Friday, May 18, 2012

"till all be fulfilled" - Zen Teacher Hakuin

Looking at Tokyo

Zen Teacher Hakuin

One of the most prestigious Zen monks of Japan is Hakuin who lived in the samurai era.
Hakuin Ekaku (1686 - 1768) was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. He revived the Rinzai school from a moribund period of stagnation, refocusing it on its traditionally rigorous training methods integrating meditation and koan practice.
He was also unique as he draw many interesting ink paintings.

One day a samurai came to see Hakuin as he wanted to know how wise famous Hakuin was.  So the samurai asked, "What and where are the paradise and the hell, Sir?"

Hakuin shouted at him, "Aren't you a samurai? Why should a samurai mind the paradise and the hell?  Be a samurai and behave like a samurai.  If you cannot, you are not a real samurai."  Hakuin continued to rail against the samurai without taking it easy on him.

So, the samurai got angry as he realized that Hakuin was having him in derision.  He drew a sword to really cut down the Buddhist priest reviling him so harshly like a demon full of malice.  But, at the moment, Hakuin shouted at him, "It is the hell!"  The samurai stopped his movement.  He saw Hakuin who looked august and grave.  Then the samurai hid the sword and prostrated himself before old priest Hakuin.  And, at the moment, Hakuin said, "It is the paradise!"

Then Hakuin broke into a big smile so majestically. 

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Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"not that I am come to destroy the law" - Islam & Anglo Saxon Christianity

Around the Tokyo Station...

Islam & Anglo Saxon Christianity

It was when Christianity started to diffuse among Anglo Saxon tribes that Islam emerged in the Arabian Peninsula.  Both the incidents occurred around 600.

It was Pope Gregory I that promoted Christianity in Anglo Saxon and Germanic people.   
Pope Gregory I (540 – 604), better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death. Gregory is well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as pope.

Throughout the Middle Ages he was known as "the Father of Christian Worship" because of his exceptional efforts in revising the Roman worship of his day.

He is also known as St. Gregory the Dialogist in Eastern Orthodoxy because of his Dialogues. For this reason, English translations of Orthodox texts will sometimes list him as "Gregory Dialogus". He was the first of the popes to come from a monastic background...

Gregory is credited with re-energizing the Church's missionary work among the non-Christian peoples of northern Europe. He is most famous for sending a mission, often called the Gregorian mission, under Augustine of Canterbury, prior of Saint Andrew's, where he had perhaps succeeded Gregory, to evangelize the pagan Anglo-Saxons of England. The mission was successful, and it was from England that missionaries later set out for the Netherlands and Germany. The preaching of the Catholic faith and the elimination of all deviations from it was a key element in Gregory's worldview, and it constituted one of the major continuing policies of his pontificate.

 The  founder of Islam was not a stranger to Christiainity:
At the age of nine, Muhammad went to Syria with his uncle and had interactions with Christians. One important contact was with the Nestorian monk Bahira in Bosra, modern Syria who foretold to the adolescent Muhammad his future prophetic career.
Waraqah ibn Nawfal was a Nestorian monk,[2] Mecca's priest or preacher according to some sources. 
Meccan period
Waraqah is said to have believed in Muhammad as a prophet, but died as a Christian. After the early Sahaba ("Companions") faced intense persecution, Muhammad sent 90 of his followers to Abyssinia. There the Muslims were received by the Christian king Aṣḥama ibn Abjar. 
Medinian period
In 630 AD Muhammad received a Christian delegation from Najran in Medina. Debate with Christians ensued some days. Finally the Christians asked Muhammad for peace and he accepted. Muhammad extended the hand of friendship towards them, a treaty was signed and both parties left on friendly terms. 
Another Christian delegation this time from Iraq by Jesujab II was heading to Medina but Muhammad died before it arrived.

In other word, Muslims of today and (Anglo Saxon) Americans of today have almost the same traditions in their religion concerning the length of period of time.

But did God and Allah plan to have Muslims and Americans to confront with each other in the early 21st century?  Then Why?

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Mat 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"him that was possessed with the devil" - Laozi

Tokyo Streets...


The most senior ancient philosopher of ancient China is Laozi as he legendarily taught Confucius.
Laozi was a philosopher of ancient China, best known as the author of the Tao Te Ching (often simply referred to as Laozi). His association with the Tao Te Ching has led him to be traditionally considered the founder of philosophical Taoism (pronounced as "Daoism")....  
The earliest reliable reference (circa 100 BCE) to Laozi is found in the Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji) by Chinese historian Sima Qian (ca. 145–86 BCE), which combines a number of stories.

Laozi taught in the following way:

"If a way can be explained why it is the way of man, it cannot be a way."

"Those who have mastered the way of man would guide people without saying anything and doing anything."

"If a political leader does not appoint a clever or smart man to a higher position, people would not be driven by ambition to fight among themselves."

