Zen’s Dirty Little Secret

thank you, Gahan Wilson! … [Read more...]


A Reporton Lay Dharma Transmission in North American Soto Zen 18 September 2006Prepared byTaitaku Pat PhelanElihu Genmyo SmithJames Myoun Ford, chair(While written in 2006, this study has not had wide distribution. As I feel it is an important reflection on an interesting and compelling aspect of the development of Western Zen, I publish it here...)Rosai Takashima Roshi gave Dharma transmission to Shinkaku Hunt in May, 1953, in Hawai’i. Ernest Shinkaku Hunt appears to be the first North A … [Read more...]

Chinese Bluegrass

As my friend Ed, who sent me this link, said, "Ain't multiculturalism grand?" … [Read more...]

Gutenberg’s Magical Printing Press

Today is by traditional account the date that Johannes Gutenberg's famous Bible was published.Most of us in the West now know he in fact did not first invent movable type, which was developed first in Korea. Although his invention was almost certainly an independent inspiration, and he did invent lead letters and his press was a dramatic innovation. These bare words cannot convey the importance of that innovation. He is justly remembered as the inventor of the complete system that can be called … [Read more...]

CHURNING THE OCEAN: Hindu & Unitarian Univesalist Encounter and Transformation on the Way Toward a New Universalism

CHURNING THE OCEANHindu and Unitarian Universalist Encounter and Transformation on the Way Toward a New UniversalismA Sermon byJames Ishmael Ford22 February 2009First Unitarian ChurchProvidence, Rhode IslandText Every person, every creature, every stone, every place is sacred. Everything is part of God. God is in the Grand Canyon and a Transylvanian village with more horse carts than cars and Disney World. God is atop Mount Everest and in the junkyard outside of town and in the sprawling cattle … [Read more...]

Nation of Cowards

This afternoon I was reading Howard Blow's fascinating Op Ed at the NY Times in response to Attorney General Eric Holder's controversial "nation of cowards" comment.As Blow said, as several other black commentators have said perhaps the words were too confrontational. Among the talking heads of the right this has been easy pickings, allowing the conversation to bubble into a froth of indignation...The problem as Blow and other black intellectual commentators have said, is that while not … [Read more...]

Thinking Peace

Today in 1958 artist Gerald Holtom designed a symbol for the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War. It would become the ubiquitous peace symbol of my generation...I ruminate on this subject a lot. It feels an insurmountable conundrum...On the one hand I have come to feel there are times when violence is justified. These are for self-defense or to defend a weaker party against a stronger one, following the same principal of defense. I know what I am likely to do if it means protecting my … [Read more...]

Jan & James Ford

Jan & James just after signing the book becoming members of the First Unitarian Church of Providence.Thank you, Katy, for the photograph... … [Read more...]

Webster Kitchell

I was visiting one of my favorite blogs when I learned that last week Webster Kitchell had died.At the UUA bookstore there's an unsigned biography that's both good and brief.Webster Lardner Kitchell1931-2009 The Reverend Webster Lardner Kitchell died on February 9, 2009 of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 71. Rev. Kitchell was born in Newburyport, MA, on May 21, 1931, to Francis Robert Kitchell and Jeannette Abbot Kitchell. He was the youngest of four brothers, following … [Read more...]

Buddhist Temple Built Out of One Million Beer Bottles

Click on image to enlarge...Thank you, Clare! … [Read more...]