Japan

  • Bonnie Myotai Treace, Sensei on the Art and Calligraphy of Hakuin at Japan Society Paid Member

    Bonnie Myotai Treace, Sensei gave a teaching recently at New York City's Japan Society. Her topic was the art and calligraphy of Hakuin, in particular the image, "Nin," at right. Myotai is the guiding teacher of the Hermitage Heart sangha in Garrison, New York. The Hakuin exhibition continues at Japan Society until January 16th, at which it will go to New Orleans Museum of Art from February 12th to April 17th, 2011, and from there to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, from May 22nd to August 17th, 2011. The show is stunning: if you'll be in southern Louisiana or southern California when it's around, don't miss it. Leading up to the Japan Society event, which took place December 4th, Myotai wrote the following: More »
  • Sento-kun: Half-Deer, Half-Buddha Boy Paid Member

    A couple of years ago, Sento-kun, a half-deer, half-Buddha boy mascot, was chosen to represent the 1,300th anniversary of Japan's ancient capital being relocated to Nara. At first, the baby-faced boy with antlers (the deer is considered a sacred animal in Nara) was not well-received. Many found it ugly and disrespectful toward Buddha. Now, however, Sento-kun—designed by Satoshi Yabuuchi, a sculptor and professor at Tokyo University of the Arts—is being praised by Nara authorities for the amount of attention that he has brought to the city. More »
  • Buddhist Monk wins gold medal for horseback riding in Asian Games Paid Member

    Last weekend a Japanese Buddhist monk named Kenki Sato won the "eventing individual" gold medal at the Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China. After winning Sato discussed how his Buddhist practice "gels" with his love for horseback riding and his dream to eventually compete in the Olympic Games. From The Chakra report: According to Sato, horse riding “gels well with Buddhism” and thus he has been horse riding since the age of 7. He said that Buddhism is so important to him that he tends to naturally get attracted to activities that other Buddhist monks also take part in, which includes horse riding. He takes both horse riding and being a monk very seriously. More »
  • Shinnyo-en's Boundless Prayer Ceremony: the Saisho Homa Paid Member

    Because we commonly associate Vajrayana Buddhism with Tibet, it can surprise some that forms of Vajrayana have persisted in Japan as well. One historical center of Japanese Vajrayana is Daigoji monastery, home of the Daigo school of Shingon Buddhism. Founded in 874, the monastery is still operating today.   In 1936, a prolific sculptor and member of Daigoji’s priesthood, Shinjo Ito (1906-1989), founded the Shinnyo-en ("Garden of Absolute Reality") school, whose central canonical text is the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, said to be the last of the Buddha’s sermons. The current issue of Tricycle features an interview with Her Holiness Shinso Ito, daughter of Shinjo and current leader of the Shinnyo-en school of Buddhism.  More »
  • Buddhists in the House Paid Member

    Did you know that Hawaii's membership in the House of Representatives in 2011 will be 100% Buddhist? There are two House members from the Aloha State: Democrat Mazie Hirono and newly elected Colleen Hanabusa, also a Democrat and currently president of Hawaii's Senate. Hanabusa defeated Republican Charles Djou to win the seat representing the 1st district, which covers urban Honolulu, while Hirono represents the 2nd district, which covers suburban Honolulu and the rest of the islands. Both are of Japanese heritage and Wikipedia names both women as Shin Buddhists. More »
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    A Zen priest calls for full inclusion of women in all religions Paid Member

    In a blog posted yesterday on the Huffington Post, Soto Zen priest Norman Fischer called for the full inclusion of women in American Soto Zen Buddhism and "all religions." For 15 years---since a female student approached Fischer tearfully, lamenting the lack of women in the lineage they chanted each day---Fisher has worked to include women in the American Soto Zen tradition by chanting the names of a lineage of women and by advocating the giving of women's lineage documents in all Soto Zen initiation rites. Fischer speaks about the founding of the American Soto Zen Association of America, the frustrations of trying to negotiate an affiliation between the Japan Soto Zen organization, and the pitfalls of deferring to ancient religious traditions: More »