Enter Raymond Chandler: Master of L.A. Noire

The immortal Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago, on this day, the 23rd of July, in 1888.He spent much of his childhood and youth in England. After passing on going to University, he worked briefly for the Admiralty, then as a journalist for the Daily Express and then the Bristol Western Gazette. Chandler returned to the land of his birth in 1912, ending up in Los Angeles.He fought with the Canadians during the First World War. With the end of the war he returned to L.A.There he … [Read more...]

A Meditation on the Magdalene: Apostle to, and Maybe Even of the Apostles

In pretty much all sacramental Christian churches today, the 22nd of July, is marked out as a feast for Mary Magdalene.Me, I find her pretty much endlessly fascinating. She was arguably the closest of Jesus' various disciples. According to some sources, admittedly mostly at the fringes of the canonical texts, she is considered his true successor.Mary enters the canonical narrative as profoundly troubled. In Luke she is said to have been possessed by seven demons, which Jesus drove out of … [Read more...]

A Small Step for (a) Man

It was on this day, the 21st of July, in 1969, at 2:56 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) the American astronaut Neil Armstrong put his foot on the surface of the moon. And with that he became the first human being to walk on a natural surface other than the Earth.Yesterday, I reflected a little on how this and the day before when the Apollo 11 spacecraft landed touches my own heart and imagination.Wikipedia gives us the details:Although the official NASA flight plan called for a … [Read more...]

Armless, Legless Man: A Zen Reflection on Case Five of the Gateless Gate

Armless, Legless Man A Reflection on Case Five of the Gateless GateGlenn Taylor Webb, OshoTextThe priest Xiangyan (Kyogen) said, “It is as though you were up in a tree, hanging from a branch with your teeth. Your hands and feet can’t touch any branch. Someone appears beneath the tree and asks, ‘What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?’ If you do not answer, you evade your responsibility. If you do answer, you lose your life. What do you do?”Gateless Gate, Case F … [Read more...]

Is Our Destiny in the Stars? A Small, Mostly Zen Meditation

  It was forty-eight years ago on this day in 1969 that Apollo 11 successfully landed on the moon. The next day Neil Armstrong and then Buzz Aldrin would be the first humans to walk on the surface of a natural body other than the Earth. Seven years later on this same day the unmanned Viking 1 successfully landed on the surface of Mars.I love these facts. Me. As a child I would look up to the stars and wonder. These events made my heart jump with dreams of the possible. For … [Read more...]

Enter Max Fleischer. Okay, and with him, Ko-Ko the Clown, Betty Boop, and, Popeye the Sailor

Max Fleischer was born on this day, the 19th of July, in Krakow, in 1883. He would become a cartoonist, animator, film director, actually also an inventor, and a producer.Fleischer began his career at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, moving quickly from errand boy to photographer, and with a few more steps became an illustrator. Over the next few years he would work as an illustrator for various companies, including Popular Science.Starting in 1914 Fleischer together with his brothers Joe and … [Read more...]

I Leave This Old Heart to the World: 3 Poems by the Zen Priest Ryokan

After our Boundless Way Zen West three day zazenkai in Seattle, while on my flight home I was reading a small collection of Sam Hamill's poetry and translations. I was especially taken with three of his renditions of the Soto Zen priest Ryokan's poetry.Alone in this strange machine hurtling through the air down the coast of the North American continent I found them catching my heart, capturing in some ways in my imagination my own life.It occurred to me you might like them, as … [Read more...]

A Poem Composed on the Occasion of My Sixty-ninth Birthday

A poem composed on the occasion of my sixty-ninth birthday I pityanyonewith no regrets Old Zen priest Myoun … [Read more...]

A Meditation While Sitting at the Airport Waiting to Fly Home After a Zen Retreat

As I write this I am sitting at the SeaTac airport awaiting my flight home to Long Beach after a weekend Zen retreat and other things in Woodinville and Seattle.It is also my sixty-ninth birthday.So, perhaps naturally I find my heart and mind wandering over the events of these past few days and with that the larger arc of my life.At the heart of it this weekend was the retreat. Some twenty-three people gathered for a non-residential Zen retreat. It was a bit looser gathering than I … [Read more...]

Second Day of a Commuter Sesshin (Zen Retreat)

A commuter sesshin, Zen retreat, is a strange and wondrous thing. Normatively one would all gather together and stay together. This coming and going thing makes it possible for us. So, all to the good. But, it does set things up a bit differently.I am up in Seattle at the University Unitarian Church about to launch the second of our nine to nine all day sits, as we call it in Zen lingo, the days linked thematically, but as commuters, with a slightly different cast of characters each … [Read more...]