While I’m not generally inspired by critics of political moderation, I’ve found this an important reflection.No Center, No CentristsBy George Lakofft r u t h o u t Guest ContributorWednesday 15 August 2007″Centrism” is the creation of an inaccurate, self-serving metaphor, and it is time to bury it.There is no left-to-right linear spectrum in the American political life. There are two systems of values and modes of thought – call them progressive and conservative (or nurturant and strict, as I… Read more

It’s been quite a while since there’s been a UU American president. Actually a U, if one squints one can count four Unitarians who’ve occupied the nation’s highest elective office. And if at the same time one is squinting one turns their head to the side, five. The last, however, was William Howard Taft. Which might be why we’ve come up short on the list for a while…But now a Unitarian Universalist has thrown his hat in for the Democratic… Read more

UP UNTIL THE TIME OF YOUR DEATHWhat the Stoics Can Teach Us About a Life of WisdomA Sermon byJames Ishmael Ford12 August 2007First Unitarian SocietyWest Newton, MassachusettsTextYou are composed of three things: body, breath and mind.The first two are yours to the degree that you are responsible for their care;only the third is truly yours.If you do not attach your sense of who you areto your thoughts,to what others say or do,to what you have said or done,to what you… Read more

Saturday evening Jan, auntie & I went to the movies. As we had auntie with us, we were looking for something in the “G” area, but that might entertain us, as well. After a little dithering we picked Hairspray.From its opening scene with Tracy Turnblad’s ebullient “Good Morning Baltimore,” its wickedly funny cameo of John Waters as a flasher and Tracy’s triumphant arrival at school sitting atop a garbage truck, it was obvious this was at the very least going… Read more

Turns out mine is French, as it sez below…Your Inner European is French!Smart and sophisticated.You have the best of everything – at least, *you* think so.Who’s Your Inner European?Thanks to Jamue for the pointer… Read more

In a lovely story about the Atlanta Zen Center’s abbot, Taiun Elliston’s receiving Dharma transmission from Shohaku Okamura Roshi this past month, the writer says there are about eighty Zen masters in North America.As everyone who knows about Zen knows, there are, of course, no Zen masters in all of North America.*Congrats to Elliston Roshi and to the Atlanta Zen community!*My spouse read this and said that not too many of my readers would get the allusion. I said I… Read more

Recently I was reading Yamada Mumon’s Lectures on the Ten Oxherding Pictures. A wonderful book, I commend it to anyone interested in the Zen way. Although, actually, this entry is in fact a pointer to a bouquet of brief, but essential Zen texts. All this inspired by a mention in the preface to Yamada Mumon’s book how in Japanese (Rinzai) Zen the “Oxherding Pictures” are collected with three other brief texts as the Zenshu Shiburoku, “The Four Texts of the… Read more

The Satipatthana Sutta is a foundational text for those who practice meditation within any Buddhist tradition. Zen practitioners can easily discern the origins of our practices within its words. The following text is translated by Jason Siff from the shorter of the two versions available. It is edited to remove repeated material and one passage is shifted from its original position as is explained in his introduction to his translation. Among the many translations currently available I found this version… Read more

When I arrived at Meadville Lombard for my stint as minister-in-residence last year I was quite anxious when I learned that my apartment on campus was at the top of a three-storey building. Really nice apartment. Really nice. The problem was my back wouldn’t allow me to carry my luggage (and I’m what they used to call a steamer-trunk traveller). I expressed my anxiety to the harried person sitting at the desk when someone standing nearby said, “Don’t worry, I’ll… Read more

I have friends who suggest anything they really like doing is a meditation. When they’re not just being cute or ironic the principal they seem to rely on for this assertion is that such things as knitting, bowling, cooking, all involve concentration and at best, perhaps, an achieving of a sense of “oneness” with the object of their concentration. I have little argument with such an observation and indeed many of the so-called Zen arts such as tea ceremony and… Read more

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