A life long search for the Dharma


A life long search for the Dharma

by Paul


I have been influenced by Buddhism since childhood. This began when I moved to Yokohama at age 7. My family was not religious, but I would go off on my own to see the local temples, Jizo statues, and take the train to visit the Daibutsu in Kamakura. I did not really know who the Buddha was or what he stood for, but those experiences touched me in a way I did not understand.

This interest did not leave me when we moved back to the states, and by high school became very influenced by Soto Zen. I spent one summer at an American Zen center, but ultimately it turned out to be a disappointment. The zazen practice was rigorous and pure, but I thought something was missing.

It felt sort of cold; there was not much heart. It felt as if some members were so immersed in the wisdom aspect that they felt they had to passively accept everything that they were or happened to them.

Basic self improvement, including the precepts, where hardly addressed. It left me confused since I knew that was not the teaching of Zen or Dogen Zenji. I ended up practicing on my own for many years.

Since then I stumbled upon a Sangha of a different tradition, Tibetan Vajrayana. Some of the concepts are still hard to adjust to, coming from a Zen background, but the Tibetan teachers are accessible and greatly emphasize love and compassion.

I still condsider zazen my primary practice, but I have found the Vajrayana rituals, ceremonies, and purification practices a powerful support. In the end, I have found, all traditions come back to the Four Noble Truths.

Since my heart still lies with Japan, I have become interested in Japanese Vajrayana such as Shingon and Tendai. Finding resources for these in English or centers in the States is far more difficult than finding Tibetan resources.

Does anyone know why that is? Does anyone know of any English resources for Japanese Vajrayana?

Peace and much thanks

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Jul 06, 2011

Shingon and thanks

by: Anonymous

Comment from Hugo, Webmaster:

Thank you so much Paul for your contribution.

It means a lot to people to read other’s experience and to see what brought them to the Dharma.

I, myself, know a little about Shingon. My best friend is a Canadian Shingon monk, ordained at Koya-san, the Shingon headquarter, in Wakayama, Japan.

I know a little through his teaching but even him, got confused. He also started in Zen but discovered Mikkyo and was attracted to it.

I plan to write a few pages on Shingon here but it will demand a lot of work, as, like you said, English resources are hard to come by. I will need to translate some texts.

In the time being, would you mind submitting the temple you go to in the World Buddhist Temple Directory? (You can see the link to the left of this window)

Thank you again!


Jul 06, 2011

Embodying both wisdom and compassion

by: Bita Asakura

Hi Paul

I don’t know exactly the tibetan buddhism you are asking for but I would like to say that true pure land Buddhism is indeed an embodiment of compassion and wisdom.

Compassion without wisdom will be blind and can be harmful.

Wisdom without compassion will be too cold and harsh as you mentioned.

A buddha is always an embodiment of both!

One without the other is always incomplete.

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