their venerable pantheon, but also faiths that arose in the eastern parts of theContinue reading “Buddhism and the Parthian Empire”

One Of These Buddhas Is Not Like The Other…

At a local gardening store, I saw a collection of Buddhist states like so: Of these four statues, only two of them are actually statues of the Buddha, but people (including many Buddhists) frequently confuse which ones are the Buddha and which ones aren’t. The Buddha,1 that is the historical figure and founder of BuddhismContinue reading “One Of These Buddhas Is Not Like The Other…”

The Gold and Silver Pavilions of Kyoto

One of the achievements of the short-lived Ashikaga Shogunate of Japan (14th to 16th century) were a pair of villas, later converted to Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple, called Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) and Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺). These are known as the Gold and Silver Pavilions in English respectively. Despite the similar names and origins, both pavilions are interestingContinue reading “The Gold and Silver Pavilions of Kyoto”

Remembering Ryoanji Temple

Hello readers, this post is another in a mini series of posts I am making about past Buddhist temple visits I made in Japan. During my first visit to Japan in January 2005, where I saw Kiyomizu-dera Temple, my wife, in-laws and I also visited another famous temple named Ryoanji (official homepage) a famous templeContinue reading “Remembering Ryoanji Temple”

Nirvana Day: The Death of the Buddha

There are arguably 3 major holidays in Buddhism, particularly Mahayana Buddhism, all centered around the life of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni (e.g. Siddhartha Gautama): his birth, awakening, and death. February 15th in the solar calendar marks the death of the Buddha, though many traditions still rely on any number of lunar calendars to track thisContinue reading “Nirvana Day: The Death of the Buddha”