Of Burning Houses and Rain

Here is another wonderful poem (previous posts here and here) by the 11th century Japanese poetess, Lady Izumi (izumi shikibu 和泉式部 in Japanese), that I found in The Ink Dark Moon by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani: Original Japanese Romanization Translation ものをのみ Mono o nomi Should I leave this burning house 思ひの家を Omoi no ieContinue reading “Of Burning Houses and Rain”

Buddhism Here and Now, Or the Future?

Recently while taking my personal retreat, I spent some time catching up on Buddhist reading, and finished a book titled Introduction to the Lotus Sutra by Yoshiro Tamura, and translated to English. I had high hopes for the book, but came away pretty disappointed as it was a pretty thinly veiled promotion of a Nichiren-BuddhistContinue reading “Buddhism Here and Now, Or the Future?”

Morning Odaimoku, Evening Nenbutsu

Japanese Tendai Buddhism, that is the Buddhist sect descended from the venerable Chinese Tiantai (天台) tradition started by Zhiyi (智顗, 538–597), has a number of interesting, not to mention pithy, teachings and phrases. Lately, I’ve been thinking about a particular phrase called asa daimoku ni yū nenbutsu (朝題目に夕念仏). In its most literal sense, it meansContinue reading “Morning Odaimoku, Evening Nenbutsu”

The Lotus Sutra and the Pure Land: a Medieval Japanese Perspective

Page 56 of my new book highlights a common theme in early-medieval Japanese Buddhism (e.g. the Heian Period, 8th-12th c.) expressed in the writings of one Yoshihige no Yasutane (慶滋保胤, 931-1002): “Truly now, nothing takes precedence over the Lotus Sutra in making all sentient beings enter into the buddha’s insight and wisdom.  For this reason,Continue reading “The Lotus Sutra and the Pure Land: a Medieval Japanese Perspective”