October 9, 2018

      One of my absolute heroes is the Trappist monk Thomas Merton. He walked the mystery between Christianity and Buddhism in ways that have called to my heart over the many years. He has been a companion, a guide, offering correction and encouragement every step I’ve taken. He counts in my life as central, along with Eihei Dogen, Hakuin Ekaku, the author of the Book of Job, and the Heart Sutra. Possibly my favorite of his books is… Read more

October 8, 2018

    So, today, Jan I took our pretty regular stroll down to the beach in Long Beach. As we walked past the big Life guard central station we were taken aback to see that it was now the headquarters for “Malibu search and rescue.” I’d long had my suspicions about Malibu, but that they had actually invaded us and taken over our beach seemed pretty aggressive. Then we looked down the parking lot and saw the traditional set up… Read more

October 5, 2018

      According to Matthew Ciolek’s interesting Zen Calendar, today, the 5th of October, is celebrated as a festival in honor of Bodhidharma the semi-historical, semi-mythic founder of Chinese Zen, as well as some branches of martial arts, and, let us not forget, the originator of tea in China… I reflected on him last year. Here I repeat and slightly expand my reflection from last year… In the Zen tradition Bodhidharma is the twenty-eighth heir in direct transmission from… Read more

October 4, 2018

        Many years ago I ran across a book describing a visit to Japan sometime before the second world war. I don’t recall a lot about that book. Well, except, for one thing. The writer described encountering a small Buddhist society whose members were following an adaptation of the rule of St Francis. I’ve long since lost the book and have never been able to find anything else about this little band, almost certainly consumed in the… Read more

October 2, 2018

          The Indian spiritual and political leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on this day in 1869 in Porbander, a town in present day Gujarat. Later called Mahatma, or Great Soul, a title bestowed by the poet Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi would become a singular figure on the twentieth century public stage. Of course there’s much that could be said. He has been praised. Wildly. He has been condemned. With just about as much abandon. People have… Read more

October 1, 2018

        Annie Wood was born on this day in 1847. At 20 she married an Anglican priest, Frank Besant. They would have two children together before their marriage collapsed. Apparently spurred on by Annie Besant’s increasing distaste for organized religion and equally increasing devotion to the work of justice. In 1877, as a leader of the National Secular Society, she and a colleague, Charles Bradlaugh were prosecuted for publishing the American physician Charles Knowlton’s Fruits of Philosophy,… Read more

September 30, 2018

  Jalaladin Muhammad Balkhi, the wondrous Jalaladin Rumi was born on this day in 1207. In 2007 he was celebrated as America’s most beloved poet. Probably still is. A theologian and mystic the Mevlevi Sufi Order was founded by his son as a way to convey Rumi’s mystical teachings over the generations. Of course, here in the West he is best known to us as a poet of love and mystery. A small aside. Rumi’s most popular presenter in North… Read more

September 29, 2018

    Today within the Christian liturgical calendar is Michaelmas. Or, and actually my preferred name, today is the Feast of the Saints Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. Or, if you prefer, the shorter while still more accurate version, today is the Feast of the Archangels. An archangel is a chief or principal angel. Angels are supernatural beings who often serve as mediators between the heavenly and earthly realms. It appears angels enter Judaism and later Christianity through the influence… Read more

September 28, 2018

        According to some traditions captured by the good folk at Wikipedia it was on this day, the 28th of September in the year 551 before our common era that Confucius was born. Confucius was born in what today is Qufu in China. His father died when he was three and he was raised by his mother. While the family was in the class situated between commoners and aristocracy, his family was extremely poor. Still, there was… Read more

September 26, 2018

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image… Read more

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