Happy birthday, Gary!

gary lewis

Gary Lewis of Gary Lewis & the Playboys was born on this day in 1945... … [Read more...]

Joshu Sasaki Dies

joshu sasaki

I’ve just learned that Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi died at 4:25 pm, this Sunday, the 27th of July, 2014, at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. He was one hundred and seven years old.Sasaki Roshi was the founder and abbot of Mount Baldy Zen Center as well as head of the Rinzai-ji organization of Zen centers.He was the most credentialed Zen teacher of the many Japanese priests who have come to live and teach in the West. However, his teaching career in the west was followed by whispers a … [Read more...]

A Zen Invitation into the Ring of Fire

francis xavier

According to the good folk at Wikipedia this is the day in 1549 that the Jesuit Francis Xavier's ship arrived in Japan.When I went to the google machine for some details I saw near the top of the page for "Francis" and "Xavier" and "Zen," a link to a video clip that claims the good father actually converted to Zen Buddhism. A sweet fantasy that might appeal both to those within the Zen Buddhist community that always like another fellow traveler, and those within the more traditional forms of … [Read more...]

The Master of Irony Is Released from Prison

O Henry

It was on this day in 1901 that William Sydney Porter was released from prison.A former pharmacist, bank teller, and sometime journalist, it was Porter's work as a bank teller that led to his indictment for embezzlement. He fled to Honduras, returning to America only when he learned his wife whom he had planned on joining him in Central America, was diagnosed with tuberculosis and that she was dying. He returned where we was left free on bail. Porter's wife died in 1897. The following year … [Read more...]

A Sign from the Past, a Sign for the Future

merchant marine

I've been asked to read the manuscript for a new book about the formation of convert Zen in the West and its principal personalities, and, to write an afterword.As I'm reading I found an interesting line about how when Gary Snyder dropped out of Reed College he joined the merchant marine and with that the marine cooks and stewards union. It was 1947. There was a sign in the union hall that announced "No Red-baiting; no queer-baiting; no race-baiting. First offense $100 fine. Second offense, … [Read more...]

What Should We Think About Death? A Humanist Public Service Message Narrated by Stephen Fry

humanist logo

Post by British Humanist Association. … [Read more...]

Mother of Exiles

American poet, Emma Lazarus (1849-1887).

Today marks the one hundred and sixty-fifth birthday of the American poet Emma Lazarus. I've said this before, but I believe it worth repeating. There are a tiny handful of documents that sing to the world our American dream. Thomas Jefferson's preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. Perhaps Henry Thoreau's On Civil Disobedience. Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms section of his 1941 State of the Union speech.And, … [Read more...]

Peace Train


Steven Demetre Georgiou, known for some years as Cat Stevens, and today as Yusuf Islam was born sixty-six years ago, today. … [Read more...]

A Feast for Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, & Harriet

women warriors

In the Lectionary of the American Episcopal Church today is the feast of the agnostic Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Quaker Amelia Bloomer, once a Millerite, later a spiritualist, and later still associated with the Free Thought movement, although she might best be described as an independent Christian seeker Sojourner Truth, and Methodist Harriet Tubman.Among the assigned readings for the observance is the 146th Psalm. I suspect my Anglican friends won't mind my citing a version by the Zen priest … [Read more...]

Recalling Ida B. Wells on Her Birthday

Ida Wells

Among the fun things for me on Facebook is when Friends point me in directions I was previously unaware of. Today my friend, and not just a Facebook "friend," but a real life one, Florence Caplow noted that this Ida B. Wells' birthday.I followed the link...Oh, my...Ida B. Wells was born a slave in Holly Springs, Mississippi, on the 19th of July, 1862. After obtaining his freedom her father was able to further his education and even attend briefly college. He worked as a master … [Read more...]