Guifeng’s Five Styles of Zen, and Mine

Guifeng Zongmi

I was talking with a friend about the mistakes we sometimes make in Zen, and I recalled something on the subject I’d read in the Three Pillars of Zen. When I found it I saw it was actually a reflection on Guifeng Zongmi’s (called Keiho Zenji for Great Master Keiho Shumitsu in the book) classification of five styles of Zen, contained in some lectures by Hakuun Yasutani Roshi. And in fact it isn’t five mistakes in Zen, but rather five approaches to Zen, although each containing subtle errors one ne … [Read more...]

Thinking of King Kong

king_kong_1

And who doesn't, from time to time?It was on this day in 1933 that the film opened at Radio City Music Hall in New York City... … [Read more...]

It’s Dr Seuss Day!

Dr Seuss

The wonderful Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr Seuss, was born on this day in 1904. Cause for celebration all by itself, but also, the National Education Association has designated his birthday as Read Across America day.So, get on it!Read a book.Or, better yet,Help a child read a book.Or, if you can't do that,At leastMake some green eggs & ham... … [Read more...]

HEAVEN & HELL: A Love Story

potluck

HEAVEN AND HELL A Love Story1 March 2015James Ishmael FordFirst Unitarian Church Providence, Rhode IslandTextOne day while walking quietly together, out of the silence the Buddha’s attendant Ananda declared, “Teacher, to have companions and comrades on the great way is so amazing! I have come to realize that friendship is fully half of an authentic spiritual life.” They proceeded along quietly for a while more, before out of that silence the Holy One responded. “No, dear o … [Read more...]

The Spiritual Life

four zen teachers

One day while walking quietly together, out of the silence the Buddha’s attendant Ananda declared, “Teacher, to have companions and comrades on the great way is so amazing! I have come to realize that friendship is fully half of an authentic spiritual life." They proceeded along quietly for a while more, before out of that silence the Holy One responded. “No, dear one. Without companions and comrades, no one can live into the deep, finding the true harmonies of life, and achieve authentic wisdo … [Read more...]

Noticing the Passing of the Espresso Priest

Malcolm Boyd

In the wake of noted actor Leonard Nimoy's death, people may have missed that the Reverend Canon Malcolm Boyd has also died.An Episcopal priest, he first gained public attention in the nineteen sixties as the "espresso priest" named for his participation in San Francisco's poetic scene, frequently giving readings at the Hungry I, and later for his book "Are You Running With Me, Jesus?"He was an activist, particularly focused on the Civil Rights movement. There's a small intersection … [Read more...]

Love Took My Hand

George Herbert

George Herbert, Anglican priest, and Metaphysical poet, died on the first of March in 1633. He was only thirty-nine. Today the Anglican church honors him with a feast. He deserves it.I've been told the Simone Weil had an ecstatic experience on hearing his poem Love. I'm pretty sure it must be true... … [Read more...]

A Brief Meditation on Bob Dylan, Or, Maybe It’s about Cleopatra

Cleopatra

So far I'm finding the aches and pains that accompany aging are more annoying than anything else.And then.I'm trying to decide which is more disconcerting.We get AARP magazine at home. The latest issue just arrived. That it is addressed to my wife, who is three years younger than me. Or, that the cover story features Bob Dylan.I was aware it was coming.But. We all know we're going to die, too.But Bob Dylan on the cover of AARP...Me, I've always been an admirer of the … [Read more...]

A Feast for Frederick Douglass

Frederick_Douglass_c1860s

Once again those lovely Episcopalians have come through. On this day in their liturgical calendar they celebrate the life and work of Frederick Douglass. While I prefer to acknowledge special and holy people on their birthdays the Christian liturgical calendar in all its variations tends to celebrate their lives on the anniversary of their deaths, the time they go to their glory. And I admit as a marker of the totality of their lives it works just fine...Also for Douglass, as there is no … [Read more...]

Oh, my goodness! It’s Fat Tuesday!

mardigras2

It almost slipped by me.One of my favorite not exactly religious holidays, the day before my liturgically minded Christian friends go into their long "fast." (Scare quotes because, hey, its not really a fast, is it?)I don't really know how old this event is, but I suspect it dates from about five minutes after the inauguration of Ash Wednesday...In any case, enjoy, friends.Enjoy... … [Read more...]


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