Unitarian Jihad and other Miscellaneous Thoughts

Well, it's Friday morning. So, as I do on most Friday mornings, I'm researching and working on the first draft of this coming Sunday's sermon.Sunday is our annual Stewardship campaign Sunday and I'm charged with sharing some reflections that might lead the hearer to reflect on why they might wish to make a gift (substantial preferred) in support of the congregation's mission. It really is a very important if not fully appreciated task in the life of the congregation. I've lifted my sermon title … [Read more...]

Is Britney Spears a Buddha?

As you may know the coolest Buddhist website on the entire web must be Worst Horse. (How would I know a cool Buddhist site, you might ask? Well, I consider that I do a minor proof of the existence of both karma and rebirth as in "you could only know of a cool Buddhist website due to good karma from a previous life as there's obviously no good reason for you to know a cool Buddhist website.")Anyway, despite all the reasons I shouldn't, I know this cool website & visit it frequently.And their … [Read more...]

The Heart Sutra

Is one of the principal documents of the Zen way.To hear it chanted from a Sanskrit text go here.Here's an English text, the Rochester Zen Center translation based upon the work of Roshi Philip Kapleau:The Bodhisattva of compassionfrom the depths of prajna wisdomsaw the emptiness of all five skandhasand sundered the bonds that caused him suffering.Know then:Form here is only emptiness,emptiness only form.Form is no other than emptiness,emptiness no other than form.Feeling, thought, and choice, … [Read more...]

In a moonlit night

I just opened the Spring 2007 issue of UU World, the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist association, and on the front page they featured a poem by the Chan (read Zen) master Chang Chiu-ch'en, something he composed in celebration of his awakening.In a moonlit night on a spring day,the croak of a frogpierces through the whole cosmos and turns it intoa single family!I thought of it in relation to Brian Hines' recent riff on neo-advita at his Church of the Churchless website, which I cited in my … [Read more...]

Good thinking about bad thinking

There's always a new wrinkle on old cons.Our friend at the Church of the Churchless has taken on one of them with good humor, a little kindness, and some grace, I think... … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday Gutenberg Bible

The first printing of the justly renowned Gutenberg Bible began on this day in 1455.While not the oldest printed book (that distinction belongs to an edition of the Buddhist Diamond Sutra published in 868 of our common era), Gutenberg's combined use of movable type and a printing press changed the world. And I, for one, like that change... … [Read more...]

When is Treason the Right Thing?

On this day in 1943, Sophie and Hans Scholland and Christoph Probst, three members of the White Rose, a student organization that opposed the Nazi regime in their country were convicted of treason and later that same day beheaded. Their few compatriats soon joined them in death. Long live the White Rose and all those who bear witness against the oppression of people and for the possibilities of our human condition. … [Read more...]

A journey to Vietnam

One of Jan's and my closest friends in the Unitarian Universalist minister world is Jan Christian, minister of the UU congregation in Ventura, California. Jan (the minister Jan, not the librarian) was on sabbatical this Winter. During this time she and her son Luke traveled to Vietnam to visit the site where Jan's brother was killed in combat all these years ago. She & Luke and a friend put together a multi-media account of that journey. It broke my heart to watch it. Jan & Luke's … [Read more...]

Watts Redux

The other day I received a really interesting note from an old friend responding to my posting about Alan Watts. He wanted to underscore how much he felt he and others of our shared generation owe to Alan Watts.I know it's true for me. His Way of Zen was one of the first books I read on the subject. I went on to read any number of his books. Later as it became apparent his interpretation of Zen was, how best to put it, problematic; like many others who wanted to delve more deeply into the Zen … [Read more...]

More Desert Wisdom

If you're wondering why this spate of postings, I'm sitting at my computer working on Sunday's sermon & unrelated thoughts keep burbling up. Most I consign to thought-heaven, but one or two feel a need to be passed on.I think I mentioned in a much earlier post how recently I stumbled upon an old copy of Thomas Merton's The Wisdom of the Desert that I had profusely annotated when I was much wiser than I currently am. Fortunately, perhaps, that annotated version has once again disappeared … [Read more...]