Zen’s Kensho: Anne Sullivan as Zen master, Helen Keller as Zen student

Perhaps you're wondering what Zen's kensho might be? Kensho or satori are the experiences (although some will challenge, and for good reasons, the use of that word experience) of insight into our deepest reality.While perhaps most closely associated with the Zen tradition, if there’s a natural insight into reality, then obviously it is owned by no religion.There are just a ton of stories that illustrate the moment. Here's one.In the early middle of the nineteenth century the bri … [Read more...]

LOVE & MONEY: A Zen Reflection that Starts With a Christian Text

LOVE AND MONEY A Zen Reflection That Starts With a Christian TextJames Myoun Ford Blue Cliff Zen SanghaI stumbled on a version of what follows that I'd written a couple of years ago. Thought I could tighten and tweak and that it might be useful. Especially right now...Paul in his first letter to Timothy asserts, “For the love of money is the root of all evil…”I recall that line being thundered from the pulpits of my childhood. Ours was a poor people’s religion, and our preache … [Read more...]

DREAMING OUR FATHERS Norbert Capek & the Unitarian Universalist Flower Communion

DREAMING OUR FATHERS Norbert Capek and the Unitarian Universalist Flower CommunionJames Ishmael Ford18 June 2017 Unitarian Universalist Church Long Beach, CaliforniaA StoryNorbert Capek was born in Bohemia, in what is today the Czech Republic in 1870. He was raised Catholic. But following a religious exploration he became a Baptist minister. Norbert was a social activist and realizing the governmental authorities had begun to investigate him, he and his wife and their children … [Read more...]

Remembering the Immortal James Weldon Johnson

The immortal James Weldon Johnson was born on this day, the 17th of June, in 1871 in Jacksonville, Florida. I think of him as one of those wonderful examples where genius rises despite astonishing obstacles.Against a backdrop of terrible racism and bigotry he made a life. Johnson was at various times in his remarkable life a poet, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and always, an activist. He was never interested in his success alone.James Weldon Johnson’s writings included the Auto … [Read more...]

(Zen) Buddhism and the Unitarian Universalists

While rummaging around my blog, I stumbled upon this paper I delivered back in 2014. It's about some details of the meeting between Buddhism, really mostly the meeting of Zen Buddhism and Unitarians and Unitarian Universalists. I consider it an important subject. It certainly has been in my life.A MEETING OF THE WATERSA Preliminary Report from the Buddhist and Unitarian Universalist EncounterA Paper Delivered at the Fraters of the Wayside Inn Sudbury, Massachusetts27 January … [Read more...]

Bessie Coleman Earns Her Wings

It was on this day in 1922 that Bessie Coleman received her pilot's license. An American hero, and one we should all know a little more about.Bessie was born on this day, the 26th of January,1892, in Atlanta, Texas. Her parents were illiterate sharecroppers. Facing unimaginable obstacles she strove for excellence.Bessie was able to obtain some university education, but poverty prevented her from finishing. She became interested in flying. She also saw that while no flying school in the … [Read more...]

The Roman Index Goes Away

It was fifty-one years ago today the the Vatican announced it had abolished the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the Index of Prohibited Books. The Index can be traced, at least spiritually to the 9th century and the Decretum Glassianum. And, as the book we know and love since 1559. It would go through twenty editions, the last in 1948.It would come to an end on the 14th of Jun, 1966, when Pope Paul VI abolished publishing an official list of books that the faithful should not read. A fairly … [Read more...]

Radio Dreams, Immigrant Dreams, A Movie for Our Times

The plot of Radio Dreams is simple enough. A Farsi language radio station in San Francisco has made a booking coup, well beyond its normal range. They're bringing the heavy metal band Metallica to jam with Kabul Dreams, an Afghani rock band.The story turns on that single day as the hours extend on and Metallica does not show up.It captures perfectly an immigrant community filled with hopes and constraints, and perhaps living more into the constraints.But, Radio Dreams is also a … [Read more...]

Sir Edwin Arnold and His Light on Buddhism

Edwin Arnold was born on this day, the 10th of June, 1832 at Kent, in England. A graduate of University College, Oxford,  his early promise as a poet won him the 1852 Newdigate prize.Upon graduation Arnold became a schoolmaster. After a few years serving in England he accepted a position as principal at the Government Sanskrit College in Poona, India. Arnold was there for seven years, which included the great mutiny of 1857. He returned to England, working as a journalist for the Daily … [Read more...]

The Blustery, Angry Duck is Born. Happy birthday, Donald!

It was on this day, the 9th of June, in 1934 that Donald Duck made his premiere with the toon the Wise Little Hen.I understand we don't get the more fully developed short tempered duck until later in the year with Orphan's Benefit.Mental Floss offers some tidbits, including the assertion of an alternative birthday. I don't care. I'm sticking with today.I've been unable to find the actual origin, I'm sure it must be a marketing scheme by the Disney cartel, but there is a general … [Read more...]