I've been thinking a lot of late about meaning and purpose.The problem for me in much of revealed religion is how a cosmic plan is laid out that puts everything into place. The reason that its a problem is that these plans don't seem to map with the reality I witness every day....After many, many years on the sacred way for me meaning and purpose wasn't found in a story, although many stories pointed to that meaning and purpose.Rather what I've found is all the terrible things, all the lovely … [Read more...]

How the Narrow Encompasses

On one of the listservs to which I subscribe there has been some discussion of Ryokan's lovely poem, which, in Abe & Haskel's translation goesIf my arms draped in these black robesWere only wide enoughHow gladly would I shelter in themAll the people of this floating worldSomehow for me this verse sparked a recollection of Emily DickinsonI dwell in Possibility -A fairer house than Prose -More numerous of Windows -Superior - for Doors -Of chambers as the Cedars -Impregnable of Eye -And for an … [Read more...]

New Movie About Dogen Zenji

How absolutely exciting! A movie about the great Eihei Dogen (think sort of a Buddhist combination of a thiner Thomas Aquinas & John of the Cross with just a dash of Thomas Cranmer without the spouse), founder of Soto Zen in Japan. Can't wait for those panoramic scenes of him sitting facing a wall...I really am stoked & want to see this one.Story of Zen founder premieres at WMU March 16, 2009 KALAMAZOO--In one of its first screenings in the United States, the newly released Japanese film … [Read more...]

Norooz & the Rites of Spring

The Vernal Equinox is also Norooz (or Norouz) the "Persian New Year," a celebration rooted in the Zoroastrian tradition. And Zoroastrianism, even its homeopathic impression on a contemporary culture, is just very interesting... I love the goldfish. I can't figure out why the images of what appear to be African people, and maybe don't want to know, although they don't appear to be meant as offensive...If you have time this is a very good survey even if it doesn't explain the goldfish or the … [Read more...]

I Still Live: Edgar Rice Burroughs & the Imagination of Striving

Edgar Rice Burroughs died on this day in 1950. I was two years old.A decade later, or close to it, a friend and I were rummaging through some boxes of magazines and books looking for old copies of my father's stash of Playboys.I've recounted before I how instead found a cache of Ace paperback editions of Edgar Rice Burrough's novels, replete with Frank Frazetta covers. I loved those covers...I'm almost positive my first Burroughs novel was At the Earth's Core.And this is probably the first … [Read more...]

Agnes Discovers the First Step on the Buddhist Way

And it appears she has some Zen friends... … [Read more...]

THE DIVINE LITURGY OF JESUS, CHILD OF MARY & JOSEPH: A Celebration of Communion for Unitarian Universalists

THE DIVINE LITURGY OF JESUS, CHILD OF MARY & JOSEPH A Celebration of Communion for Unitarian UniversalistsPrefaceFor nearly three hundred years it has been the continuous tradition of the First Unitarian Church of Providence to observe several times a year the ancient rite of Communion. A number of rites have been employed over the years. This Unitarian Universalist communion service was compiled and edited by the Reverend James Ishmael Ford, 17th minister of the congregation. The sources … [Read more...]

Happy St Patrick’s Day

As so often is true, thank you, Agnes (don't forget you can enlarge this by clicking on the image...) … [Read more...]

Two New Zen Blogs

I'm pleased to note two new members of the blogsphere, one an old Zen hand and the other one of the leading Zen teachers in the West.My dear friend David Heald has just launched Distant Temple Bell. He is a good thinker and I look forward to following his adventures.As has my friend and teacher John Tarrant who has launched both a blog, Zenosaurus and a webpage. John is one of the most lucid writers on the arcane subject of koan introspection going, a dry wit, and a keen and searching mind. I … [Read more...]

Recalling the Old Sod

Happy St Patrick's Day!Makes me think of my paternal heritage. All four of my great grand parents came from Ireland.Although it turns out a genetic test strongly suggests my paternal gene pool had something to do with Viking visits to the Old Sod well documented in the early part of the ten minute history of Ireland below... … [Read more...]