Category Archives: buddhism

This category is about everything Buddha and Buddhism, which teaches that:
1) everything is marked by impermanence, to believe in any permanence is to suffer, and the the ultimate cause of suffering is the rejection of the non-permanent self.
2) Enlightenment (contentment) can be found through the understanding of the true nature of existence (trilaksana) as stated here, and by living in accordance to such an understanding.

Concepts do not pre-exist 

From a diachronic point of view, any concept must come into existence, that is, it must not have existed at some point in the passage of time. 

The argument for God and existence of God supposes and privileges eternity and presence. Theism, then, supposes permanence. This must necessarily extend to atheism. Thus the idea of atheism must have been there from the beginning. 

The theists have therefore pulled wool over your eyes when they argue in this way. The only way out is to argue for finitude, absence and impermanence

Buddha taught us to say goodbye to karma

Karma, as a word, is well established in the English language. But what most people know is that in a way it has taken on a life of its own. Or else it has come to take on a meaning needed for English speakers. What adds to this confusion is that karma from Sanskrit for “action” is used by Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. While they all have similar meanings there are differences, particularly to Buddhism. In Hinduism and Jainism karma is used to work out what you shall be reborn (samsara) as. Good karma leads to rebirth into higher states, and bad karma, obviously, leads to rebirth into lower states. While Buddhism also sees this occurring its ultimate goal is to end rebirth by ending both good and bad karma. In other words, Buddhism sees rebirth as negative, while Hinduism and Jainism does not see rebirth, in anyway, as a negative notion.

Id/superego/ego, Japanese culture, Schopenhauer 

If there is one thing useful that I would have to pick that Freud gave us, it is the idea of id, superego and ego. The id is what you want to do. The superego is what society wants you to do, and the ego is what you do in light of your id and superego. Something is wrong if you let either the id or superego do all the thinking. It is best to take the balance with the ego.

Japanese culture has this built-in to their thinking with the concept of in-group/out-group. We must always think of ourselves not as just mere individuals but also in relation to society.

Or this is similar to Schopenhauer’s idea of will and representation. We are individuals in charge and control of our self (will) to be contrasted to things outside beyond our control (representation).

While abstraction is something we humans are good at it is dangerous to let it take over without a return to the real world or reality. No matter what the world is where we exist and only exist. Any other thought is wrong.

The main religions of Japan – a quick guide

There are, in my opinion, four main groups of religions in Japan. I will go through each below.

Shintoism
Shintoism is what can be considered the indigenous religion of Japan. It is at least 1,300 years old but possibly much older. It describes the power struggles in its early history in the disguise of creation myths of the country. This points to migration from Korea as the possible source of its history but also indication of much an earlier culture. It is generally a religion of animism, where mountains, trees, the sun, machinery, virtually anything has a spirit. It is also a religion which promotes purity and fertility, both for agriculture and sex. Shintoism is seen as one religion but can be thought of as having facets of folk, state and culture. From the 6th century until 19th century Shintoism was synchronised with Buddhism (see below).

Buddhism
Buddhism was introduced into Japan from China in the 6th century. It is a religion which originated in north-eastern India in the 6th century BCE. Buddhism is based on the teachings of the Buddha. Buddha taught it is possible to find happiness by thinking and living correctly. There are different “denominations” with Jodo-based sects being the most predominant and the Zen sects being second most predominant in terms of temple count.

Christianity
Christianity was introduced into Japan in the 16th century when Francis Xavier arrived with Christian converts. Although it makes up a small percentage of followers (around 1% of the population) it is nonetheless prominent within Japanese culture. Most weddings are “Christian” weddings with rites performed by a “priest” (read: ‘foreigner’). Christianity functions thus as marriage officiate, while Shinto functions as life celebrating, and Buddhism for Funerary. All major Christian denominations are represented in Japan.

New religions
Most ‘new religions’ are based upon one of the “traditional” religions – Shintoism, Buddhism and/or Christianity. Some were established after 1868 – when Japan began its modernisation period – but many sprang up after 1945. While some do have real ideological differences to their foundation religion most new religions were created for tax-break purposes.


Below are some “keywords” in each of the religious groupings.

Shintoism – inari, hachiman, susa, Izumo, Ise, fertility, creation myth, purity.

Buddhism – Jodo, Jodo Shin, Shingon, Tendai, Nichiren, Zen, death.

Christianity – Francis Xavier, Jesuit, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, marriage.

New religions – politics, tax-haven, Neo-Shintoism, Neo-Buddhism, Neo-Christianity.

What is karma?

Karma is volitional action caused by intention (cetana). The result of karma is its fruit (karmaphala). Karma are of two types – wholesome (kusala) and unwholesome (akusala). Both of these lead to rebirth (samsara). Wholesome karma leads to a superior rebirth while unwholesome karma leads to an inferior rebirth. 

Rebirth does not necessarily pertain to the rebirth of a lifespan. Every moment is a rebirth so long as it is conditioned by an action from an intention. Rebirth is akin to sustainment or continuity. Actions not stemming from an intention are without karma and therefore without fruit. Karma without fruit is therefore desirable in Buddhism.  

Chains and the Imagined Freedom

Man, everywhere, is in chains (limited and transient as a condition of existence) yet he believes that he is free

Eliminate Racial Discrimination

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The theme this year is racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration. So much in America is towards racial profiling. Hatred had again “ducked under the covers” become hidden from sight. The swing in attitude is knee-jerk-like to Post-Obama America.

Let us remember those who have been targeted in racism, think of why society moves towards incitement, why we have the political and economic migration that is occurring in Europe, Africa and elsewhere.