Two Cheers for Robert Ingersoll


Writer Kimberly Winston said of Robert Ingersoll, that he "was a Victorian-era rock star who packed theaters with people who traveled hundreds of miles ot hear his leactures against religion." Sometimes called "the Great Agnostic," probably the principal figure in the "Golden Age of Freethought," running through the last quarter of the nineteenth century and well into the second decade of the twentieth.Robert Ingersoll was born on this day in 1833.They say if you want to lose your faith … [Read more...]

Amazing What a Little Harmony Will Do


Lovely scene from an underrated film. … [Read more...]


smokey the bear

Smokey the Bear turned Seventy today. Happy birthday! In honor of the occasion here's Gary Snyder's classic "Smokey the Bear Sutra."SMOKEY THE BEAR SUTRAGary SnyderOnce in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings--even the grasses, to the number of thirteen billion, each one born … [Read more...]

Two Early Buddhist Christian Encounters


I recently posted, once again, Edgar Goodspeed's expose of a fraudulent account of Jesus visiting Tibet. It generated a little heat, mostly, it would appear, from people who weren't particularly interested in reading the professor's examination of a forged text, but who were moderately or strongly exercised at the suggestion at the beginning of the post that Jesus did not spend time in India or Tibet.One pointed to Marcus Borg's delightful "Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings" as if it … [Read more...]

Burning Rubber: Recalling Alice Huyler Ramsey


Alice Taylor Huyler, better known by her married name, although perhaps not as well known as she should be, Alice Huyler Ramsey, completed her drive across America on this day in 1909.A Vassar graduate, a wife and a mother, was the first woman to drive across the United States, going from Manhattan to San Francisco in 59 days. She had three companions, none of whom could drive. … [Read more...]

Jesus in Tibet

Jesus in zazen

Sorry, never happened.It appears that every few years someone or another discovers Jesus spent some time in India and or Tibet before beginning his teachings which we find recounted in various Gospel versions. I wrote on this a few years ago. It seems time to repeat. In fact the primary document addressing those “missing years” before that public ministry is a text originally titled Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men. The editor/translator was a Russian journalist Nicolas Not … [Read more...]

Love is a Burning Thing


For me part of the power of June Carter Cash's Ring of Fire is how it points to the power of love in ways we don't usually get in our popular culture. This song is love as obsession, love that can tear lives apart.I find it paired with Walk the Line, Johnny Cash's attempt to constrain himself for an earlier love.That didn't work.But this one, throwing themselves into the fire, by all appearances worked.I find something of real importance here.Now, I live into a tradition that … [Read more...]

Taking a Look at a Picture as a Spiritual Practice


I was mildly surprised and considerably more pleased to notice that the Episcopal Church, my personal favorite among the many Christian flavors (if it weren't for that pesky expectation to believe in divinities as more than metaphors for human realities, I might well have gone another direction...) has dedicated today to celebrate the lives of three painters, Albrecht Durer, Matthias Grunewald & Lucas Cranach the Elder. Not a one an Anglican. Makes me wonder if there's a feast day for the Buddha … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday, Mr President

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A Postcard From the Future

long beach

Walking around downtown Long Beach I realized this is the future.Edgy. Dangerous.Colorful.Chaotic.A mix of energy and despair, people succeeding and people crushed. And downtown everyone living cheek-by-jowl, the same block with high-end lofts, middle-income condos, and inexpensive apartments. In places trash in the street, and not far away, pocket public gardens.A young woman sporting a brightly colored hijab pushing a baby in a perambulator, a young man with dreads … [Read more...]