The Karma and Rebirth Debate Within Contemporary Western Buddhism: Some Links to Follow

wheel of rebirth

Way back when he reviewed the Buddhist monk Stephen Batchelor's lovely book "Alone With Others," The Western Buddhist John Blofeld wrote an introduction praising the young monk scholar and his writing. Blofeld went on to say it was unfortunate that Batchelor did not touch upon the critical doctrines of karma and rebirth, but understood there is only so much one can do in one book. He added how he hoped Batchelor would turn to the subject some day. Some years later, after Blofeld's death, … [Read more...]

Happy B’Day, Jerry!

Jerry Allison

Jerry Ivan Allison was born on this day in 1939. He was the drummer for the Crickets and continued as their leader following Buddy Holly's death. A fun factoid, his then namesake and later wife is the namesake for "Peggy Sue." At seventy-six Jerry is the last surviving member of the original band.Long Live Rock 'n Roll... … [Read more...]

Some Good Books on Different Aspects of Buddhism & Zen


I'm working on a book introducing koan introspection. I was considering weaving in a bibliography for people who wanted to go deeper into various aspects that I touched on, but which could profitably be explored at greater depth.I've decided against that. And then found myself with the quandary of what to do with that literary detritus? Well, thank goodness for a blog.Want a pointer to some good books on different aspects of Buddhism & particularly of Zen?Well, here you go. And, … [Read more...]

The Bird Alights

Charlie Parker

Charles Parker, Jr was born on this day in 1920. There are those who say there are two periods of Jazz, before Parker, and after Parker.Have a little time today? Here's something that you might enjoy watching... … [Read more...]

Abba Moses the Black

moses the black

One of my favorite books is the Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton. It recounts some of the teachings of the desert fathers and mothers, Christian monastics in the fourth and fifth centuries within the Egyptian deserts, stories that on occasion recall the sayings and actions of the Chan masters of Medieval China. It was a small sadness to see that Father Merton carefully curated his collection and slightly reworked an account or two to enhance that sense of similarity.Still, worthy … [Read more...]

I Will Never Abandon You


The great Alan Senauke sings some ancient truths to us... … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Elvis Costello

No, the other one. Elvis Costello was born on this day in 1954. … [Read more...]

Jim Ford, and the Briefest on What’s in a Name?

Jim Ford

I was scrolling through Wikipedia's timeline for today when I saw Jim Ford was born today in 1941. Not me, the musician.My father was a black sheep and cut off from his family, and as a result I always notice Fords, and just because of names, James Fords when they pop up. So far none has ever proven to be a relative at least much this side of Adam and Eve. Actually, Jan and I gave each other genetic tests as a Christmas gift some years back and I discovered I'm point of fact in the Anglo … [Read more...]

If Reason Isn’t Going to Save Us, What, If Anything Will?


“It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.” Bertrand RussellYesterday, one of my fellow Patheos bloggers, Connor Wood, over at Science on Religion makes some compelling arguments on why a world run on strictly rational grounds is probably doomed. Compelling, yes, although not completely convincing. Particularly as his assumption seems to be that without some outside force, like, say, a religion with its arbitrary c … [Read more...]

The Bible I find Helpful: Small Confessions


Yesterday I vented a little spleen regarding my negative feelings about the Bible.I noted how it "is filled with wildly disparate perspectives, folk tales, a blending of genuine history and wishful thinking, and contradictory ideas about what a god might be and what God is or is not, as well as head-jerkingly wildly conflicting ethical codes..."All true.And, I went on to say therefore the Bible really isn't all that helpful. But that isn't really so. Yes, I think anyone who … [Read more...]