If I could actually accumulate some merit by my own power, I would help my dead parents by the grace of Invocation to Amida  (But it is not I who can save me, but Amida himself).  So I should give up the self-concieted attitude of hoping to save myself and others by the grace of religious practice (and I should rely on the grace of Amida). 

 Ways of Thinking of Eastern People p. 424

am boggled that the author uses the term grace, a Christian term.  Is there a concept of grace in Japan before the introduction of Chrisitanity?



July 21, 2008

“Weary as I am

Of this world,

When autumn comes

And the moon shines serene,

I feel I should like to survive.”

“Wearied of this world

Why should I be?

Those once despised by me

Today my delight turn out to be.”

Japanese poem

Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples p. 372


July 7, 2008

“Shaman,” from which the word Shamanism derived, means a dancing man.

Ways of Thinking of Eastern Peoples p. 584 paragraph 3

Guanyin, precisely as the sutra promised, was known to be especially adept at rescuing the drowning.  In the midst of a river battle a fat man meditated on the bodhisattva and abandoned ship.  The water was deep and the river was raging, yet the water came up only to his waist, as if he were standing in shallow water.  Eventually a boat came to rescue him, but the man’s weight was so great that he could not be lifted aboard.  The man looked down and saw four men pushing him up.  Once he was on the ship he looked back, but no one was there. 

The Story of Buddhism p. 80 paragraph 3

Matthew 14:22-36 


The lord who looks down

April 21, 2008

 The most famous of these bodhisattvas is Avalokitesvara, the “lord who looks down.”  Indeed, much of the Lotus Sutra’s fame in East Asia derives from one brief chapter, the twenty-fifth chapter devoted to the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara or, as he (she rather) was known in China, Guanyin, “he who discerns the sounds of the world.” 

The Story of Buddhism p. 80 paragraph 2 

Psalm 102:17-20 

Genesis 16:11 

Genesis 29:33 

Exodus 3:7 

Exodus 16:8 

Exodus 22:27 

2 Chronicles 7:14 

 I must add that for Israel, there was a downside to being heard:

Numbers 11:1 

Numbers 14:26-30 


conventional truth…

March 6, 2008


Romans 1:18-22 (The Message)

Only the ignorant would believe that things exist in the way that they appear.  Yet this false appearance of conventional truths does not render them utterly nonexistent.  As Nagarjuna says, without conventional truths, the ultimate cannot be known.  Indeed, the category of the conventional encompasses all of the salubrious components of the Buddhist path, including the Buddha.  The relation between the two truths would then seem to be one between an object (the conventional truth) and its true nature (the ultimate truth).  The Heart Sutra famously declares, “Form is empty.  Emptiness is form.”  Commentators have taken this as an expression of the relation between the two truths.  Form, the first of the five aggregates and a conventional truth, is empty.  Emptiness, the ultimate reality, is not to be found apart from the objects of ordinary experience; it is the very nature of form. 

The Story of Buddhism p. 31-32

When the philosopher Zhu Xi explained the word di in the Yijing (Book of Changes), he said it meant “Lord of Heaven.”

One difference I take note of in regards to Master Jinul’s quote as opposed to what the apostle Paul says is that Master Jinul uses the pronoun “they”.  If they aspire to the path of the Buddha while obstinately holding to their feeling that the Buddha is outside the mind…

Paul, on the other hand uses the pronoun “I”.  If I speak with the toungues of men and of angels yet have not love, I am but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

I’m just curious as to what that implies.  I mean, it seems to me that Master Jinul “has arrived”; that he cannot fall back into that state of ignorance of seeking the Buddha nature outside himself.  Paul, on the other hand, seems to be implying that he is capable of doing something which is not in love.   

Granted these two men are speaking of two entirely different topics.  One love, the other, aspiring to the path of the Buddha. 

But are they really entirely different topics?  How is aspiring to the path of the Buddha different from posessing love through acts of patience, kindness etc. ? 

I also understand that Master Jinul is just one man and he doesn’t speak for all of Buddhism, so I am not trying to use my observations as a criticism to Buddhism.  I’m just stating what stood out to me this morning. 

I came across the following passage in this book I’m reading p. 284.  It’s what lead to a Korean monk’s enlightenment:

“If they aspire to the path of the Buddha while obstinately holding to their feeling that the Buddha is outside the mind or the Dharma is outside the nature, then, even though they pass through kalpas as numerous as dust motes, burning their bodies, charring their arms, crushing their bones, and exposing their marrow, or else write sutras with their own blood, never lying down to sleep, eating only one offering a day at the hour of the Hare (5-7 a.m.), or even studying through the entire Tripitaka and cultivating all sorts of ascetic practices, it is like trying to make rice by boiling sand–it will only add to their tribulation.” -Susimgyel by Master Jinul

p. 284

I realize this statement is not entirely related to the following passage I am about to quote, but I couldn’t help but to consider how the author’s reasoning reflects the reasoning of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Christians.

i was at a bus stop recently with another American.  There was a Korean lady sitting next to us who suddenly got up and walked off briskly.  The American i was with said “i bet she knows something we don’t know”.  Turns out she was right.  i felt sort of like that today as i was walking downtown here.  It was a pretty narrow squeeze where i ended up walking behind a really old man.  He was practically standing still!  i tried to pass him but the sidewalk was too narrow.  So, i went onto the road to get around him.  i say this man was walking so slow because i’m not even that fast of a walker usually.  i mean i guess you could say i’m about medium paced.  In fact, when i passed the man, shortly thereafter  i heard someone gaining on me as a girl around my age walked past. 

Anyhow, i got to thinking: does this man know something i don’t know?  i mean he’s definately been around a lot longer than me.  Granted his body is well failing him as anyone’s body tends to do with age.  So i guess the question should be why does time slow us down?  Why are things designed that way?   Also, i wonder, even though the man can’t much help it that he walks so dadgum slow, i wonder if he sort of sighs at all of us rushing by.