That’s Entertainment: My Reviews of the 2017 Best Picture Nominees for the Academy Award

Over the years Jan & I have said we'd love to go the movies more. But, the reality was we never did much. A big part of this was my work life as a Unitarian Universalist parish minister and with the erratic hours that parish ministry meant doing something regularly was difficult. And, we chose to guard the time for our Zen community rather than anything else.And time flows, and things change.Now, in the first year of retirement we have started doing things that we just couldn't put … [Read more...]

Every Day is a Good Day: Zen teacher Mary Gates comments on Case 6 in the Blue Cliff Record

Mary Gates is a past interesting person.She's a psychologist.She's an Episcopal priest.She's a Zen teacher in my lineage.And, oh my, finally we seem to have gotten it right.You want a taste of authentic Zen in a Western flavor? Here you go, Dharma Holder Mary Gates pointing to the great way. … [Read more...]

Leonard Cohen Traveling Light

Thanks to Adam Cohen for this... … [Read more...]

On Dropping the F-Bomb: A Preliminary Report of a Zen Experiment in Small Truths

A bit more than a week ago I declared to everyone on Facebook that I would try to expunge Anglo-Saxon epithets from my vocabulary. While I was thinking in the moment of the range of epithets that we English speakers derive from that ancestral language, I realized pretty quickly that I was actually thinking about one word, what some of my friends like to call the f-bomb.What I really wanted only gradually became clear over the next five days as I failed to make it through twenty-four hours … [Read more...]

What a Man Will Do for a Woman: Or, How to Gird Up Your Loins

Post cards from Long Beach, California #231The storm is raging...And we have the crockpot simmering away with a beef stew for tonight.Of course, one must have biscuits with beef stew. So, I was reviewing the recipe. I don't do biscuits often, well, don't do beef stew often, either, and realized we need milk - something we don't normally have in the house. Half & half and almond "milk" but no milk without the quotes.So, I girded up the old loins, put on a coat I haven't worn in … [Read more...]

James Ishmael Ford’s Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Sermons

As it happens it was on this day in 2005 that a group of college students launched YouTube. For me as with so many of these advances of our computer age that have become ubiquitous, I find it hard to conceive that it was a mere eleven years ago. I was serving at the First Unitarian Society in Newton, Massachusetts, the Boundless Way Zen network was just taking shape, this blog was still not even something I was thinking about, and wouldn't begin for another year. Today, anyone can go there and … [Read more...]

Time to Celebrate! Proclus, Last of the Great Neoplatonic Philosophers is Born

Thanks to an astrological chart we can know when the philosopher Proclus was born. It happens to be today in 412 of our common era, in Byzantium. While Christianity had taken over the business of state, here and there philosophy still could be pursued, and Proclus proved to be the last, and some might even hazard, the greatest of the Neoplatonics.The New World Encyclopedia summarizes for us how "Proclus’ greatest concern was the elevation of the human soul to unity with its divine origins. B … [Read more...]

Recalling the Immortal Chaplains

It was seventy-four years ago, today.Methodist minister George Fox, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Reformed minister Clark Poling, and Catholic priest John Washington were aboard the troop ship SS Dorchester. They were all commissioned first lieutenants, they were all chaplains.At twelve fifty-five a.m. on the 3rd of February, 1943, the Dorchester was torpedoed off the coast of Newfoundland.As the ship began to sink the chaplains helped as many troops and civilians as they could into the … [Read more...]

The British Invade!

It was on this day fifty-two years ago that a British band's single hit number one on the American pop charts. And with that the British invasion can be said to have established its beach head.One can safely say that nothing has been the same, since... … [Read more...]

The World is a Burning Hut: A Zen Meditation

There was an old woman who supported a hermit. For twenty years she always had a girl, sixteen or seventeen years old, take the hermit his food and wait on him. One day she told the girl to give the monk a close hug and ask, “What do you feel just now?”The hermit responded,An old tree on a cold cliff; Midwinter – no warmth.The girl went back and told this to the old woman. The woman said, “For twenty years I’ve supported this vulgar good-for-nothing!” So saying, she threw the monk o … [Read more...]