Travel: Magnificent Ryoan-ji temple and gardens, Kyoto

Ryōan-ji (meaning the Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple located in Kyoto, Japan. The Ryōan-ji garden is considered one of the finest surviving examples of Japanese Zen temple garden design generally featuring distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth pebbles arranged in immaculate linear patterns, designed to facilitateContinue reading “Travel: Magnificent Ryoan-ji temple and gardens, Kyoto”

Emotional First Aid Kit #1

Sometimes the world just wants to break you with all of its chaos. Right now my family is in the eye of the storm, with one of our own absolutely determined to destroy himself with alcohol. Nobody knows what to do and so we are just paddling water at the moment, trying to stay afloat.Continue reading “Emotional First Aid Kit #1”

Book Review: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax @jhalifax

Genre: Non-fiction, spirituality, Zen buddhism, psychology, philosophy. Publisher: Flatiron Books Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 Standing At the Edge is a once in a lifetime kind of book. I don’t say that lightly either. It’s a life-changing and life-affirming book that combines philosophy, Zen Buddhism, psychology, and much more and manages to be bothContinue reading “Book Review: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax @jhalifax”

10 Cool Things I Found on the Internet This Week #22

I hope these things cheer you up or make you smile. They certainly made my day better when I found them. Bulgaria’s Kooky Kukeri Festival Each year, people across Bulgaria gather in Blagoevgrad to partake in the annual Kukeri Festival. Draped in elaborate costumes made from long goat hair, participants dance away the evil throughContinue reading “10 Cool Things I Found on the Internet This Week #22”

Comforting thought: A 10th century Japanese poem about courage

Although the wind Blows terribly here the moonlight also leaks between the roof planks of this ruined house ~ Izumi Shikibu, 10th Century Japanese poet More inspiration Remember that if you wall up your house too well you will stay dry, but you will stay moonless. We should strive to let the world into ourContinue reading “Comforting thought: A 10th century Japanese poem about courage”

Seven Unique and Moving Fictional Books Set in Japan

Japan is a country close to my heart and since I first went there a few years ago, I have become a big fan of Japanese fiction and Asian fiction translated to English. Japanese fiction tends to emphasise the liminal and fantasy aspects hidden at the edges of everyday reality and also exploring the innerContinue reading “Seven Unique and Moving Fictional Books Set in Japan”

Book Review: The Sky Atlas by Edward Brooke Hitching

Edward Brooke Hitching, history-hound, lover of quirky things and writer for the ever-popular and erudite quiz show QI, has written The Sky Atlas. A treasury and history of some of humankind’s most beautiful maps and charts. Yet this book is more than that, it’s a sparkling and glittering array of sky-bound achievements. It’s a visualContinue reading “Book Review: The Sky Atlas by Edward Brooke Hitching”

No news of the affairs of men

In the age of omnipresent news and digital devices dominating our every waking moment, this poem by 18th century Japanese hermit poet Ryokan seems very relevant. No news of the affairs of men. How lovely to be without the news of the world. Whatever the news of the day, Ryokan sure as hell didn’t giveContinue reading “No news of the affairs of men”

The Empty Boat by Chuang Tzu

He who rules men lives in confusion;He who is ruled by men lives in sorrow.Yao therefore desiredNeither to influence othersNor to be influenced by them.The way to get clear of confusionAnd free of sorrowIs to live with TaoIn the land of the great Void. Chuang Tzu (300 B.C.)