Zen Practice at Sojiji

Sojiji temple is a training monastery and one of the two main temples of the Japanese Soto Zen Shu. A nice snapshot... … [Read more...]

We Must Learn to Reawaken

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which … [Read more...]

National Religious Freedom Day

And I didn't make it up. National Religious Freedom Day officially remembers and celebrates the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson (and marked on his tombstone as one of the signal events of his life. Curiously, his presidency isn't mentioned...) and adopted by the Commonwealth of Virginia on January 16th, 1786.I suspect there are two things that keeps our republic juicy. One is freedom of the press. I've heard, although I couldn't find it in a simple google … [Read more...]

Two Kinds of Intelligence

There are two kinds of intelligence: One acquired, as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts from books and from what the teacher says, collecting information from the traditional sciences as well as from the new sciences. With such intelligence you rise in the world. You get ranked ahead or behind others in regard to your competence in retaining information. You stroll with this intelligence in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more marks … [Read more...]

Toward a Deep Conservation

To put it bluntly Edward O. Wilson is one of my heroes. To my mind he looks at the world with a clear eye, but never a jaundiced one. He loves our world and he calls us to look at how we relate to it. Also he's a pretty good writer. One of his really important books, to my mind, is Biophilia. Near the end of it he writes:(A) healthful environment, the warmth of kinship, right-sounding moral strictures, sure-bet economic gain, and a stirring of nostalgia and sentiment are the chief components of … [Read more...]

MY SOUL IS A RIVER

MY SOUL IS A RIVERInterdependence and Social JusticeA Sermon byJames Ishmael Ford13 January 2008First Unitarian SocietyWest Newton, MassachusettsTextWhen you do things from your soul,you feel a river moving in you, a joy.When actions come from another section,the feeling disappears.Don’t let others lead you.They may be blind or, worse, vultures.Reach for the rope of God.And what is that?Putting aside self-will.Because of willfulness people sit in jail,the trapped bird’s wings are tied,fish siz … [Read more...]

By the Rivers of Babylon

There's a story that is the best metaphor I’ve so far found to describe our human condition. Most have heard the first part. The second is less well known, but I believe most important.The first part tells of people in a village beside a river. One day a woman walking along the side of the river sees a baby floating downstream. She dives in and rescues the child. The next day a fisherman sees another baby floating down the river. He rescues it. As I said, I assume you know the story. Soon the v … [Read more...]

Bread and Roses

Recently I was listening to a commentator on the presidential campaign opine how he was glad that John Edwards star appears to be fading as Edwards was in the forefront of those calling for class warfare. Actually this line seems to be fairly common, particularly from the pages of the Wall Street Journal and similar voices. It's applied to those who suggest our society is stacked against ordinary people in favor of the rich. Apparently this has become successful strategy. Attaching the phrase … [Read more...]

Ramblings on Money, Sex, War, Karma

Recently I was asked to read an advance copy of David Loy's forthcoming book Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution and see if I wanted to write a blurb for it. (Funny how one writes a book and in the process become an official expert, considered competent to comment on other books. Makes me wonder what the mystical relationship must be between tautology and feedback loop...) As Loy is one of my heroes, I said, sure. Then I set the book on my bedside stand. Today I'm working on … [Read more...]

William James

I've mentioned this before, but its important to me. Not very long after Jan, auntie & I moved out to Newton, Massachusetts, Jan & I drove out to the Cambridge cemetery with flowers for the James boys, she carrying hers for Henry and me carrying mine for William. It took a while but we found the family site and while gazing on their graves meditated a bit on their gifts to American, Western and I don't think it too much to say, World culture.I'm not really sure why William James is so … [Read more...]


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