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

moe-anime

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 [...]

Leza Lowitz: “Maybe, I thought, love could be the new bloodline.”

Leza Lowitz had told her husband to tell the orphanage, "Tell them to put a perpetual ‘yes’ on our file, okay? Tell them that whatever child they have available, we are interested.” In "Adoption," her Shambhala Sun story from May 2010, Lowitz recounts how that openness would eventually be rewarded by the presence of Yuto, the very special orphan boy who would become the [...]

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 [...]

Remembering “Irish Zen Saint” Maura O’Halloran

Featured on the ShambhalaSun.com homepage today is "Annie Mirror Heart," a chapter from an unfinished novel by Maura O'Halloran. 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 [...]

Mazie Hirono is the first Buddhist U.S. senator

Mazie-Hirono

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 [...]

The rise of “Dubsutra”?

How's this for a headline: "Music Group Fronted by Japanese Monks Bring Buddhist Sutra to the Dance Club, Wear Awesome Helmets." Yep, it's real, and this item from Japanese/Asian news source Rocket News 24 profiles the awesome-helmet-wearing act in question, Tariki Echo. Formed by two aspiring Jodo Shinshu priests, the group released their first album, Buddha Sound, on March [...]

Video: An update on “Reactor,” a film about life after Japan’s nuclear disaster

This spring, activist and Buddhist/yoga teacher Michael Stone, along with filmmaker Ian MacKenzie, sought donations for a crowdfunded short film called Reactor, about Japan's response to last year's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Stone and MacKenzie have exceeded their fundraising goal and traveled to Japan, where they're posting updates about their travels and filmmaking [...]