Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"The Ides of September are Upon Us"

Technically, the "Ides" is the 15th, and it is March, not September, however . . .  the change of the seasons is here and thus begins a new, or re-newed, spiritual cycle. The long, hot Summer has passed. It seemed like every day the high hovered around 90 degrees. Now rain clouds have returned to the sky and the temps dropped to the 70s.  Soon (Sept 21) the deer hunters will put away their rifles, and on Cobb Mountain we can begin the "Autumn Peak" with the walking meditation called 'Kaihogyo'. This signals the start of the annual practice cycle which includes self-reflection and repentance for any unskilled actions in the past year. The photo shows unnamed monks in the midst of prostrations on Mt Hiei. With each of the 3000 bows they are calling out the name of a Buddha -- 1000 past Buddhas, 1000 present, and 1000 of the future.         

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Remembering the Tohoko Earthquake

Two weeks ago the city of Napa (50 miles away) was hit with a M6.0 earthquake which damaged buildings and injured many people.  I recalled the earthquake in northern Japan 3 years ago 
and tried to imagine the feeling of a magnitude 9.0 quake, which means it was 1000 times as powerful. In the photo below, Tendai priests gathered at that time to say prayers for the 20,000 people lost. Beyond that, the world is still suffering from the nuclear power plant overwhelmed and destroyed by the massive Tsunami.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Contemplating the Pure Land

Contemplating the Land of Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light in the western direction; watching the 300 prayer lanterns we had assembled drift into the sunset. At the request of Kansho-sama, on one of the lanterns I had written the eulogy for the recently deceased Mayor Flores of Saipan a wonderful man.