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”

The Tragedy of Lady Izumi

The twilight years of the Heian Period of Japan (8th century to late 12th century) mark the high-point of the refined Imperial Court, its aristocracy and their literary culture. Poetry at this time, epitomized by the Hyakunin Isshu, was a popular past-time and frequent means of corresponding between men and women (often on the sly).Continue reading “The Tragedy of Lady Izumi”

Hobgoblins: the Klingons of Dungeons and Dragons

It’s been a while since I had a good D&D post, but after being sick in July and taking some time off, I honestly haven’t played in over a month. Even my play-by-post group had to take time off due to personal life interruptions affecting other players. So, this weekend, I finally got back intoContinue reading “Hobgoblins: the Klingons of Dungeons and Dragons”

Afro Buddha

Recently, I saw this post on Twitter from the Kyoto Tea Ceremony company about a fascinating example of Buddhist art: This statue, found at the temple of Konkai-Komyoji in Kyoto, Japan, is of the bodhisattva named Dharmakara (Japanese: Hōzō 法蔵). According to Buddhist tradition, Dharmakara Bodhisattva later would become Amitabha (Japanese: Amida 阿弥陀) Buddha, theContinue reading “Afro Buddha”

Happy Summer 2021

One of my favorite poems of the Hyakunin Isshu anthology is also one of the first: Japanese Romanization Translation 春過ぎて Haru sugite Spring has passed, and 夏来にけらし natsu ki ni kerashi summer has arrived, it seems 白妙の shiro tae no Heavenly Mount Kagu 衣ほすてふ koromo hosu chō where, it is said, they dry robes 天の香具山Continue reading “Happy Summer 2021”

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”