Feeling Sorry for Myself

'Tis annoying.Tomorrow is one big, big deal in my life. Truthfully one of the bigger...At three in the afternoon I will be installed as the minister of the First Unitarian Church of Providence.This is only the seventeenth time since they gathered together in 1720 that this congregation has installed a minister.There are all sorts of muckety-mucks going to be there. The mayor of Providence is bringing greetings as are a few too many clergy of various sorts. The preacher is one of the two … [Read more...]

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born today in 1812. … [Read more...]

Bob Marley Day

In the Rastafarian faith today, his birthday, is Bob Marley Day. … [Read more...]

Thinking of the Original Junky

Some years ago, well, a bunch of years ago, I was working for Moe Moskowitz at his famous Berkeley bookstore.The author William Burroughs was passing through, pitching some book or other, I no longer recall which. And he was set to do a book signing at Moe's.I was assigned to lay out a flyer. It was a treat of a task, and what to do was obvious. For the text I cut out letters from magazines and newspapers and arranged them together with a grainy photograph of the master, and stuck everything to … [Read more...]

Teaching Credentials in Zen

Sadly, over at Enlightenment Ward we learn two Zen teachers are charging that the other has faked up his credentials.In Zen this is a big deal.I think Zen teachers and Dharma transmission are frequently puffed up way too much. Grand and frankly on occasion magical claims have been made by or on behalf of too many Zen teachers. Lots of noise, smoke and mirrors. And it should be challenged when it is oversold.In my opinion if only because the Zen Dharma is too precious to allow distractions of … [Read more...]

Just Because

Thank you, Posey! … [Read more...]

Across the Universe

Today a year ago, NASA transmitted the Beatles' song Across the Universe toward the north star, Polaris, some 431 light years from our little blue green globe spinning through the great night.If there's anyone there to hear it, I hope they enjoy it... … [Read more...]

Master Sheng-yen Dies

I was quite saddened when a dear friend informed me that the renowned Chan master Sheng-yen died in Taiwan today. He was seventy-nine (eighty by East Asian calculations). Not to be confused with the controversial Tantric teacher Lu Sheng-yen, master Sheng-yen was one of the foremost interpreters of Chan Buddhism to the West. And for those unfamiliar with the term "Chan," the Japanese pronounce the word "Zen." Sheng-yen was a scholar and author as well as spiritual director. Perhaps most … [Read more...]

Liberating Theology

I was looking for something else at Youtube when the video below popped up.As I listened to it, it set a cascade of thoughts and feelings that ran through me like electricity.Christianity, in the words of one of my mentors Joanna Macy, is my natal lineage. I learned to read from a Bible nestled in my grandmother's lap, and the stories, particularly those of Jesus crowd up in my dreams to this day...There are, of course, many Christianities. The one that most appeals to me is the one about the … [Read more...]

Recalling the Four Chaplains

For unknown reasons, over the past month or two on perhaps three occasions I've run across posters, one quite old, commemorating the "four chaplains." Each time they caught me, made me think for just a moment or two about war and peace and how we meet our deaths...On this day in 1943 the American troop transport the Dorchester was sunk by the German submarine the U-223. I don't know how many chaplains were aboard, but I suspect just four. The ones we remember were a rabbi, Alexander Goode, a … [Read more...]