The ultimate and the inexpressible

The state of no-mind is the state of the divine. God is not a thought but the experience of thoughtlessness. It is not a content in the mind; it is the explosion when the mind is content-less. It is not an object that you can see; it is the very capacity to see. It is…

Words

Master your words. Gautam Buddha. The Dhammapada. Ordinarily a mind is full of words – relevant, irrelevant, rubbish; all kinds of words go on gathering inside you. Two persons are talking; you simply hear, and those words become part of your mind – for no other reason, accidentally. You heard two persons talking. You have…

Marriage

Marriage in Japan is a legal and social institution at the center of the household. Couples are legally married once they have made the change in status on their family registration sheets, without the need for a ceremony. Most weddings are held either according to Shinto traditions or in chapels according to Christian marriage traditions….

Butsudan

If you’ve ever been in a Japanese home – or seen a TV show, film or even anime set in a Japanese home – you’ve likely set eyes on a Buddhist altar, a butsudan. These miniature altars allow Japanese families to pray in the comfort of their own home, and are specifically geared toward the…

妖怪 Yōkai

Yōkai (ghost, phantom, strange apparition) are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore. The word yōkai is made up of the kanji for “bewitching; attractive; calamity”; and “spectre; apparition; mystery; suspicious”. They can also be called ayakashi (あやかし), mononoke (物の怪), or mamono (魔物). Yōkai range diversely from the malevolent to the…

Momiji Matsuri Arashiyama

The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles and Kyoto’s elite would visit to enjoy its natural setting. A favourite pastime of the nobles was appreciating and enjoying the red maple leaves of the area which is called momiji (紅葉) in Japanese. The Arashiyama Momiji Festival celebrates this ancient…

生け花 Ikebana

Ikebana (生け花, “arranging flowers”) is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as kadō (華道, the “way of flowers”). The tradition dates back to the 7th century when floral offerings were made at altars. Later they were placed in the tokonoma alcove of a home. Ikebana reached its first zenith in the 16th century…

Warai Festival, Niu-Jinja Shrine, Wakayama

Niu Shrine in the Hidaka district of Wakayama hosts every year the Warai, or laughing, festival. The festival itself is considered a Prefectural Cultural Heritage asset and can be traced back several centuries. The festival is based on the legend of Niutsuhime-No-Kimoto goddess. According to it, the goddess overslept and arrived late to a gathering…

長崎くんちNagasaki Kunchi

Kunchi (くんち), also  or Nagasaki Okunchi (長崎おくんち), is the most famous festival in Nagasaki, Japan. It began as a celebration of autumn harvests in the late 16th century and became a shrine festival when Suwa Shrine was founded in 1642. Another purpose was to check for hidden Christians after the ban on Christianity. This is…

二本松市 Nihonmatsu Chochin Festival

The Nihon-matsu Chochin (Lantern) Festival in Nihon-matsu, Fukushima is the most important festival held at Nihon-matsu Shrine and is said to have started approximately 360 years ago. It is held every year from October 4th to the 6th. Seven Taiko drum floats are released from seven towns, loaded with approximately 300 lighted paper lanterns each,…

ずいき祭 Zuiki Matsuri Festival

Autumn harvest festival with unique Mikoshi decorated with vegetables Established in 947, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine enshrines Sugawara Michizane who was a scholar, litterateur and politician in the beginning of Heian Era (lived from 845 to 903). It is the headquarter of more than 12,000 Tenmangu, shrines dedicated to Sugawara Michizane’s spirit, all over Japan and…