Dear Dharma Friends, We seem have come into an age of “zero tolerance” for immigrants, refugees, and for people in our midst perceived as “different” by those who stake out positions of dominance here in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world. As Buddhist practitioners who see the oneness of all beings and our responsibilities to them, we are called to act and write and practice generosity on behalf of those in need. While our… Read more

        At the end of the nineteenth century, with the blessings of the abbots of both Eiheiji and Sojiji, Ouchi Seiran led a committee that produced a summation of Eihei Dogen’s teachings, The Meaning of Practice and Verification, the Shushogi. The Shushogi was meant to be read by the lay public. And it is not without its critics. Some of it, the creative editing of Dogen, for instance, deserves the criticism  It has become something of a classic,… Read more

    It was on this day in 1900 that the Daoist monk Wang Yuanlu, while trying to salvage ancient religious artwork in one of the ruined Caves of the Thousand Buddhas near Dunhuang, stumbled upon a long hidden door. He opened it, and it led into another cave now known as the renowned “Library Cave.” In that Library Cave he found a gigantic archive of documents. The archeologist Aurel Stein who was the first European to see the collection… Read more

      I woke up this morning thinking that the best way to describe my faith stance in this world is as a Zen Buddhist Universalist. I could, with some prodding, even go as simply as a Universalist Buddhist. So, what can that possibly mean? Obviously we need a working definition for both Universalism and for Buddhism. Here’s a definition from a Theravada perspective pulled from Bhante Shravasti Dhammika’s Guide to Buddhism A to Z: Universalism as the term… Read more

      It was on this day, the 22nd of June, in 1959, that the priest Shunryu Suzuki stepped onto American soil for the first time. Now, there are two Suzukis who stand large at the dawn of Zen breaking forth into North American culture. The first is Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, best known as D. T. Suzuki, a scholar, translator, and essayist, whose writings both directly and through the popularizations by his sometime disciple Alan Watts, first introduced many… Read more

    One of my favorite contemporary Zen teachers is the Reverend Gaelyn Setsuan Godwin, abbot of the Houston Zen Center. A Soto priest she is widely respected as a spiritual director and a beloved leader within her community. She has been particularly active in the resistance to pulling immigrant families apart as a naked policy to deter people from crossing the borders illegally. She has issued a statement on what she has been doing. With permission I reprint that… Read more

  No, not Pentecost. Nope, not Easter. And, no, not even Christmas. It was on this day in the year 325 that the first version of the Nicene Creed was promulgated by the First Council at Nicaea (present day Iznik in Turkey). The council had been called by the tyrant Constantine I, who was very concerned that there be one God, one Church, and, of course, one Emperor. And the bishops did as they were told. There would be various… Read more

    (In addition to this statement from Buddhist leaders in North America (updated 19 June, 2018), there is a nearly identical petition open to all Buddhists who wish to join together in speaking a truth to power: the separation of families at the border is wrong. The Buddhist journal Lion’s Roar has a helpful story about the statement.)   As Western Buddhist leaders, we unreservedly condemn the recently imposed policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the US-Mexican… Read more

    The Church of England and the American Episcopal Church both observe today as a festival in honor of Evelyn Underhill, who died on this day in 1941. Underhill was born on the 6th of December, 1875 in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands, in England. She would grow to become a novelist, poet, and most of all a renowned spoksperson for the mystical encounter. The author of many books, no doubt her magnum opus was Mysticism: A Study of… Read more

  Yasunarti Kawabata was born on this day, the 11th of June, 1899. He was the first Japanese national, and the only Zen Buddhist to win the Nobel prize in literature, awarded it in 1968. (Two other Buddhists have been awarded Nobel prizes, both the Peace prize, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and Aung Sahn Suu Kyi. Another Japanese Buddhist, Kobo Abe (Kimifusa Abe) was apparently nominated for the literature prize several times, but never won it before his… Read more

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