/Tag: Zen

Early Japanese religion

By |2018-04-18T09:53:58-07:00July 27th, 2017|Japan, Religion|

Ujigami Shinto Shrine (Japan, 1300s AD) The earliest people in Japan probably brought with them ancient religious ideas from Africa. They used red ochre to bury dead people, for example. By the time Japanese writers wrote books describing their religion in the 700s AD (the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki), these early ideas had developed into Shintoism. [...]

Muromachi – Late Medieval Japan

By |2019-04-04T11:28:15-07:00July 27th, 2017|History, Japan|

Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1300s AD) Muromachi family gets power The great families drove out Emperor Do-Gaigo in 1338 AD. Who was the Emperor Do-Gaigo? More Japan articles Then the new shogun was from the Muromachi family. Until about 1400, he and his sons and grandsons fought civil wars. They fought against the emperor's supporters, and against the [...]

Mullah Nasruddin – Islamic Stories

By |2018-04-23T15:30:20-07:00July 25th, 2017|Islam, Literature|

Grapes on a Seljuk period plate Nasruddin lived in the time of the Seljuk Sultans. One day Nasruddin was coming from the vineyard with baskets of grapes on his donkey. The children crowded around Nasruddin. "Give us some grapes!" they cried. "Let us taste them!" Nasruddin picked up a bunch of grapes and pulled one grape - [...]

What is Zen? A branch of Chinese Buddhism

By |2018-10-12T08:23:18-07:00June 7th, 2017|China, Religion|

Zen master Bodhidharma sitting alone Bodhidharma: the first Zen master In Zen Buddhist traditions (but nobody really knows), the first Zen master was a Brahman man called Bodhidharma. According to these stories, Bodhidharma came to China from India about 425 AD. Possibly Bodhidharma was fleeing the Guptan kings. They were Hindus and not Buddhists, so [...]

Medieval Chinese religion – Buddhism comes to China

By |2018-04-18T17:29:31-07:00June 7th, 2017|China, Religion|

The boddhisatva Avalokitesvara, with a thousand arms and a thousand eyes, about 950 AD (Musee Guimet, Paris) Under the Han Dynasty (about 200 BC to 200 AD), scholars working for the emperors tried to find a way to combine Taoism and Confucianism. They believed that the emperors should follow the Tao, or the [...]

Buddhism in China – Medieval Chinese Religion

By |2019-02-24T20:40:10-07:00June 7th, 2017|China, Religion|

Buddhism in China: Buddha from Western China, ca. 450 AD From India to China Buddhism first came to China from India around 500 AD, spreading through Central Asia along the Silk Road. What is Buddhism? Three Kingdoms China What is the Silk Road? All our China articles A Buddhist artist carved this wooden [...]

Chinese Philosophy – Taoism and Confucianism

By |2018-04-18T17:19:17-07:00June 7th, 2017|China, Philosophy|

"Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are one" (Song Dynasty, ca. 1100 AD) The first major philosopher who lived in China was Lao Tzu (if he really existed). He lived about 600 BC, under the Eastern Zhou dynasty. Lao Tzu founded the philosophy of Taoism. Taoism said that people should try to live in harmony with [...]

Zen Koans – Medieval Buddhism in China

By |2018-04-18T09:53:41-07:00June 6th, 2017|History|

Song Dynasty painting (now in Kyoto Museum) In the 1200s AD, under the Song Dynasty, the Chinese Buddhist monk Wumen collected a bunch of Zen koans, or stories, in a book we call The Gateless Gate. These are a few of those stories: Blow Out the Candle Ryutan was Tokusan's Zen teacher. One [...]

Song Dynasty Chinese Art – Medieval China

By |2018-05-03T14:34:27-07:00June 6th, 2017|Art, China|

Fan Kuan, "Traveling amid Streams and Mountains" (National Palace Museum, Taipei) Landscape painting got even better under the Song Dynasty than it had been under the T'ang Dynasty that came before. Artists emphasized the simple lines of the mountains, rivers, and trees, trying to create a feeling with the fewest possible lines. Most [...]