Amitabha Buddha and Gandhara

Recently, while bumbling around Wikipedia (as one does), I came upon this random by very fascinating example of Buddhist art from the Gandhara region. This is a depiction of Amitabha Buddha preaching upon a lotus throne in the Pure Land (Sukhāvatī in Sanskrit). This picture dates from the Kushan Empire, which inherited the earlier Greco-BactrianContinue reading “Amitabha Buddha and Gandhara”

The Original Poet-Monk: Saigyo Hoshi

Long before people like Basho or Yosa Buson, in Japan there lived a man named Saigyō Hōshi (西行法師, 1118 – 1190), who lived a privileged life in the Heian period Court, but then threw it aside to become a prolific poet while living an ascetic life as a Buddhist monk. Japanese Romanization Translation しほりせで ShioriContinue reading “The Original Poet-Monk: Saigyo Hoshi”

Buddhism and Printing

A Buddhist monk named Tetsugen Dōkō (鉄眼道光, 1630-1682) was a prominent teacher and lecturer of the Obaku Zen sect. I’ve written a few recent posts about him. However, his greatest accomplishment was perhaps providing a complete, printed collection of the entire Buddhist canon in Japan called the Obaku Edition of the Triptaka: Ōbakuban daizōkyō (黄檗版大蔵経).Continue reading “Buddhism and Printing”

Hojo Masako: the “Nun Warlord”

As I continue watching a Japanese historical drama, the Thirteen Lords of Kamakura, I have been delving more into the history of the Kamakura Period (12th – 14th century) of Japan, under the new military government. I know this era a lot less than I do the Heian Period, but while it is different, itContinue reading “Hojo Masako: the “Nun Warlord””

Essays In Idleness: A Japanese Text

As I wrote about recently, the end of the Heian Period in Japan (8th century to 12th century) represented a seismic shift in Japanese culture from a cultured aristocracy to a military society led by the samurai class. This finally stabilized Japan from decades of strife, but there was also a palpable sense of lossContinue reading “Essays In Idleness: A Japanese Text”

Early Ukraine History: Of Scythians, Thracians and Greeks

Hello Readers, My continued read about the Scythians, especially the Scythians in the west, has lead to a fascinating period of time in early history, overlapping with the Hellenistic Period called the Kingdom of the Bosporus. The Kingdom of the Bosporus, later part of the Kingdom of the Pontus, survived in one form or anotherContinue reading “Early Ukraine History: Of Scythians, Thracians and Greeks”

Meet the Scythians

Long, long ago, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote about a people living beyond civilization whom he called the Σκύθης (Skúthēs), who rode horses, fought with bow and arrow and subjected the sedentary people near the Crimean peninsula (modern day Ukraine). Elsewhere, the Assyrians wrote of a people called the 𒅖𒆪𒍝𒀀𒀀 (Iškuzaya) who raided their bordersContinue reading “Meet the Scythians”