On the Mayflower Compact, the Unitarian Universalist Principles and Purposes and a Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century

On this day in 1620, if you adjust for the change in calendar from Julian to Gregorian, forty-one passengers of the Mayflower, which was at the time anchored in Provincetown Harbor at the end of Cape Cod, signed a compact. This document was brief enough…In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the… Read more

We’re All Related, Part Nine Hundred and Seventy-Two

Alistair Cooke was born on this day in 1908.He was a fixture for part of my life as a fan of Masterpiece Theater. So, it’s nice to note…And, also, we happen to be related.Well, sort of…Cooke died in 2004 and bones from his body were harvested in a criminal conspiracy for resale. At that time my auntie was having oral surgery which required rebuilding part of her jaw. After the surgery we were informed the bone that had been used… Read more

World Toilet Day

Today is World Toilet Day. The video is funny. The subject quite serious… Read more

Real Lost Teachings

The following came as an addenda to a conversation about the latest rehashing of some of the sillier versions of a Lost Teaching’s of Jesus. ‘Tis another reflection from one of my wiser friends, the wild Zen hermit, Uncle Weasel. Now Uncle isn’t a monotheist, much less a Christian, at least I don’t think so, or at least he’s not one or the other any given run of seven days, I’m moderately sure. But he does respect that tradition, knows… Read more

The Frog Jumps

On this day in 1865 Samuel Clemens published his first story, the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County in the New York Saturday Press. This story would become enormously popular and be reprinted in several versions over the years. It would also become the title story for Clemens first book…Makes me think of Basho’s famous poem, here in Allen Ginsberg’s version:The old pondA frog jumped in,Kerplunk!What a kerplunk, what a splash!The waves from which continue and continue to lap many… Read more

A Small Meditation on Letting Go of the Results

So, once again, my old friend Jim Austin was in town. He co-led a workshop at the Cumberland Zen Center on Saturday, stayed on to give a talk at the Brown Medical School on Monday, and today I picked him up at the school’s inn to have lunch together and then to drive him to the airport.As it was early and the airport is only half an hour away, we decided to throw out fates to the winds, drive out… Read more

Dosho Port on Suffering

A good Zen teacher speaking about that which he knows… Read more

Passing Thought on the Perennial Tradition

Today is the birthday of the French mystic and scholar Rene Guenon.He was a leading part of a school of thought, Perennialism, or the Traditionalist School, that while not well known outside the realm of religious studies has had considerable impact on contemporary religious thinking.This school produced some prodigious thinkers, ranging from Frithjof Schoun to Ananda Coomaraswamy to Titus Burkhardt, to Seyyed Hossein Nasir to Huston Smith.The Wikipedia article attempts to summarize Perennialism as defined by Guenon. The French author… Read more

Playing With Koans

If you are interested in koan introspection practice, the Western master John Tarrant is doing some very intriguing things these days. A master of the Harada-Yasutani reform of Hakuin’s koan curriculum, arguably the most subtle and creative of koan teachers in the West, author of Bring Me the Rhinoceros, and my principle teacher, John has of late been playing with public koan work. I don’t see it as a substitute for the traditional forms, nor do I think he does,… Read more

Zen and the Zen of Zen

A rare find with some actual inside Zen humor, and at no extra charge a little real Zen here and there. I enjoyed it, particularly the comparison between Zen and TM (registered trademark), and especially their tip of the hat to the wondrous Leonard Cohen…(Now, a serious warning to readers of this blog who know it is generally G rated: lots and lots of smutty language in this video. Doesn’t appear to have been made for people over thirty…) Read more

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