Japan

  • Buddha Buzz: Beautiful Sutras and Old Postcards Paid Member

    Earlier this month, the New York Public Library released 180,000 public domain images, texts, maps, and other materials for view, download, and use.  The collection has quite a few (beautiful) prints from the 16th century Sutra of the Ten Kings of Hell—which depicts the Buddhist hell realm of souls being judged after death—as well as travel postcards showing Buddhist monks and meditators in Asia in the early 20th century. Here are a few of our favorite images from the collection: (The Sutra of the Ten Kings of Hell, 1594) (The Sutra of the Ten Kings of Hell, 1594) More »
  • Mountain and River on the Kiso Road Paid Member

    Mountain and River on the Kiso Road The weasel in its Winter fur lies downto dream. The silent filmfreezes. Snow shuddering from shoulders,the animal looks asleep.Now landscape is deadened,unblemished by fantasy.Ice in the blue insistencehas no emotion. How gloriousits absence, the blankness of snowflakeswhen they hit, unheard hiss of is, is, is …  More »
  • The Chimera of Human Advancement Paid Member

    In The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, three generations of dharma teachers grapple with the social and technological changes they witnessed in Japan over the course of their respective lifetimes. Kodo Sawaki, the eponymous "Homeless Kodo," first brought Soto Zen Buddhism out of the monasteries and into the streets during the early 1900s. His dharma heir, Kosho Uchiyama, continued this tradition during the latter half of that century. Now Shohaku Okamura, the title's translator and last commentator, applies the wisdom of his forebears to our present day.—Ed.Kodo Sawaki: After all our efforts, racking our brains as intensely as possible, we have come to a deadlock. Human beings are idiots. We set ourselves up as wise and then do foolish things. In spite of our scientific advancement, we haven’t yet achieved greatness of character. What’s the reason for this? More »
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    The Value of Suffering Paid Member

    Suffering is inevitable, yet it is something many try hard to avoid. This avoidance has its risks, according to Tricycle contributing editor Pico Iyer in yesterday's piece in The New York Times. Iyer contends that there is great value to suffering. And that it's danger is not if this suffering will harm us, but rather if we learn nothing in its wake. More »
  • Meet Tokyo's Bartending Monk Paid Member

    Bartenders are easy to confide in. Not just because you're probably wasted, but because so many others have been before you. Your neighborhood barkeep has already heard it all, and though he might not be able to impart any sage advice, he's at least developed some good listening skills. While barkeeps seem to have always occupied this unique social position, it's therapists who often do these days. Before therapy, which developed from the Christian culture of confession and divulgence, it was the clergy who saddled this responsibility. Vowz Bar in Tokyo revitalizes that once important role of clergy, placing them right behind the bar, where Buddhist-themed cocktails are mixed for spiritually thirsty patrons. Run by monks in the bustling Shinjuku district, it's likely the only bar where boozy-and-stirred concoctions are offered with a prayer. More »
  • Beautiful Image from Japan Paid Member

                            This image came to us via a friend on twitter. We're not sure of the story behind it but I find it to be quite moving. More »