Ravenloft Novels

I like to visit my local Half Price Books store from time to time, and lately, I picked up some old fantasy novels, including a few from the Ravenloft series: The Ravenloft setting is a very famous gothic setting in Dungeons and Dragons that has been around all the way back to 2nd edition AD&DContinue reading “Ravenloft Novels”

What Separates Humans from Animals

Time and again, I keep thinking back to that famous scene from the original Dune novel by Frank Herbert and the gom jabbar test. “A duke’s son must know all about poisons,” she said, “…Here’s a new one for you: the gom jabbar. It kills only animals.” Pride overcame Paul’s fear. “You dare suggest thatContinue reading “What Separates Humans from Animals”

Don’t Play To Win

For those of you who are competing somewhere, consider the following the advice from Kenko in the 13th century Japanese text, the Essays in Idleness: I once asked someone skilled at the board game of sugoroku for hints on how to play. “Don’t play to win,” he said. “Play not to lose. Consider what movesContinue reading “Don’t Play To Win”

Buddhist Practice and Being Reasonable

I found this quotation recently in the 13th century Japanese text, the Essays in Idleness, and have been giving it some thought: Someone asked the holy priest Honen how to prevent himself from being negligent in his practice by inadvertently nodding off when chanting the nenbutsu. “Chant for as long as you stay awake,” answeredContinue reading “Buddhist Practice and Being Reasonable”

Mind Over Matter

I found this excellent from the Hojoki recently: The Triple World [a Buddhist term for reality] is solely Mind. Without a peaceful mind, elephants, horses and the seven treasures are worthless things, palaces and fine towers mean nothing. The Triple World is solely Mind. Without a peaceful mind, elephants, horses and the seven treasures areContinue reading “Mind Over Matter”

The Diary of Lady Sarashina

In the Tenth month [of the lunar calendar], I turned, my eyes full of tears, towards the intensely bright moon. Even into the mind always clouded with grief,There is cast the reflection of the bright moon. Diary of Lady Sarashina, (source) Recently, I finished a somewhat obscure but interesting work of Japanese literature from theContinue reading “The Diary of Lady Sarashina”

Being A Burden To Others

In the 14th century text, the Essays in Idleness, Kenko writes: 140) The intelligent man, when he dies, leaves no possessions. If he has collected worthless objects, it is embarrassing to have them discovered. If the objects are of good quality, they will depress his heirs at the thought of how attached he must haveContinue reading “Being A Burden To Others”

Obon Ghost Stories in Japan

Late July through August is the Obon season in Japan, which mirrors Halloween in the West, or Day of the Dead in Mexico. It is both a time to return to one’s hometown, reconnect to family, pay respects to one’s ancestors, but also to delve into matters of death, afterlife, ghosts, etc. The yokai (monstersContinue reading “Obon Ghost Stories in Japan”

Medieval Japanese Social Justice

This week, I’ve been posting lots of interesting quotations from the 14th Century Japanese text, the Essays in Idleness, or tsurézurégusa (徒然草). Kenkō, the author, covered a lot of subjects from idle to spiritual to political. In this excerpt, he covers some important social issues that affected his time as much as it affects ours.Continue reading “Medieval Japanese Social Justice”