Kuan Yin’s 1000-armed baseball pitch

baseball buddha 1000-armed kannon Genki Sudo World Order dance first pitch japan

Last Week, Genki Sudo and his famous Japanese dance troupe, "World Order," used "a thousand arms" to throw the first pitch at the opening of the Nippon Professional Baseball season. The seven-person troupe waved their arms robotically to wind up the pitch, performing a mesmerizing interpretation of Senju Kannon, the 1000-armed manifestation of Kuan Yin. Kuan Yin (also [...]

Michelle Obama tours Buddhist sites in Asia

First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Jack Schlossberg participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, while visiting Kiyomizu-Dera Buddhist Temple in Kyoto, Japan on March 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Last week, Michelle Obama completed a tour of Asia, promoting girls' education and visiting sacred Buddhist sites. "Buddhism is focused on helping its followers reach enlightenment through meditation and teachings on morality and wisdom," wrote Obama in a blog post." In Cambodia, Obama visited the famous temple Angkor Wat. "I couldn't be more thankful," she wrote about [...]

Remembering “Irish Zen Saint” Maura O’Halloran


Maura O'Halloran was a young Irish-American woman who took to Zen practice (and how!), as famously recounted in her journals, posthumously published as the book Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint. (O'Halloran was killed in an accident and her novel, of course, never finished. But you can read "Annie Mirror Heart," part of that [...]

How David Butow captured the Buddha in a frame

Interview Lion's Roar Buddhism Art Photography David Butow Sichuan Earthquake

In 2012, David Butow ventured to find the parallels between his work as a photojournalist and one of his most enchanting inspirations: Buddhism. One year and ten countries later, Butow produced a stunning series called "Seeing Buddha." Many of the photos in the series embody Buddhism not just in their subject matter, but in their technique. As a photographer, Butow cultivated [...]

Female Buddhist deities… as “cute-sexy” anime characters?


According to RocketNews 24 (“Bringing you yesterday’s news from Japan and Asia, today”), Ryohoji temple in Tokyo’s Hachioji, which had begun to use “moe girls – cute-sexy adolescent anime characters” to promote itself has now started to render actual Buddhist deities in the same style, selling its first such statuette on its website. Some might see this as a perversion, [...]

About a Poem: Ruth Ozeki on Ono no Komachi

Ono No Komachi Old Woman Poetry Poems Ruth Ozeki Japan

How do we remember a woman’s life? Can we piece her together from a few lines of poetry? This body grown fragile, floating, a reed cut from its roots. . . If a stream would ask me to follow, I’d go, I think. This is a poem by Ono no Komachi, one of Japan’s best-loved poets. Little is known of her life. She lived from about 825 to 900 CE, although these dates are [...]

Confronting the “selfie” and human-hair Buddhas: Odd artistic detours, then and now

Is it just exquisite coincidence or impishly deliberate? On Friday, Mainsite Contemporary Art in Norman, OK, will mount an exhibit entitled “Selfie: An Exploration of Identity” simultaneously with “Buddha Tuesdays,” featuring “small Buddha sculptures, corpse drawings, painted clay canvases and a variety of other items.” It seems they passed on “No-Selfie” as a title for the [...]

The ball just stops: remembering the Zen master of Japanese baseball

These days, the word “Zen” is all-too-easily deployed when some writers are looking to describe those whose detached concentration makes difficult feats look like a breeze. You often find such lazy labeling hastily stitched onto exceptional athletes. But once in a while, “Zen master” actually belongs in the headline. Meet Japanese baseball legend Tetsuharu Kawakami, who [...]

Meet Boxi, Japan’s new, clergy-led rock band

There's much breadth and fun to be found in the realm of modern Buddhist music. (For lots more on that, see a sample of our March 2013 Buddhist-music feature here, or order the whole issue, here.) Now we can add Japanese band Boxi to the list of dharma-music adventurers. (Though it should be noted that the band's founder is the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Tokyo [...]

Mazie Hirono is the first Buddhist U.S. senator


Amid all the election excitement of last night, here's one result that you may have missed: the U.S. has elected its first Buddhist senator. Mazie Hirono, a Democrat, beat Republican challenger Linda Lingle to become a senator for Hawaii. (Another prominent Buddhist, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election today and urged Obama to [...]