a mountain of pumice

Thursday, May 21, 2015 | |


80.) Set foot on all continents
At fifteen he went to the capital with his uncle. At eighteen, he entered the national university. At the time, the university was designed for producing government officials and its curriculum was based on the traditional Chinese Confucian educational system.

81.) Go to the Parthenon

While in the capital, he was taught by a Buddhist monk named Gonso. He also received instructions for an esoteric Buddhist practice devoted to the Bodhisattva Kokuzo.
In 793, when he was twenty years old, he decided to enter the priesthood. He initially changed his name to Kyokai but later changed it to Nyoku. Finally, when he received full ordination as a priest, he took the name Kukai, which he kept for the remainder of his life.

82.) Celebrate Loi Krathong in Thailand

When he was twenty-four he wrote an essay called "Indications of the Three Teachings" (Sango shiiki), explaining his reasons for entering the priesthood. He told of his dissatisfaction with everyday life and his search for meaning. He described a life of wandering in the mountains, living on wild plants and sleeping where he could with only one thin robe to shelter him in winter. He also told of studying scriptures and practicing esoteric rituals such as the Morning Star Meditation of Kokuzo that he had learned in Kyoto.

83.) Go to the Ghibli Museum

His early Buddhist experience wasn't confined to the mountains. Much of his time he spent studying sutras at temples, but he wrote, "my mind was still not fulfilled. So it was that I beseeched with all my heart to the enlightened Buddhas in all directions and in the past, present and future, that the essence of the ultimate truth of non-duality be revealed to me."

84.) Eat at the Carnegie Deli in New York

As a result of his prayer, he went to Kumedera temple. There, in a small stupa, he discovered a copy of the scripture known as the Dainichi-kyo. Finally he had found a teaching that matched the experiential knowledge he had gained in his mountain meditations:

85.) Eat a hot dog in Chicago
"To be enlightened is simply to understand fully the true nature of your own mind. Understanding fully the true nature of your own mind is equal to understanding everything."
86.) Rent an apartment abroad for an extended period of time

He studied the sutra intensively, but found it difficult to understand. He couldn't find anyone in Japan who could explain certain parts of the sutra to his satisfaction, so he decided to travel to China, where the text had been translated from the original Sanskrit into the classical Chinese form common in Japan. In 804 he received official permission to study abroad.

87.) Volunteer abroad

He traveled to China in company with an official mission that included the Japanese ambassador. Within four months of his arrival at the Chinese capital, he was accepted as a student of the master of esoteric Buddhism, Hui-kuo. During the next eight months, Hui-kuo instructed Kukai in esoteric Buddhist theory and practice and gave him the religious name Henjo Kongo meaning "universally illuminating adamantine one." He then selected this young, thirty-two year old Japanese monk as his successor.

88.) Particpate in the WWOOFing program