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”

The Myth of Popular Buddhism and “True Buddhism”

Author’s Note: this is another old post I discovered recently, written way back in 2009 in an older blog I used to own, that I felt was worth reposting here. All the content below, aside from some minor edits, is the original text. Enjoy! Lately, I have been continuing my read of Prof. Reader’s andContinue reading “The Myth of Popular Buddhism and “True Buddhism””

Remembering Ryoanji Temple

Hello readers, this post is another in a mini series of posts I am making about past Buddhist temple visits I made in Japan. During my first visit to Japan in January 2005, where I saw Kiyomizu-dera Temple, my wife, in-laws and I also visited another famous temple named Ryoanji (official homepage) a famous templeContinue reading “Remembering Ryoanji Temple”

The Many Many Kami of Shinto Religion

In the past, I’ve touched on the subject of Shinto religion, and its great many kami (神) who range from great deities to little more than nature spirits or revered historical figures. In Japanese Shinto there is a saying: ya-o-yorozu no kami (八百万の神) which means “the Eight Million kami (of Japan)” which captures this sense,Continue reading “The Many Many Kami of Shinto Religion”

The Accidental Module

Recently, I published a new document on DMS Guild, the Traveler’s Guide to the Hamato Islands: This was not the adventure module that I originally intended to publish, however. This one somewhat happened by accident. After play-testing an earlier module I published, A Good Night’s Rest, I started getting questions about how such-and-such would workContinue reading “The Accidental Module”

Making a Historically Accurate Ninja in Dungeons and Dragons

A while back, I had written a post about making a elven samurai character in Dungeons and Dragons. The result, Heian Amakiiro, has been a lot of fun to play in Adventurer’s League and was the original inspiration for my “Hamato Islands” series of adventures, starting with A Good Night’s Rest. However, recently I gotContinue reading “Making a Historically Accurate Ninja in Dungeons and Dragons”

Plum Blossoms

Recently, the Buddhist temple Yakushi-ji in Nara, Japan posted this update on their Twitter feed: When most people think of Japan, they think of cherry blossoms, specifically sakura (桜) cherry blossoms. However, while cherry blossoms usually appear sometime between March to May depending on climate, variety, etc, another famous flowering tree blooms slightly eariler: uméContinue reading “Plum Blossoms”