Monthly Archives: February 2009

Knowing your limits: learning a language, among other things

Hi all, Haven’t posted in a day or two. I’ve been spending time with my daughter now that she’s back home with me. I didn’t realize how much she missed me until she saw me at the airport and did … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Family, Japanese, JLPT, Language, Religion, Taoism | 7 Comments

Honen’s Catechism

Not too long ago, I mentioned in passing a famous letter of Honen, the founder of Jodo Shu Pure Land Buddhism. This is the hyakuyonjūgo kajō mondō (百四十五箇条問答), or “145 itemized questions”. This is sometimes referred to as Honen’s Catechism, … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Jodo Shu, Religion | Leave a comment

Hinamatsuri/Girls Day How-to

Girls Day in Japan is fast approaching, and my wife and daughter are coming home soon, just before Girls Day, so that means I had to setup the doll set again this year. Girls Day is March 3rd, but it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Japan | 2 Comments

Introduction to Shinto religion

Having recently come back from Japan, during New Year’s I wanted to talk a little bit about the other religion in Japan: Shintoism. My interest in Shinto began this last trip when I visited a few shrines here and there … Continue reading

Posted in Religion, Shinto | 4 Comments

Confucius: The River Flows On

One of the most famous quotations from the Analects of Confucius* comes from Book 9, verse 17 (translation by Burton Watson): Standing by a stream, the Master [Confucius] said, It flows on like this—does it not?—never ceasing day or night. … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Confucius, Philosophy, Religion | 2 Comments

Zen Shin Talks: a book review

On this sunny, Irish afternoon, I did some housework, then sat down on the couch for the first time in months, and finished reading the book Zen Shin Talks by Reverend Ogui. Rev. Ogui is the head of the Buddhist … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Jodo Shinshu, Religion, Zen | 5 Comments

Yakudoshi: The year of calamity

My wife and I were having a little email conversation lately, about the unusually bad weather in Ireland this year, and she half-jokingly reminded me that its her yakudoshi year this year. This means “calamity year”, or “year of suffering” … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Japan, Religion, Shingon, Shinto | 8 Comments

Twilight Samurai: a review

Movies about Samurai (and Zen) are not that hard to find in the West. Even my father-in-law in Japan loves watching jidaigeki (時代劇), or historical dramas, where such-and-such samurai is a hero as he cuts down 10 or more guys.* … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Japanese, Religion | Leave a comment

Religion + Blogs = Bad Idea

Another great comic from Xkcd: This is why, among other reasons, why I got rid of the old blog, the old “Gerald Ford” identity and so on. It’s just too tempting to get self-righteous at times, and too easy to … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Religion, Technology

The Marathon Monks

This is a nice 20-minute documentary on a famous ritual in the Tendai sect of Buddhism called the kaihōgyō (回峰行). The documentary covers the life of one monk at the end of his trials in the Kaihogyo, which is a … Continue reading

Posted in Buddhism, Religion, Tendai | 7 Comments