The master Bankei’s talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners. His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the…


静かさに蛍飛ぶなり淵の上 shizukasa ni     hotaru tobunari       fuchi no ue stillness – fireflies are glowing over deep water -Shiki   Art by Kobayashi Kiyochika, Fireflies at Ochanomizu  


Around the world, many Japanophile-in-waiting has enjoyed their earliest, sometimes unknowing, encounters with Japanese culture through the medium of origami, paper folding. But this graduation from paper planes and fortune tellers to more sophisticated designs like jumping frogs and cranes is nonetheless often conducted using rather unassuming paper torn from sketchbooks and notepads. Enter any…

an afternoon nap

世の中の重荷おろして昼寝かな yononaka no     omoni oroshite      hirune kana relieved of a burden in the everyday life an afternoon nap -Shiki   Art by Torii Kotondo, Taking a nap

silver folding screen

みじか夜や枕にちかき銀屏風 mijikayo ya     makura ni chikaki      gin-byōbu Short night Near the pillow stands A silver folding screen -Buson   Art by Kikuchi Hōbun

Saru mo ki kara ochiru

Even Monkeys fall from Trees Anyone can make a mistake. Even the naturally graceful may slip at time. This proverb shows admiration for the gifted, matched with sympathy for those who make a mistake.  

a red bridge

夏山や萬象青く橋赤し natsuyama ya      bansho aoku       hashi akashi summer mountain all creatures are green a red bridge -Shiki   Art by Ito Yuhan