Thinking about Virginia Tech

"This is our choice in every moment. Do we relate to our circumstances with bitterness or with openness? That is why it can be said that whatever occurs can be regarded as the path and that all things, not just some things, are workable. This teaching is a fearless proclamation of what's possible for ordinary people like you and me." Pema Chodron … [Read more...]

Bush Countdown

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Awareness is like the open sky, and its contents are like clouds - ever changing and never as substantial as they appear.Ezra Bayda with Josh Bartok Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts) … [Read more...]

I’m Like a Friend of Mine

"I'm like a friend of mine who went to visit Chartres Cathedral and started levitating in front of one of the stained-glass windows, until he remembered that he wasn't a mystic and returned to earth." Luis Fernando Verissimo in Borges and the Eternal Orang-Utans … [Read more...]

Goodbye, Kurt. And thanks for everything!

When I was a kid and the world was a very narrow place it was Science Fiction that gave me a hint the world, first might not actually be the way it was being sold to me, and second I had some possibilities of change in my own hands. My first writers were the likes of Robert Heinlein and Issac Asimov. However, when I discovered Kurt Vonnegut, that's when things really got weird. Years later when I learned he was a Unitarian Universalist of the humanist flavor, I thought, but of course.Some worthy … [Read more...]

A Nun to Know

Harumi Setouchi, famed in Japan for her modern Japanese translation of the Tale of Genji, as well as notorious for her erotic life detailed in her novels is now a Tendai Buddhist nun, the Venerable Jakucho Setouchi. For details of her life and career, go here. … [Read more...]

A Unitarian Universalist Easter Story

The following is extracted from a 2001 Easter sermon by the Reverend Michael McGee adapted from a story by Jim Wallace.A group of friends of various religious denominations were seated in fellowship discussing the true meaning of Easter one Sunday when the Baptist said: "I believe we place too much emphasis on chocolate bunnies, colored rabbits and Easter eggs instead of the spiritual aspects, which is the real meaning of Easter. That's what I believe," said the Baptist. "Me too," said the … [Read more...]


What I want to know is simply this:Who rolled away the stone?Did Jesus, reviving from the touch of Judas' kissturn miracle to muscle on his own?Or did some savior of the Savior moce the rockto let life enter from outside -Resurrection as a sort of picking of the lockThat separates the bridegroom from his waiting bride?Perhaps the stone itself got boredwith waiting for a happy ending to the story,And rolled itself away, to set the body it had storedUpon the royal road to new life and eternal … [Read more...]

New Buddhism

Okay, I'm a sucker for critiques of Buddhism, at least for those that resonate with my precious opinions. I'm sure no one who reads my blog falls into this trap. Sadly, however, I do... One of the books I most love in this regard is Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs.Now, I have to add David Brazier's The New Buddhism to the list.Here's a very interesting review by Brian Victoria, who raised a bit of a ruckus with his study of Japanese Zen complicity in the Second World War. And here's … [Read more...]

My Argument With the Four Noble Truths

Recently a friend asked me to provide a summary statement of the Four Noble Truths for a publication. I was immediately reluctant. I thought of the fact that the Four Truths have only in modern times become the normative statement of Buddhist wisdom. I also was concerned with how easily they can be misunderstood. So, after fretting a bit, this is what I provided:The Four Truths (Using Sanskrit terms. Pali is the other major language of sacred texts)1) Dukkha: Human suffering, anguish, angst. It … [Read more...]