BY MATTHEW WILLIS - What the stones at Kyoto's Jishu Jinja shrine can teach us and warn us about love in our lives
You Have to Have a Cup
The Empty Mirror is Janwillem van de Wettering's memoir of his time at a Japanese Zen monastery where he stayed for over a year in the late 1950s.
Stuart Gunter – The Wind Telephone
Stuart Gunter's poem, The Wind Telephone, engages with one of the more poignant symbols of the thousands of deaths following the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
The Moon in the Water, the Body in the Mirror
Samurai Yagyu Munenori uses the popular Zen image of the moon reflected in the water to explain its application in martial arts training.
Kodo Sawaki Gathered Together: Arthur Braverman’s ‘Discovering the True Self’
Arthur Braverman gathers all of Kodo Sawaki's teachings together in his impressive new book on the Zen Master.
Bankei and the Unborn
17th century Zen master Bankei on the Unborn, the unconditioned mind that comes up spontaneously and is fundamental to every person, without exception.
Elegance and Spiritual Repose in the Darkness of a Japanese Latrine
Jun'ichiro Tanizaki's 1933 essay In Praise of Shadows is a tribute to a tenebrous, subtle Japanese aesthetic that the novelist upheld in opposition to the bright and shiny principles of design that he saw as the hallmark of the west. His dissertation is launched in the humble toilet, hailing the bathrooms of the temples and… Continue reading Elegance and Spiritual Repose in the Darkness of a Japanese Latrine
Dogen’s Waka on Impermanence
Waka is a Japanese word for poem that surfaced more than a millenium ago to differentiate the Chinese kanshi poems from the work of local scribes. A waka can have a long or short form, and the short ones can often read like haikus, a poetic embodiment of transience. This short one was written by… Continue reading Dogen’s Waka on Impermanence
Plum Blossoms Harmonize with Snow – Shundo Aoyama
Shundo Aoyama first entered a Zen temple at the age of 5, and became a priest at 15. She is one of the most well-known Zen masters in Japan and at 86 years old, she is still active in her teaching of the practice. Her book, Zen Seeds, is a collection of short reflections about… Continue reading Plum Blossoms Harmonize with Snow – Shundo Aoyama
Muso’s Green Mountains
Muso Soseki was a Japanese monk born in the 13th century who achieved satori at the age of 30 while staying in a hermitage in the countryside. One night he was walking about in the dark and reached out for a wall he thought was there. When he realized it wasn't, he gave a great… Continue reading Muso’s Green Mountains