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Takahiro Ueda Diary of a Monk

Welcome to our website. For those of you who are visiting our blog for the first time. First of all, please click here.

Nice to meet you. My name is Takahiro Ueda, the administrator of this blog.

This blog began as my attempt to look at various things in my daily life and write words under the motto of "asking myself questions," as the title of the blog suggests.

However, as you may have noticed, it has somehow transformed into a "travel and reading blog. In addition, the number of articles has grown to more than 1,800, and recently we have been receiving more and more comments from people who say, "I don't know what to read.

Therefore, in this article we would like to give you a general guide within our blog.

First of all, let me introduce myself here.Self Introduction PageI have written about my background and other information in the following pages.

And here are the main contents in order.

Buddhism Column + α

In this category, as the title suggests, we post columns and notices about Buddhism. In "Diary of a Buddhist Priest," I introduce my thoughts on daily matters, not limited to Buddhism, as well as recommended books.

In the Buddhist column, I am writing a series of articles on the theme of "Listening to the Words of Buddha". Currently, updating of the Buddhist column has stopped due to the update of the article "Shinran and Dostoevsky," but we hope to resume this column at some point as well.

I also started "Yukio Mishima and Japanese Literature" and "A Study of Disneyland, Land of Dreams" as part of my Buddhist studies, but since they cannot be called Buddhist books, I have classified them in this category.

In addition, the following series of articles will discuss Buddha's life based on my experiences in India. I highly recommend this article because it is full of information that I can see what is happening there.

Buddhist Books Database

.Indian thought, culture and history
.Buddhism in India
.Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Southeast Asia
.Chinese Buddhism, Thought and History
.Japanese Buddhism and its History

As of early June 2023, the update of the "Shinran and Dostoevsky" article has come to a close, and from this point forward, our blog will move on to an update on Buddhism.

This Buddhist book database will introduce recommended books to study the history, culture, and thought of India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan respectively.

We will be updating the site daily and gradually enriching it. We hope you will find it useful.


.Tanzania Edition
.Israel ed.
.Poland (ed.)
.Czech Republic ed.
.Austria (ed.)
.Bosnia and Herzegovina ed.
.Vatican, Italy
.Spain (ed.)
.U.S.A. version
.Cuba Edition

I embarked on a round-the-world trip to 13 countries over 80 days starting at the end of March 2019 with the theme "What is Religion?". The route is Tanzania, Turkey, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy and Vatican, Spain, USA, Cuba.

I have told you more about this trip in the article above, so I won't say more here, but I am documenting the 2019 trip in this category.

You can see the list of categories above, or if you scroll down on the top page of this blog, you will find an image with articles for each country.

Or you can jump to the category page from the sidebar or menu. This can be navigated from any article.

Some of you may be thinking, "You are a monk, but you are not going to India, the birthplace of Buddhism?" But for me, it was an important trip that made me question what religion is all about in the first place.

This travelogue is the basis for "Around the World in Reminiscence," currently serialized in the Hokkaido Shimbun, and "Thinking about Life and Peace: The Countries of the World Where Monks Walked," serialized in nine newspapers throughout Japan.

This is a travelogue from the viewpoint of a Buddhist monk, describing the holy places of religion and the local situation, which are usually difficult to see. It is a travelogue with a different perspective from ordinary travelogues, and we hope you will enjoy it.

Shinran and Dostoevsky/World Literature

I think the most surprising thing to visitors to our blog is the number of articles on "Shinran and Dostoevsky and World Literature". And I think it is precisely here that they are most likely to think, "Ugh. Many of you may have thought, "This looks too difficult... I'm going to leave now...".

But please, everyone, listen to me for a moment.

Shinran and Dostoevsky.

A monk who lived from the late Heian to Kamakura periods, and on the other hand, a great writer representing 19th century Russia.

What if two people who seem to be completely unrelated actually have a significant connection?

As a Jodo Shinshu priest, I have studied the teachings of Shinran Shonin up to now.

And through my round-the-world trip in 2019, I was once again forced to consider the question, "What is religion and what is Buddhism?"

