When I was teaching a class yesterday via Zoom, one of my students seemed to always be looking down and doing something else, so I warned her to listen to my talk. I said:
“I thoroughly prepared this lecture and speak with all my devotion. You won’t be able to learn anything with such an attitude!!”
Later I thought to myself:
“Am I spending every day with full attention? Aren’t I wasting my life without learning anything like this …”?
When I am freed from all conditions that limit my sensitivity, I strain my ears and listen to the “sacred” voice that permeates external and internal nature. …
Etymologically, the word “samurai” originates from the Classical Japanese verb “saburau,” meaning “to serve.” Who do Samurai serve? Their masters, the feudal lords. A fighter without a master to protect him is called a “rōnin,” a word people who are familiar with the movie “47 Rōnin” with Keanu Reeves might know.
The Hollywood version was modified greatly from the original story, but the film is about 47 rōnin who have lost their lord due to a political conflict. They get revenge on their political enemy even though they know they will be ordered to commit harakiri suicide by the shogunate.
Generally, this story is highly respected among Japanese people as a representative example showing what an ideal samurai is like. They maintained their loyalty to their lord. However, I personally don’t like this story, because it beautifies the death of Samurai. …
“How can we deal with our environment in a better way”?
To begin with, this question is incorrectly asked, because “we” and “environment” are not separate beings. Therefore, the environment is not “ours,” but “us.” Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa (leader) of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, says in his talk at Yale University in 2015:
We all like practicing mindfulness. But:
In this article I am digging into these questions by using some ideas from Buddhist epistemology, especially that of Abhidharma (the philosophical study of the Buddha’s teachings). Generally speaking, Abhidharma arguments are incredibly complicated, and they vary depending on different schools, but I try to discuss my ideas in the most straightforward manner.
I also note in advance that I use a diagram to explain unsubstantial mental representations (thoughts, feelings, impressions, etc.), which is a contradictory strategy. However, this method serves as an “expedient means” to make my argument easy to understand. In any case, our use of language can be criticized for the same reason, can’t it? …
“Why do we drink Tea?”
Because it tastes good? Because it is relaxing? Because it is our habit? Maybe all of these reasons.
This habitual act of drinking tea could be a daily ceremonial event for some people. We drink tea every morning to wake up. It works because tea not only contains caffeine, but we believe that it works. It is a ceremonial activity we can’t skip. Without the ceremony, our good day can’t begin.
According to accepted historical facts, the Japanese art known as “tea ceremony” was initiated by Murata Jukō (Shukō 1422/1423–1502) and developed by Sen no Rikyū (1522–1591). These people designed sadō (chadō), which literally means “The Way of Tea,” to have several pragmatic effects. (Why is it called the “Way”? In order to discuss this issue, we need to examine the historical background of the development of the tea ceremony, especially the influence of Daoism via Neo-Confucianism in Japanese culture. …
We often hear expressions such as “being aware in the present” among people who talk about, write about, and practice meditation. But what kind of mental state does this mean, exactly?
“Trying to be aware in the present” and “being aware in the present” are totally different mental states. The latter rarely occurs because it is only possible when we are freed from the filter of a cognitive scheme constructed through the force of habit.
On the other hand, the former is the state that prevents us from being aware in the present, because “trying” is one of the cognitive filter’s functions and filtering takes some time. …
I have “officially” practiced different kinds of meditation for 35 years. If I count “meditation-like” practices, I have been performing them for 45 years. However, I still don’t know how to practice mediation constantly.
The other day I read an article on Medium about how to habituate a meditation practice.
I left a comment to the effect that I think mediation is a dishabituation process. My point was that the core idea of mindfulness is to be aware of how we feel, think, and act, which is usually unconsciously processed through a habitual cognitive scheme. …
In the previous article, I discussed a theodical argument about disaster, or in other words, how we interpret and respond to disastrous events from a Shinto perspective.
In this article, I will use Buddhist ideas to make unreasonable theodical issues reasonable. However, I have to emphasize in advance that I am using “Buddhism” here in a very limited sense, as Buddhism is diverse and I am introducing only some ideas from a few traditions.
First of all, from the early Buddhist doctrinal perspective in general:
The issue of theodicy can be summarized as an analysis of “WHY THERE IS SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD.” …
“Do you want to get happiness? I will tell you how!!”
If you hear this sort of catchphrase, you should be skeptical of such a claim.
The noun “happiness” is a problematic way to put it, as it sounds as if there is some-“thing” called “happiness” that exists out there, separate from “us.” However, “happiness” is not some-thing that we can “get” because there are no distinct substances named “we” and “happiness.” We just need to be happy. But how does the moment of “being happy” happen?
The only way to “be happy” is by detaching ourselves from objects of greed. The mental function of greed, attached to some representations, is the mastermind, the very thing that obstructs us from being happy. …
When the triple disaster (earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear plant accident) happened in northeast Japan about ten years ago, I was in Hawaii at an ABC convenience store after meeting my advisers at the University of Hawaii, in order to purchase a souvenir for my friends in Pittsburgh, PA.
One of the staff suddenly yelled at everybody in the store that there was a massive earthquake in Japan. However, nobody looked as if they were listening to her. …