The Monkey Is Reaching: Zen Master Hakuin Gives Us a Pointer

    The monkey is reaching for the moon in the water. Until death overtakes him he’ll never give up. If he’d let go of the branch and disappear in the deep pool, the whole world would shine with dazzling pureness. Hakuin Ekaku And it this isn’t startlingly clear, here’s a brief comment by Zen teacher Henry Shukman Read more

Choose you this day whom you will serve: The Boston Declaration

      Something over one hundred Christian leaders, bishops, and theologians issued the Boston Declaration on Monday the 20th of November. In an era where so many Christians seem to be apologists for the most shameful things including racism, sexual assault if done by the right people, and social policies that put them at direct odds with the welfare of the poor and disenfranchised, this is a breath of fresh air. I am particularly please four Unitarian Universalist Christian… Read more

angel Kyodo Williams on Zen Buddhism & a Possible Emerging American Zen

      I just stumbled upon this talk by the remarkable Zen priest and teacher angel Kyodo Williams at Youtube. From 2015. Really worth a watch… Read more

Joe Turns Seventy-Five

  Jospeh Robinette Biden, Jr was born on this day, the 20th of November, in 1942. It is worth noting he might be the next president of the United States. And if you doubt people are thinking about it, just go to Youtube to see the ugly things that are already being put up about him. And there are some fun things, as well… And in conclusion, a little peek into a future that would work for me… Read more

Eleven Talks by Zen Teachers on the Heart Sutra, Four Translations of the Text, and some Videos

          I was at a meeting with practitioners of several spiritual traditions where a Muslim asked me what was my text? He assumed there must be something comparable to the Koran or the Bible in either its traditional Jewish form or its expanded Christian version. As a Buddhist of a rational turn I was at a loss as to what to say. In the moment I replied that while there is a voluminous sacred literature within… Read more

Let’s Not Forget Donald Trump’s History of Sexual Misconduct, And, Perhaps, Ask What Should be Done?

          So many sad and terrible things are being revealed about men in public life sexually assaulting women. And with that, of course, questions about our lives writ large. The reality is that this has been going on for, well, probably pretty much forever. But less publicly, and more commonly privately. And never discussed. Just wasn’t done. But, finally, finally, something has happened. A dam has broken open, and a flood of allegations have overtaken us. I… Read more

Cooking a Life: Zen Teacher Dana Velden’s Six Tips With Comments

        I’ve known Dana Velden for something just shy of thirty years. She is a lot of things. Among them she’s a Zen priest. Dana’s also a cook. And she is the author of a book that brings those two things together, delightfully. Do yourself a favor, buy it. And then read it. As I said she’s lots of things. But, most of all Dana is a wise and faithful friend to all who walk the great way. Recently… Read more

Recalling the Trickster Sage Alan Watts

Alan Watts died forty-four years ago on this day, the 16th of November, 1973. Rummaging through my files I see I’ve written on him any number of times. He certainly is an important figure in my life. And, I think he stands as an important figure in the meeting of psychology and Eastern religions, as well as the introduction specifically of Zen to the popular Western imagination. In Zen Master Who? my history of Zen Buddhism come west I describe… Read more

The Day Football Revealed Itself

  According to the Wikipedia article about him Harry Turner “was one of the most popular players on the Canton Professionals, the pre-National Football League version of the Canton Bulldogs who played in the Ohio League. The team’s center, Turner played with the Pros from around 1911…” At the end of the 1914 season, while making a tackle, his back fractured, severing his spinal cord. He lingered briefly, but died on this day, the 15th of November, in 1914. Harry… Read more

Some Thoughts on How to Prepare and Deliver a Zen Dharma Talk

      “So the hymn comes to a close with an unsteady amen, and the organist gestures the choir to sit down. Fresh from breakfast with his wife and children and a quick run through of the Sunday papers, the preacher climbs the steps to the pulpit with his sermon in hand. He hikes his black robe at the knee so he will not trip over it on the way up. His mouth is a little dry. He has… Read more

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