Joseph S. O'leary

For Joseph S. O'leary's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Preaching Endo's theme of a maternal divinity

Jun 30, 2013

Preaching Endo's theme of a maternal divinity

Endo Shusaku has helped Japanese Christians to assimilate their painful past and has weaned them away from narrow concerns with dogma or sexual guilt to project instead a broad and humane vision of the faith, sensitively attuned to the Japanese context. KIKU’S PRAYER, by ...

May 12, 2013

The boys who built a bridge between Japan and Europe

One of the most sensational events of Japan’s “Christian century” was the European trip of “the four boys,” described some years ago by Michael Cooper in “The Japanese Mission to Europe” (2005). The sight of these gracious princelings in the Catholic courts of Italy, ...

Processing the bitter to a durable, beautiful form

Apr 7, 2013

Processing the bitter to a durable, beautiful form

KICKING THE BLACK MAMBA: Life, Alcohol and Death, by Robert Anthony Welch. Darton, Longman and Todd, 2012, 240 pp., £12.99 (paperback) The late Bob Welch’s many friends will read this heart-rending elegy for his son, Egan, with total absorption. Some in Japan may recall ...

Zen master indulges Japanese sword myth

Mar 24, 2013

Zen master indulges Japanese sword myth

"The one who kills is empty, his sword is empty, and the one who is attacked is empty, too. Thus the one who attacks is not a person. And the sword that strikes is not a sword. For the one who is attacked, it ...

Jan 13, 2013

Americanized Buddhism

ZEN QUESTIONS: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry, by Taigen Dan Leighton. Wisdom Publications, 2011, 312 pp., $17.95 (paperback) These essays and Dharma talks are meant to guide practitioners of Soto Zen meditation. The author is in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki ...

Japanese Buddhist thought and evil forces

Aug 26, 2012

Japanese Buddhist thought and evil forces

The Seven Scrolls Tengu: Evil and the Rhetoric of Legitimacy in Medieval Japanese Buddhism, by Haruko Wakabayashi. University of Hawai’i Press, 2012, 203 pp., $50.00 (hardcover) Residents of Japan will be vaguely aware of the long-nose impish figures known as Tengu, thinking of them ...

Jul 29, 2012

Effect of spiritual force on the post-3/11 crisis

This Precious Life: Buddhist Tsunami Relief and Anti-Nuclear Activism in Post 3/11 Japan, by Jonathan S. Watts. International Buddhist Exchange Center, 2012, 208 pp., $10.00 (paperback) T he response of the Japanese people to the triple catastrophe of March 2011 won global admiration. The ...

Buddhist wisdom and questions of science

Apr 8, 2012

Buddhist wisdom and questions of science

Meditations of a Buddhist Skeptic: A Manifesto for the Mind Sciences and Contemplative Practice, by B. Alan Wallace. Columbia University Press, 2011, 304 pp., $27.95 (hardcover) This book is a stirring attack on the hubris and blind spots of the scientific establishment, combined with ...