"You have to hide your talent and merit, if any, and behave like ordinary people."

"To live an ideal life, live like water."

"If you have distinguished yourself, you have to retire, which is a right way."

"If you create something, you should not possess it.  If you foster something, you should not control it.  This is an act of profound and exquisite virtue."

It is often pointed to that teaching of Laozi is close to Zen, a school of Buddhism which was originated in China of the 6th century.  Zen was imported to Japan around the 12th century and the Japanese version of Zen was established and flourished in a sense.

Some teachings of Zen are as follows:

"There is the only one moon in the sky, but its reflections can be found everywhere on the surface of water.  The teaching of the Buddha has prevailed in this way."

"Without mire, no beautiful flowers grow."

"Seated mediation is not a way to become the Buddha.  One himself is the Buddha originally and essentially.  Find the Buddha in yourself."

"Do not judge and assess a man.  But see directly his mind.  The mind is a mirror."

"Being of a man is of a temporary nature.  It will disappear someday."

"If you want to understand the essence of Zen, you have to wash and clean a bowl
 after you eat a meal with it."

"It is neither that a flag is moving nor that the wind is moving, but your mind is moving."
A Zen temple around Tokyo...

(to be continued...)

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Mar 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Mar 5:16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine.
Mar 5:17 And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.
Mar 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
Mar 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"the shadow of Peter passing by might" - Japan during Great Depression

 In Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Japan during Great Depression

The Great Depression that started in 1929 in the US, of curse, affected the Empire of Japan.  But how?

1930: Prime Minister Osachi Hamaguchi was shot at by a terrorist in the Tokyo Station.

1931: The Manchurian Incident occurred, where Japanese military units and Chinese army troops exchanged fire, leading to establishment of the Empire of Manchuria (Manchukuo) as a satellite nation of the Empire of Japan.

1932: Former Minister of Finance Jun-no-suke Inoue was shot to death by a terrorist.  Ikuma Dan, the top of the Mistsui conglomerate, was shot to death by a terrorist.

Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai was shot to death by Imperial Naval officers associated with nationalistic terrorists (the May 15 Incident).

1933: The Empire of Japan withdrew from the League of Nations.

1936: A coup was attempted by 1,483 troops of the Imperial Japanese Army led by young officers who tried to forcibly replace top political and economic leaders of the Empire so as to solve political corruption and extreme poverty in rural areas.  They were soon suppressed partly due to anger of the emperor.  They killed Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal of Japan Makoto Saito, Minister of Finance Korekiyo Takahashi, and Inspectorate General of Military Training Jyotaro Watanabe. The insurgents wounded Prime Minister Keisuke Okada and Grand Chamberlain of Japan Kantaro Suzuki. (The February 26 Incident)

1937: The Second Sino-Japanese War started in a border area between the Republic of China and Manchukuo and also around Shanghai.

1940: The Tripartite Pact was concluded between Germany, Italy, and the Empire of Japan.

1941: The US froze assets the Empire of Japan held in the US and imposed trade embargo on export of crude oil and iron to the Empire, requesting withdrawal of Imperial troops from China.  Accordingly, the Imperial Navy attacked the US military bases in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (the Attack on Pearl Harbor). The Empire declared a state of war against the US, the UK, etc.
The February 26 Incident in Tokyo of Snow in 1937
The February 26 Incident in Tokyo of Snow in 1937
The February 26 Incident in Tokyo of Snow in 1937

After the Great Depression started to influence the Empire of Japan, the Imperial Government tried cost reduction against military expenditures.  It meant losing a chance of promotion and  a shrinkage of the scope of their activities for young military officers.  They did not trust the Cabinet formed by civilian politicians elected through a democratic system which was growing in the Japanese society.  And they took note of importance and possibility of Manchuria for their future and expansion.  In Manchuria they could control the Manchurian Government and take major part in its defense.  But the Republic of China, as a successor of  the Qing Dynasty, wanted to take back Manchuria under its sovereignty.  So, the Imperial military had to fight against Chinese troops, if challenged by China, so as to keep Manchukuo under its control no matter how difficult to completely conquer and govern whole China.  And then, Chinese military decisively launched  an attack on Shanghai, an international city that belonged to Western powers and the Empire of Japan rather than to the Republic of China.  So, the Imperial military destroyed the Chinese troops around Shanghai and advanced to Nanjing, the then capital of China.  This movement alarmed the US.  China got support from the US.  The US froze Japanese assets in the US and stopped export of crude oil to the Empire.  And finally, this accidental and inevitable sequence of the incidents led eventually to the Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.  Of course, as the US wanted to join the UK to fight Nazi Germany at the time, it did not hesitate to start war against the Empire of Japan and Nazi Germany which were in alliance.

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Act 5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

"all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years" - Early Sony

Trains Running around Tokyo

Early Sony

There was a small company in Tokyo immediately after WWII.