It was then that I met the writer Dostoevsky.

I hope you will read this list of articles in order, as it contains all the information about why I decided to read Dostoevsky in order to study Shinran.

Many of you may be thinking, "What does Shinran or Dostoevsky have to do with living in the modern age?" I think there are many people who think, "What does Shinran or Dostoevsky have to do with living in the modern world? But in fact, it is more than relevant. They are two people who pushed the limits of how we should live our lives and what it means to live in this world. To study them is to question our very lives.

When I say this, you may think, "It looks difficult again....so hard..." Please wait a little longer! LOL!

This blog is not an attempt to discuss difficult philosophical topics. This blog is basically updated with interesting books that I have read.

What does the book say and what is interesting about it? I will talk about what you can see by reading it in the article. In other words, this is exactly an introduction to the book itself. I am not a scholar. I am not an expert in the field, and I cannot say anything about a certain matter as if I know what I am talking about. What I can do is say, "This book was interesting! Please read it! Please read it!

But in fact, this is what the French writer Emile Zola did.

Emile Zola (1840-1902)Wikipedia.

When he worked for a publishing house before becoming a writer, he was an editor, reading numerous books and presenting them in print. Emile Zola is one of the writers I most admire. I hope you will read the following article to find out how I got hooked on Zola. Zola was not only a great writer, but also a great human being.

In this blog, following Zola's lead, I have carefully selected "interesting books" and "great books to read now". Just browsing through the categories is fine. If you find a title or book that interests you even a little bit, please take a look at the article. If you find a title or book that interests you even a little bit, please take a look at the article. If you read the article, you will also be introduced to other books related to that book, so that you can learn more about the subject matter in depth and in breadth. We hope that you will use this blog as a guide for your reading.

Below you will find a list of books that I particularly recommend. The articles cover a variety of genres within this blog, so I recommend that you read this first. I recommend that you read this first. From there, you can browse through the categories that interest you.

We introduce books in a variety of genres, from classical masterpieces such as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Shakespeare to non-fiction books on contemporary history. At first glance, the books may seem disparate, ranging from Vermeer to classical music, but they are all directly connected to the theme of "Shinran and Dostoevsky. Furthermore, from there, they lead to Buddhism, religion, and human beings themselves. In my mind, they are all one and the same, and each exists closely intertwined with the other.

Each book does not exist on its own, but each time you read one, you will see new connections in the world. Each time you read a book, the number of worlds you do not know increases, and I believe that is the charm of reading.

Our Blog's Top Picks! Dostoevsky's Journey

And one of our blog's best recommendations is this one, "Dostoevsky's Travels Trilogy".

.Impressions of Summer as Chronicled in Autumn: A Journey to Paris and Georgia."
.Dostoevsky and His Wife's Fateful Journey: Travels in Western Europe in Madness and Love.
.The Beauty of the Theatre City of Rome: Dostoevsky and Bernini's Pilgrimage"

As I mentioned above, I embarked on a round-the-world trip in 2019.

And in 2022, I traveled to Europe, this time with the theme "Dostoevsky's Journey".

The first of these is "Impressions of the Summer as Written in Autumn: A Journey to Paris and Georgia".

Impressions of Summer as Written in Autumn: A Journey to Paris and Georgia"

For approximately one month from mid-August to mid-September 2022, I have been traveling around Europe, mainly in Georgia.

This trip visited France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Georgia-Armenia.

The main focus of the trip was Georgia and Armenia, countries that are not very familiar to Japanese people, but the experience of experiencing a world that is completely different from Japan was very valuable.

Among them, we especially recommend the following articles. These articles can be enjoyed without prior knowledge, so please feel free to take a look at them.

Dostoevsky and His Wife's Fateful Journey: Travels in Western Europe in Madness and Love.

From early November to late December 2022, I traveled again to Europe.

Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and the Czech Republic.

I visited these countries because they are associated with Dostoevsky, the great Russian writer. Dostoevsky and his wife, Anna, spent four years touring these countries. The main purpose of this trip is for me to follow in his footsteps.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)Wikipedia.

