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!”

Omamori: Japanese Charms

Since New Year has come and gone, this is a time where people frequently purchase an omamori (御守り) charm for the year, while returning the previous year’s charm for proper, not to mention respectful, disposal. Because my family and I visit Japan every year since 2005 to see my wife’s family, I’ve picked up aContinue reading “Omamori: Japanese Charms”

The Seven Luck Gods

As 2021 draws to a close, this is a nice opportunity to review a fascinating aspect of Japanese spirituality: the Seven Luck Gods! The Seven Luck Gods or shichi-fukujin (七福神) exemplify the syncretic nature of Japanese religion, because the seven gods have different origins including some native Shinto kami to Hindu gods who have undergoneContinue reading “The Seven Luck Gods”

Japan, Buddhism and Karmic Relations

One of the fascinating things about being a “textbook Buddhist” (someone who learned Buddhism later in life through books) and marrying someone who grew up Buddhist, is learning how Buddhism and culture intertwine.1 Something you occasionally hear in Japanese language is the phrase en ga aru (縁がある), or the opposite en ga nai (縁がない). InContinue reading “Japan, Buddhism and Karmic Relations”

Footsteps in the Snow: A Poem By Lady Izumi

For my birthday, I picked up a great book on poetry by the 12th century lady-in-waiting, Lady Izumi, called izumi shikibu (和泉式部) in Japanese. Her life has been an interest of mine, and I was happy to find good quality translation of her works.1 The book has a collection of her poems spanning various topics,Continue reading “Footsteps in the Snow: A Poem By Lady Izumi”

Visiting Kofukuji Temple

Lately, I have been posting old nostalgia posts from visits made to Japan and its famous Buddhist temples, such as Kiyomizudera, Ryoanji and the two Pavilions. Today, I wanted to share one more famous temple that, in particular, is often overlooked by visitors, yet really worth a visit for its historical value and amazing culturalContinue reading “Visiting Kofukuji Temple”

Happy Moon Festival 2021!

The Moon Festival (中秋節), celebrated across east Asia starts tonight depending on your time zone. I got to celebrate on Animal Crossing: New Horizons by decorating my “home” with regional treats: moon cakes from China at front, colorful song-pyon from Korea on the back-right and white dango from Japan on the left. In Japan, theContinue reading “Happy Moon Festival 2021!”

Buddhism: Gates, not Sects

Recently, I stumbled upon a particularly fascinating book on the oft-neglected subject of Chinese Pure Land Buddhism titled Chinese Pure Land Buddhism: Understanding a Tradition of Practice. This book was published in 2020, so it’s quite recent. The book seeks to clarify what defines the Chinese “Pure Land Buddhist tradition” by relying on more nativeContinue reading “Buddhism: Gates, not Sects”