But it had some remarkable members in its board of directors, stakeholders, and executive advisers.  For example, they included an ex-minister of education, the former Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency, and an ex-chairman of the largest bank of Japan at the time.

The company is now called Sony.  But why could Sony, when it had only 10 or so engineers after WWII, get support from those  persons of great renown?

Sony was first launched by Masaru Ibuka (1908 - 1997) in 1946.  Ibuka was an inventor who got a great prize in an exposition held in Paris in 1930s with an invention he had devised when he was a student of Waseda University.  He had already launched his own company before WWII.  In business with the Imperial Navy of Japan, he came to know Akio Morita (1921 - 1999), a then engineering officer and a future co-founder of Sony.  After WWII, Ibuka started a new company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Industry) with several members.  As this company drew some attention from a newspaper, its activities were reported in the public.  Then, Morita, who was then living in his hometown far from Tokyo after leaving the Navy, read the newspaper to know his old and senior friend Ibuka was doing something interesting in Tokyo.  Morita soon joined Ibuka.     

This is a well-known story of the start of business leading to the foundation of Sony, the name officially adopted in 1958 for Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo.

But why could Sony, when it had only several engineers after WWII, get support from such  persons of great renown as the former Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency whose duty involved daily and direct communications with the emperor?

The mother of Ibuka had a friend since her university days who married a novelist.  As Ibuka lost his father when he was three years old, he in his childhood often went to the house of this novelist called Nomura to spend time.  As Nomura became successful, Ibuka continued to maintain this  association even after he graduated from the university.  And this Novelist had a country villa in Karuizawa, a popular resort area for rich citizens of Tokyo.  And at the next of Nomura's villa was a summer house of  a leader writer of The Asahi Shimbun newspaper named Maeda.  As Tamon Maeda had a daughter, young Ibuka was introduced to her to marry eventually in 1936.

Ibuka's father-in-law Maeda became the minister of education of the Japanese Government in 1945 after WWII.  But Maeda was later expelled from a public position by the General Headquarters led by General MacArthur, the supreme commander of the allied forces, due to his political standpoint during WWII.  Accordingly, Maeda decided to become president of Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo his son-in-law Ibuka established.

However, ex-minister of education Maeda had no experiences in business, so that he consulted his friend Michiji Tajima, a former banker who had once worked for the Bank of Japan and was to serve the emperor as the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency from 1948 to 1953.  Tajima introduced to Maeda an ex-chairman of the largest bank of Japan at the time named Junshiro Mandai.  Further through social connections of Mandai, various influential people in Japan such as former prime minister of Japan Tanzan Ishibashi and future chairman of the Federation of Economic Organizations Taizo Ishisaka joined Sony as an executive or a stakeholder.

Therefore, before Sony became a big name in the industry in Japan as well as in the US, the emerging electronic maker had improbable leaders inside it who were notable members of the Japanese society.  So, it is natural that when executives and managers of Sony started to play an active role in the global market, they never felt timid.  Sony's executive officers were from the beginning so close to the upper society of Japan.  When Sony succeeded, even imperial family members came to look on the company office.  It is said that Emperor Showa knew Sony as a company his former Grand Steward Tajima led, since Tajima became chairman of the board of Sony actually. 

One of episodes that characterized these elite leaders of Sony is that the then chairman of Sony Michiji Tajima, when he was the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency serving the emperor in the Imperial Palace, often used his own money but not public money for dinners and so on with politicians  and people concerned with the imperial house so as to save costs of the Agency and avoid accusation from the public against the imperial house account.  Indeed early Sony was supported by some Japanese elites who had traditional Japanese virtue.
Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation), also known as Totsuko, established in Nihonbashi, Tokyo with start-up capital of 190,000 yen for the research and manufacture of telecommunications and measuring equipment. 
Company head office and factory relocated to Shinagawa, Tokyo.
Successful commercialization and sales launch of Sony's “power megaphone.” 
Completion of first magnetic tape recorder prototype. 
Japan's first magnetite-coated, paper-based recording tape, “Soni-Tape,” launched.
Japan's first magnetic tape recorder, the G-Type, order launched. 
Sendai plant established in Tagajo, near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. (in April 1992 it was renamed Sendai Technology Center.)
Announcement of Japan's first PNP alloy-type transistor and germanium diode. 
Decision made to use SONY logo on Totsuko products.
Totsuko listed on the OTC (over-the-counter) market of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE).
Japan's first transistor radio, the TR-55, launched. 
Company name changed to Sony Corporation.
Sony listed on the TSE. 
Formal announcement of research results leading to the negative-resistance “Esaki Diode” prototype. 
Sony Corporation of America (SONAM) established in the United States.
World's first direct-view portable TV, the TV8-301, launched.
Sony America about 1960

(to be continued...)

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Gen 5:12 And Cainan lived seventy years and begat Mahalaleel:
Gen 5:13 And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:
Gen 5:14 And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.