The Crush of History: Or, A Small Meditation Walking Through a Museum and Seeing My Life.

Yesterday Jan & I were in San Francisco for a wedding. The event was scheduled to take place in the Shakespeare garden in Golden Gate park. We decided to arrive in the mid morning and wander around the renowned de Young museum. And we did. However, my fantasy of exploring their famous Asian arts collection was dashed when we arrived and learned that twenty-two years ago the collection was moved downtown to the Civic Center. Instead the major featured exhibition... Read more

Zen Funerals, Rinzai Style: Reflections on the Rinzai-shu Naito

Zen Funerals, Rinzai Style Reflections on the Rinzai-shu Naito Glenn Taylor Webb (What follows is the beginning of a partial translation of the Rinzai-shu Naito and a commentary on the text. The project is a work in progress, and I will be be publishing the parts as they become available. Glenn Taylor Webb is one of the few Obaku/Rinzai trained Zen priests living in the United States. He was ordained by Miyauchi Kanko Roshi in 1970. He taught Japanese history and culture at... Read more

Victor Sogen Hori on Koan Introspection

“(K)õan practice is first and foremost a religious practice, undertaken primarily not in order to solve a riddle, not to perfect the spontaneous performance of some skill, not to learn a new form of linguistic expression, not to play cultural politics, and not to carry on scholarship. Such ingredients may certainly be involved, but they are always subservient to the traditional Buddhist goals of awakened wisdom and selfless compassion.” Victor Sogen Hori, Zen Sand In my view the scholar and Zen... Read more

Hakuin’s Song of Zazen: Three Translations of the Zazen Wasan

Hakuin’s Song of Zazen The Zazen Wasan Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768) was one of Japan’s gifts to our world. The reviver of a moribund Rinzai Zen community, the reforms associated with his name created the modern curricular koan system used in both the Japanese Rinzai community and the Soto reformed tradition of koan introspection restored by Daiun Sogaku Harada. My own spiritual life has been founded within Master Harada’s restoration of this discipline. Here with this poem we get a taste of... Read more

Reinhold Niebuhr’s Uncomfortable Challenge: A Zen Buddhist Reflection

The attached image appeared in my Facebook feed yesterday. I captured it and then googled “Reinhold Niebuhr” and “Barack Obama.” That produced almost 29,000 hits. The first google page led off with a New York Times article titled “Obama the Theologian.” It dated from 2015. The next up was from 2010 when CNN ran an article titled “How Obama’s favorite theologian shaped his first year in office.” The upshot is that, yes, the former president was pretty deep into Niebuhr. And,... Read more

Holmes Book Company and the Beginnings of My Reading Life

    I’m not sure. It was either 1966 or 1967. Considering all the dismal even dire possi­bilities facing a High School drop out, I was beyond fortunate to land that job at Holmes Book Company in Oakland. It was the last standing of a three-store chain that dated back to the end of the nineteenth century. The main store, that last standing, was a big old three story building downtown; at the time I knew it beginning to go ramshackle. I... Read more

Growing Up Television: My Nineteen Fifties Childhood

I was born in 1948. I am the first wave of the television generation. People just a little older grew up with radio. By which I mean two or three years. And, depending on where they lived, a few years younger than me. But for me, it was that, in those days, tiny screen. What does it mean? Oh, who knows? People will be speculating about how mass media has become a part of our culture and how it has... Read more

Announcing a Day Long Zen Meditation Retreat in Orange County on the 19th of August

  A Zen Retreat in Orange County Join us for a Day-long Zen Meditation Intensive 19 August, 2017 led by James Ishmael Ford, Osho & Gesshin Greenwood, Osho This event is sponsored by our Boundless Way Zen West community & the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church. This meditation retreat consists almost entirely of zazen in twenty-five minute sessions broken with five to seven minute kinhin (slow follow-the-leader walking meditation). There will be a liturgy in the morning. There will be a dharma talk in the afternoon.... Read more

The World in a Blade of Grass: Reflecting on a Zen Koan

The World in a Blade of Grass: Case 4, Book of Serenity A Reflection James Myoun Ford, Osho Boundless Way Zen West Once upon a time the World Honored One was walking with gods and devas and humans, when he paused. He pointed to the ground and said, “this is a suitable site to build a temple.” The god Indra then plucked a blade of grass from nearby, and stuck it into the ground at the spot where the Buddha... Read more

Nebuchadnezzar II Takes Jerusalem & With That Sets a Magical Stage

According to those good people at Wikipedia, following an eighteen month siege, it was on this day in the year 597 before our common era that Nebuchadnezzar II’s army breached the defenses of Jerusalem. As this was in fact a revolt against him and a previously established “alliance” in a much larger conflict between the Chaldean or sometimes named Neo-Babylonian empire and Egypt, this time the king took drastic actions. Two things. First, the Nebuchadnezzar Chronicles give us dates that are probably accurate.... Read more