All Well And Good

Lately, I have been following a fascinating history podcast called the Hellenistic Age Podcast, a detailed look at a very fascinating and often overlooked period of world history. In particular, I am listening to the set of episodes regarding Hellenistic-era philosophy: 044: Hellenistic Philosophy – Epicurus & Epicureanism 045: Hellenistic Philosophy – Stoics & Stoicism 046: HellenisticContinue reading “All Well And Good”

The Gold and Silver Pavilions of Kyoto

One of the achievements of the short-lived Ashikaga Shogunate of Japan (14th to 16th century) were a pair of villas, later converted to Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple, called Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) and Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺). These are known as the Gold and Silver Pavilions in English respectively. Despite the similar names and origins, both pavilions are interestingContinue reading “The Gold and Silver Pavilions of Kyoto”

Buddhism and Cloud Technology

Lately, I’ve been dabbling in certain AWS technologies to get more familiar with them. In order to motivate me, I decide turn this into a tiny little side project: a Buddhist website hosted on AWS. The website is: I have been too lazy and cheap to buy a proper, easy to read domain nameContinue reading “Buddhism and Cloud Technology”

Toward a New Look at Honen

Recently, I re-posted an old polemic article I wrote 8 years ago (!) in a former blog at a time when I was on my out the door from the local Jodo Shinshu Buddhist community, citing references to one of Honen’s biggest critics, Jokei, an influential monk of the influential Hosso (Yogacara) school. Many ofContinue reading “Toward a New Look at Honen”

Japanese Pilgrimage Books

While many foreign tourists visit Buddhist temples (otera お寺) and Shinto shrines (jinja 神社), few know about a custom that has been around for centuries: pilgrimage books. The pilgrimage book or shuinchō (朱印帳), often called go-shuinchō (ご朱印帳), is a book for collecting stamps, often accompanied with some calligraphy, called a shuin (朱印). This practice, accordingContinue reading “Japanese Pilgrimage Books”

The Three Karmic Bonds of the Buddha

Recently, I dusted off an old book from my shelf titled Traversing the Pure Land Path which was published by the Jodo Shu Research Institute (JSRI) which recently moved here. I had a number of their publications at the time, and they were helpful English-language resources for folks of that persuasion. A lot of themContinue reading “The Three Karmic Bonds of the Buddha”

Reciting The Nembutsu in 3 Easy Steps!

The nembutsu (念仏),1 whose origins and doctrinal place within Buddhism I’ve written about here, is the central practice for Pure Land Buddhists across all of East Asia. However, today I am focusing on the Jodo Shu sect’s practice specifically. I decided to write this post after I discovered recently that an old English language siteContinue reading “Reciting The Nembutsu in 3 Easy Steps!”

Buddhism for Everyone: the Pure Land Gate

One of my favorite stories about the life of Honen, the 12th century Buddhist monk who started the Pure Land Buddhist movement in Japan is from his time of exile in 1207. From the capitol (modern day Kyoto) he and many followers were banished to the hinterlands, a common punishment at the time. In Honen’sContinue reading “Buddhism for Everyone: the Pure Land Gate”

A Refutation of Exclusive-Nembutsu Buddhist Practice

Author’s Note: this was another post I found recently from my old blog, possibly something I wrote in 2013 or 2014. It was shortly after this that I decided to leave the local Jodo Shinshu Buddhist community, give up the prospect of ordination, and strike out on my own. My feelings on the subject haveContinue reading “A Refutation of Exclusive-Nembutsu Buddhist Practice”