Along with the heat of summer and rainy season, shrines all over Japan host rice-planting ceremonies to pray for a plentiful harvest. Called the Otaue Shinto Service, since ancient times, Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Grand Shrine here south of Osaka hosts the largest ceremony in the nation and has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk … Continue reading Otaue Shinto Rice Planting Ceremony at Sumiyoshi Taisha Shinto Shrine Celebrates Life and Farming
To be admitted to Saihō-ji 西芳寺 Zen Temple in Kyoto and view its famous moss gardens you first have apply for permission months in advance. If accepted, you then pay 3000 ¥ and are required to do sutra copying. Sutra copying was something I had been eager to do when I signed up for this trip with … Continue reading Sutra Copying, Yoga and Zazen in Kyoto
My Japanese keeps getting better and better, as I was able to understand a lot of what was going on during Shoryoe, the Memorial Service for Prince Shotoku at Shitenno-ji Buddhist Temple here in Osaka. Prince Shotoku built the temple in the sixth century. He was the first Buddhist statesman and was the lay founder … Continue reading Japanese Dance, Myth and Renewal During Shoryoe
The awe of experiencing cherry blossoms in Japan during Sakura season is a spiritual experience.
Now I know why I was having dreams of my late sister, mother and father so much recently. It was Obon time in Japan, the Buddhist holiday equivalent of Halloween in the United States or Day of the Dead in Mexico. It's believed that each year during Obon, the spirits of ancestors return to this world … Continue reading Grieving and Healing at the To-Kae Lantern Festival in Nara During Obon
In Japan the swastika is called the manji (卍). It is an ancient symbol of good luck and well-being. The symbol was on maps in Japan to denote Shinto and Buddhist shrines and temples. I remember seeing it on Google maps the first time I visited Japan in November, 2016 and marveled at the impression … Continue reading In Japan, Swastikas Are Symbols of Good Luck and Health, Not Hatred and Nazis
I felt the world re-enchanted and a reconnection to sacred time when I was transported out of mundane time by participating in the Tenjin Matsuri Festival in Osaka July 24-25. A festival that is considered one of the top three festivals in Japan and has been held at the Temmangu Shinto Shrine for over 1,000 years, it allows young and old to cut through the one-dimensional rationality that dominates our consumer society and momentarily restore the sacred connection to the cosmos.