This robot wants to teach you Buddhist chants

A robot named Mindar uses its voice, hand gestures and eye contact to bond with those who want to learn about Buddhism. BY  BONNIE BURTON In Japan, robots run hotels, get married and even have their own funerals. Now they can add Buddhist teacher to the list. A new humanoid robot is offering lessons in Buddhist teachings, and delivering sermons in Buddhist philosophy, at the Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, through May 6. The robot named Mindar gives a “futuristic vision of the Bodhisattva Kannon also known as the Goddess of Mercy,” according to South China Morning Post. The robot not only chants and teaches, but uses hand gestures and eye … Continue reading This robot wants to teach you Buddhist chants

9 weird and terrifying monsters from Japanese mythology

From animated umbrellas to polite-but-violent turtle-people, Japan’s folklore contains some extremely creative monsters. by Matt Davis Compared to Japan’s menagerie of creatures, Western folklore can feel a little drab. The collection of yōkai—supernatural beasts or spirits—has a staggering amount of variety. Although there are many more creative folkloric creatures, here are nine that caught our attention. Like any culture, Japan has its fair share of folkloric creatures. But to Westerners, whose folklore tends to recycle the same variations on witches, goblins, orcs, and dragons, Japan’s bestiary of creatures can be staggeringly varied. Out of the hundreds of yōkai—or supernatural beings—here’s just nine … Continue reading 9 weird and terrifying monsters from Japanese mythology

Breath of life

A Shinto priest is seen during a ritual to usher in the upcoming New Year at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo on 31 December 2017. Photo by Toru Hanai/Reuters Shinto is uniquely Japanese, yet embodies a once-universal animistic religion of wind and fire, gods and animal spirits by Brian Victoria is a senior research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, a recognised independent centre of the University of Oxford. He is also a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen sect and docent for Context Travel in Kyoto. He is the author of Zen at War (2006), Zen War Stories(2003) and the forthcoming Zen … Continue reading Breath of life

Ancient Japanese healing art Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) can work wonders on your blood pressure, new study finds

by: Edsel Cook (Natural News) If you live near a forest and are worried about your blood pressure, you might want to consider taking a walk in the woods. The findings of a Japanese review attribute anti-hypertensive effects to Shinrin-yoku, the ancient practice of “forest bathing.” Forest bathing has recently caught the eye of preventive medicine researchers. Several studies have taken note of the connection between exposure to nature and health outcomes. Others reported that walking through the forest, sitting in it, and/or viewing it from afar have physiological effects on humans. The environs have been observed to lower blood pressure, heart rate, … Continue reading Ancient Japanese healing art Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) can work wonders on your blood pressure, new study finds

The Subjugation of Evil

Fudo Myoo, a wrathful subduer of evil forces in the esoteric Japanese pantheon | David Coleman / Alamy Stock Photo In the esoteric Japanese tradition, subduing the external evils of the world as well as the inner evils of one’s own mind is a central element of practice. A scholar explains why we shouldn’t dismiss it so quickly. By Eric Swanson In the Summer 2005 issue of Tricycle, the eminent scholar of religion Elaine Pagels spoke of how historical study can enrich spiritual life in the present: “Historical study should have the effect of making what is very familiar look different or even in … Continue reading The Subjugation of Evil

7 brilliant Japanese words we need in English

Ever wanted to describe precisely how crummy you feel after a bad haircut? by Matthew Davis English is a phenomenal language, but there are circumstances where words seem to fail us. Often, other languages have already found a solution to expressing the complicated ideas that can’t be succinctly conveyed in English. If you’ve ever wanted to describe the anguish of a bad haircut, the pleasure of walking in the woods, or the satisfaction of finding your life’s purpose, read on. Don’t get me wrong. The English language has some very excellent words. There’s petrichor, the pleasant smell of the first rain … Continue reading 7 brilliant Japanese words we need in English

Why Japan’s hikikomori isolate themselves from others for years

image edited by Fernando Kaskais These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments. by Matthew Davis A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years. This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success. Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues. There’s a particular type of person in Japan. They are about 32 years old, mainly male, and typically come from middle-class families. They avoid social situations. … Continue reading Why Japan’s hikikomori isolate themselves from others for years