Category Archives: Zen

On Running in Japan

For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. – Wallace Stevens, “The Snowman” Japan makes me anxious.

Posted in Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

On Seasons, or: On Poets Taking Over the Japanese Meteorological Service

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – The Great Gatsby There’s a central body in Japan that declares the coming and going of rain. That means that there is a weather bureaucracy, and someone stamps … Continue reading

Posted in Thinking, Tradition, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

On Lenin’s Feet and the Taxi-Driving Buddha

If you visit Kyoto, you may stumble into a small home next door to a shrine and, as you’re looking for the shrine entrance, a woman may ask you for 500 yen and assure you that there is English being … Continue reading

Posted in language, Shrines, Temples and Ruins, Thinking, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

On Like Totally Living in the Now in Japan, You Know?

Japan probably has more temples, shrines and gardens per capita than garbage cans or benches.

Posted in Homesickness, Shrines, Thinking, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

On Obon: Japan’s Homecoming Game, with Ghosts.

There’s an old Buddhist story about a monk named Mahamaudgalyayana – let’s call him Mokuren, for short – who was doing alright, as monks go, and had finally developed the skill of peering into the world of the dead.

Posted in Fun, Shrines, Thinking, Tradition, Uncategorized, Zen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On Walking On Fire in Japan

The most difficult part of walking on burning coals during a typhoon was finding the right train.

Posted in Shinto, Shrines, Thinking, Tradition, Uncategorized, Video, Zen | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments