Hello everyone! We only have one more full day on campus before our departure to Kyoto. I spent the weekend delving into my research and I hope to fill in whatever gaps I can between today and tomorrow. My focus in the Zen and Zen Priests research has been on the transmission of Zen on a global scale, investigating the reasons why Zen practice has become a prevalent phenomenon in the last fifty years, particularly in the United States. I also have been investigating Zen priesthood – what it means to be a priest and how this role may differ across times and cultures. I was able to find much detailed information on the history of the transfer of Zen across cultures, which I have provided in Breelyn’s and my update of the Zen and Zen Priests page. My hope is to learn more about modern Japanese Zen priesthood before we depart for Kyoto, but I also think that I will be able to learn about this during our interview with Yukei Isobe.
I also plan to finish packing and to start exploring the course readings about Noh theatre and tea ceremony. I have already started the Book of Tea and will finish that today.
After our discussion in class about films we watched over the weekend, I’m also hoping I’ll have time to see The Makioka Sisters. It sounds very detailed and touches on many aspects of Japanese culture and some of the conflicts between tradition and modernity. I had watched Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa and The Zen Mind, which is a documentary about the fundamentals of Zen practice in contemporary Japanese society. I enjoyed both movies and recommend them to anyone looking to watch something thought-provoking.
I’m psyching myself up for the impending jet lag. I will make my next post either on the plane or shortly after we arrive. For now I just have to make sure I do everything I can so that I’ll be ready.