Bad Aura

Recently, I learned of a clever proverb in Japanese culture: 息の臭きは主知らずiki no kusaki wa nushi shirazu Japanese Proverbs: Wit and Wisdom, by David Galef This proverb, literally means that the owner doesn’t know the stench of their own breath. Obviously this is not meant to be literal, instead it is about people being unaware ofContinue reading “Bad Aura”

Waves and Water

Ryōhen (良遍, 1194-1252), was a prominent Yogacara-Buddhist scholar and faithful disciple of Jōkei, often credited as a reformer of Japan’s Hossō sect during the medieval period in Japanese Buddhist history. In James L. Ford’s book on Jokei and Medieval Japanese Buddhism, Professor Ford quotes this famous “restorer” when he describes the famous Buddhist metaphor ofContinue reading “Waves and Water”

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”

Bad Teachers in Buddhism

One of the earliest recorded teachings in the Buddhist canon is something called the Sutta-nipata a collection of discourses by the Buddha to various disciples. These are not sutras in the strictest sense, but are part of the earliest collections, and represent some of the closest things we have to the Buddha’s original teachings. InContinue reading “Bad Teachers in Buddhism”

Coming to Grips with Loss in War

War has been a part of the history of Mankind since the beginning, but beyond the tales of glory, strategy, and raw statistics, it’s easy to forget the lives destroyed by it. Spock: “I’ve noticed that about your people, doctor. You find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of aContinue reading “Coming to Grips with Loss in War”

Eating Simple, Japanese Style

I had intended to write this post earlier when I first started my winter abstinence, but during recent events, this got pushed out a little. Anyhow, my wife and I have been together for more than half our life and her eating habits have rubbed off on me over time: I’ve written about natto before.Continue reading “Eating Simple, Japanese Style”

Funerary and Memorial Practices in Japan

Since my mother in law passed away recently, and my wife is back in the US, I’ve had a crash-course on memorial practices in Japanese culture, and wanted to share in case others run into this too. Much of these practices are rooted in a fascinating combination of native Japanese religion, blended with Indian-Buddhist practicesContinue reading “Funerary and Memorial Practices in Japan”

Western Buddhism Is Not A Thing

Recently I picked up a book on the Thirty Verses on Yogacara (in Sanskrit, the Triṃśikā-vijñaptimātratā). This is a famous Buddhist poem by Indian monk Vasubandhu that has been the subject of many commentaries of the centuries in China, and now in the West. While it contains only 30 verses total, it is an effortContinue reading “Western Buddhism Is Not A Thing”

Self-Help Does Not Help

Well, life tends to mitigate against complete commitment, doesn’t it? Count Saint Germain, Castlevania animated series, season 4 With the recent turmoil following my mother-in-law’s passing, life has been disrupted in many ways. All of this is temporary, but it has reminded me of how easily one’s Buddhist practice can slip. Since this started shortlyContinue reading “Self-Help Does Not Help”