A Buddhist Monk in King Strahd’s Court

Having watched Netflix’s Castlevania series for probably the third time through, and as a way of “eating my own dog food” by applying my Dungeons and Dragons Hamato Islands setting to other environments, I started a recent thought-experiment: suppose I made a Japanese-style character, and suppose that character got transported to the classic gothic horrorContinue reading “A Buddhist Monk in King Strahd’s Court”

The Eight Winds of Buddhism

“Monks, these eight worldly conditions spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. Which eight? Gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. These are the eight worldly conditions that spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. The Lokavipatti Sutta (AN 8:6), translatedContinue reading “The Eight Winds of Buddhism”

Siddham: The Forgotten Buddhist Script

In the past, I have dabbled in learning Sanskrit, which is an ancient Indian language, and the foundation of many other modern languages. Sanskrit is to South Asia, what Latin is to western Europe. Sanskrit is a tricky language though. Speaking from limited experience, it has many grammatical similarities to Latin and Greek (hence they’reContinue reading “Siddham: The Forgotten Buddhist Script”

A Bit of Paradise

The lotus-flowers in the lakes, large as chariot wheels, are blue-colored with blue splendor, yellow-colored with yellow splendor, red-colored with red splendor, white-colored with white splendor, and (they are all) the most exquisite and purely fragrant. Shariputra, the land of Sukhavati [the Buddha’s Pure Land] is arrayed with such good qualities and adornments. The AmitabhaContinue reading “A Bit of Paradise”

Happy Birthday Buddha 2021

April 8th marks the birthday of the Buddha, Shakyamuni, in Japanese culture. This is often known as Hanamatsuri (花まつり) or the “flower festival”. Even in these tough times, it is a time to rejoice for us Buddhists, even if you observe the day on a different calendar. I admit that I almost forgot this year,Continue reading “Happy Birthday Buddha 2021”

Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?

I recently finished the series WandaVision (I am always super slow to catch up on popular shows), and in the big climactic battle between Vision and his other self,1 Vision brings up a famous paradox called the Ship of Theseus which Plutarch, one of my personal favorite people from that era, describes as: The shipContinue reading “Hello, Is It Me You’re Looking For?”

Learning Japanese The Classics Way

Recently while stuck at the dealership waiting for my car to get fixed (flat tire), I got into a weird thought exercise about how to learn Japanese language. I started learning Japanese on my own way back in the late 1980’s (back when Japan Inc was super cool to impressionable teenagers) and then in collegeContinue reading “Learning Japanese The Classics Way”

“Ondoku” Your Way to Smoother Language Skills

I have been studying Japanese language more or less since I was in college, twenty years ago, and much of that has been self-study. I have never lived in Japan, but my wife is from there, and we visit there every non-pandemic-year to see family, etc. Plus, I passed the JLPT N2 exam in 2012.Continue reading ““Ondoku” Your Way to Smoother Language Skills”