I have been studying for three and a half years, starting in the summer of 2019, on the topic of Shinran and Dostoevsky. And as the culmination of this study, I planned this trip.

And this travelogue is more than just a travelogue. This travelogue is a hybrid of a biography of Dostoevsky. In other words, by reading it, you will learn about Dostoevsky's personality and his tumultuous life.

Dostoevsky is famous for his profound novels such as "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov. You probably have an image of Dostoevsky as a "difficult, gloomy, and heavy novelist. In this travelogue, however, we will introduce to you a completely different image of Dostoevsky.

Dostoevsky, a hopeless man who kept making his wife cry because of his gambling addiction.

Dostoevsky, a loving wife.

Dostoevsky with his children.

Dostoevsky overcame his gambling addiction by getting the best partner.

Dostoevsky, who is good at coffee and grinding it.

A variety of Dostoevsky will be presented in this travelogue.

I love, love, love the dramatic journey of Dostoevsky and his wife Anna.

In fact, the main focus of this travelogue is not so much on Dostoevsky as on his wife, Mrs. Anna. I will talk about that in the article above, so please refer to the first article above first.

I tried to write this travelogue so that even those who know nothing about Dostoevsky can enjoy it. I tried to write this travelogue in such a way that even those who know nothing about Dostoevsky will be surprised to learn that the famous Dostoevsky was such a man! I hope you will be surprised to know who the famous Dostoevsky was.

And this travelogue was modeled after Hinomadoka's "Composer's Story Series".

In addition, the author, Ms. Madoka Hino, has interviewed the people who lived in the area and has incorporated their experiences into the work. This is truly a wonderful biography. I also love this series. Following in Madoka Hino's footsteps, I visited the places associated with Dostoevsky and wrote this travelogue while thinking about his footsteps.

Dostoevsky and His Wife's Fateful Journey: Travels in Western Europe in Madness and Love" is an article that I recommend to everyone in this blog.

Below is a recommended article that discusses the local situation and an episode about Dostoevsky.

If you are interested in reading these articles, we strongly recommend that you read them in order from the beginning. This travelogue is truly linked to the story of Mr. and Mrs. Dostoevsky. Their tumultuous lives are far more interesting than the average novel. We hope you will read it from the beginning.

The Beauty of the Theatre City of Rome: Dostoevsky and Bernini's Pilgrimage"

As I mentioned above, I traveled in Europe from early November to December under the title "Dostoevsky's Journey. And although I did not mention it in my travelogue, I did in fact visit Rome during my trip.

I am one of those who are completely fascinated by the charms of Rome. In this travelogue, I would like to share with you the charms of Rome and its wonderful art.

If the words "Dostoevsky and Rome" sound stilted, don't worry, it's not at all. This is a travelogue of my love for Rome, having fallen in love with its beauty. I hope you will feel free to read it.

Below are a few articles that we particularly recommend. Of course, you will enjoy this travelogue more if you read them in order, but we have created the articles so that you can enjoy the contents of single articles alone. Please feel free to take a look. We will talk about contents that go one step beyond mere sightseeing guide-like explanations in these articles. What? Rome is such an interesting place! I think you will be surprised.

Rome is incredibly profound. The more you know about it, the more interesting it becomes. It's very interesting. I am completely captivated by Rome. I hope you will enjoy the charm of Rome as much as I do.


It will soon be four years since I started studying Dostoevsky. The culmination of my studies was the above travelogue.

For me personally, I will now plunge into the study of Buddhism. Finally, I have returned to the mainland. I will be studying the history, thought, and culture of Buddhism along the route it was introduced from India, Asia, China, and Japan. My ultimate goal is to write a novel biography of Shinran Shonin. My research is now entering a new phase, and I have no regrets about my nearly four years of research on "Shinran and Dostoevsky.

The number of articles in the blog has become enormous, but I am sure it will be useful to all of you.

We hope you will feel free to take a peek and say, "Oh, I didn't know there were books like this.

We look forward to continuing our relationship. We look forward to working with you in the future.

Takahiro Ueda, Kinsetsuji Temple, Hakodate

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