Cats Gone Wrong: Bakeneko

Monsters from another culture are a fascinating window into premodern culture, and how they viewed the world. This includes, of all things, cats. In Japanese mythology, there were variations on monsters, or yōkai, collectively known as bakeneko (化け猫) which means “ghost cats”. Such cats can range from cats who simply died and return as ghosts,Continue reading “Cats Gone Wrong: Bakeneko”

The Mantra of Light as a Buddhist Practice

Mantras are a strange beast within Buddhism. The tradition of mantras predates Buddhisn as a religion and goes all the way back to the early “Vedic religion”, that is the ancient devotional religion structured around the Vedas (precursors to Hinduis as we know it), but they’ve always occupied an awkward spot. Recitation in Buddhism usuallyContinue reading “The Mantra of Light as a Buddhist Practice”

Chanting the Shiseige / Juseige

Just as the Heart Sutra is chanted by a very wide swath of the Buddhist community in the world, within the Pure Land Buddhist community1 there is another liturgy that’s similar in length and popular in Japanese Buddhism called the juseigé (重誓偈), shiseigé (四誓偈) or rarely the sanseigé (三誓偈). These names mean something along theContinue reading “Chanting the Shiseige / Juseige”

Meet The Original Triforce: The Hojo Clan!

I was cleaning out old photos from my phone’s camera roll, when I realized that I still had photos left over from this post, including a photo of my omamori charm that I got from Enoshima Shrine way back in 2019. Sadly that was my last trip to Japan, and I haven’t been able toContinue reading “Meet The Original Triforce: The Hojo Clan!”

Introducing the Karoshthi Script, a script of the Silk Road

The Silk Road, especially during the time when Buddhism first propagated out of India into the northwest and then east into China, is a fascinating point in history. Much of this is epitomized in a little-known writing system called Karoshthi. At that time, much of the world from Europe to Asia spoke a language calledContinue reading “Introducing the Karoshthi Script, a script of the Silk Road”