Bodhi Day

In several East Asian calendars today is the anniversary of the culmination of Gautama Siddhartha’s long search.After years of hard investigation, after sitting down and just being present to what is, he glanced up in the morning sky and witnessed the morning star.Just that.Just this.Many people of the Zen persuasion are sitting retreats that touch upon this day.Our own Boundless Way as part of its adaptation to our Western culture observes our Rohatsu retreat over the second weekend in December.So,… Read more

Random Thoughts on Pearl Harbor and Willa Cather And How This Event and This Person are Joined by a Date in History

Of course this is the sixty-eighth anniversary of the Japanese attack on the American naval base in Pearl Harbor. While it would have happened, almost certainly; this was the event that catapulted Americans into the world war.It would become one of the iconic moments of American history. During my growing up as it was also my parent’s lived memory. So it was never, never forgotten.Time passes…The Japanese are our staunchest allies in Asia. And have been for more than a… Read more

THE DAY BEFORE PEARL HARBOR: A Meditation on the Spirituality of Social Justice

THE DAY BEFORE PEARL HARBOR A Meditation on the Spirituality of Social Justice James Ishmael Ford6 December 2009First Unitarian ChurchProvidence, Rhode IslandText A voice from the dark called out, “The poets must give us imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar imagination of disaster. Peace, not only the absence of war.” But peace, like a poem, is not there ahead of itself, can’t be imagined before it is made, can’t be known except in the words of its making,… Read more

Martin Luther King Sings

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First Unitarian Church in Providence Video Clips

The brilliant Peter Bowden of UU Planet has just produced two clips for our First Unitarian website. Read more

A Jesuit Examines Zen Meditation

I see today is the feast of Francis Xavier, the Jesuit missionary to Japan.While fervently hostile to nonChristian religions, with some blood, if indirectly, on his hands in that regard, I believe he is also the first moderately accurate reporter of Zen writing in a European language.He appears to have actually cultivated a genuine friendship with Abbot Ninshitsu of Fukushoji in Kagoshima. They spent many hours together and talked of many things.Heinrich Dumoulin gives a delightful accounting of Xavier’s inquiry… Read more

My People

Sounds like my crowd… What is confusing is why anyone would want a different gang? Read more

Dreading the Evening

Today as any fan can tell you is the birthday of Rex Stout, and therefore of Nero Wolfe. I got through the tail end of my undergraduate experience in my late thirties, and the beginning of my seminary days thanks in good part to Mr Stout’s tales of Nero Wolfe, Archie and the gang in that brownstone in a timeless New York. Well, the clock worked for everyone but Nero, Archie and associates who from the depression into the nineteen… Read more

Just a Pause to Remember Representative Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm would have been eighty-five today.I think she would have loved last year’s election, particularly the primary, having lots of problems picking her candidate… Read more

ARJUNA’S DILEMMA: A Reflection on Killing, the Spiritual Life and the Quest for Meaning

ARJUNA’S DILEMMAA Reflection on Killing, the Spiritual Life and the Quest for Meaning29 November 2009James Ishmael FordFirst Unitarian ChurchProvidence, Rhode IslandTextKishna, the great Lord of Yoga,revealed to Arjuna his majestic,transcendent, limitless form.With innumerable mouths and eyes,faces too marvelous to stare at,dazzling ornaments, innumerableweapons uplifted, flaming –Crowned with fire, wrappedin pure light, with celestial fragrance,he stood forth as the infiniteGod, composed of all wonders.If a thousand suns were to riseand stand in the noon sky, blazing,such brilliance would be like the… Read more

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