Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Long Beach Buddhist Church

    The Reverend Kosai Osada came to the United States in 1950 as a Soto Zen Buddhist missionary. Settling in Long Beach he met with a number of people who had met across sectarian lines at the internment camps during the war. He shared his vision of a “pure” Buddhism beyond sect, and was met with enthusiasm. In 1951 he conducted his first non-sectarian services at the Long Beach Japanese Community Center. By 1957 the congregation was ready to… Read more

Three Zen Teachers Teaching Online

      In case there is no Zen teacher in your area, or if there is but there isn’t a heart alignment, here are three teachers who have web presence that I can recommend. First, Sensei Domyo Burk. She is my dharma niece within the Soto tradition, a successor of the renowned late Zen master Kyogen Carlson. She offers guidance through Zen Studies Podcasts, which can be accessed here. Second, Sensei Konin Cardenas, who studied with the San Francisco Zen… Read more

In the Valley of the Shadow of Death: A Small Zen Meditation That Eventually Gets Around to What Zazen Really Is

    Yesterday we went to the Bowers Museum to see the special exhibition of Frank Hurley’s amazing photographs of the catastrophic 1914 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. I came away with several images burned into my heart, as well as thoughts about a range of issues. One had nothing to do with the photographs. It was a display of Shackleton’s Bible that most riveted my attention. The caption explained that it had been presented to Shckleton by the… Read more

The Goddess of Reason Is Enthroned

        It was on this day, the 10th of November, in 1793, that the revolutionary French Convention proclaimed the investiture of a goddess of reason and a new state sponsored cult designed to replace Catholic Christianity. The deity’s image was installed on the high altar of the once (and future) Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. The goddess and the cult were the brainchild of among others Pierre Gaspard Chaumette, Antoine-Francois Momoro, & Jacques Hebert. Herbet had… Read more

In Memory of Leonard Cohen

    A dear friend passed this on to me. I now pass it on to you… Read more

A Fierce Joy: A Small Zen Reflection on the Work of Angels

      As I was perusing Wikipedia’s calendar of things that happened on this day, the 8th of November, I saw that it is the “Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers of Heaven” within the Orthodox Christian churches. I was caught up with those bodiless powers. And, so, I had to do a little more research. A Synaxis is literally a “gathering together,” but is understood as a gathering for liturgical purposes. Within Christian Orthodoxy… Read more

The Intimate Way: Thoughts & Prayers & a Small Zen Meditation on Ends & Means

  In my little corner of the social media universe, particularly on Facebook, pretty much as soon as one of these horrific and now ubiquitous mass shootings happen, many of my friends pretty much immediately begin posting notices mocking those who’ve called for “thoughts and prayers.” That immediate visceral and hostile response is usually in response to some politician whose own immediate response to the horror are those offers of thoughts and prayers, but who has an ugly history of… Read more

My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection

  Here I am at the Oakland airport waiting on my flight home to Long Beach. Yesterday I completed a three-year term on the board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. Now, I’m jumbling through my thoughts and feelings about the experience. I’ve devoted the majority of my life to the Zen project. My heart aligns most closely with Soto Zen Buddhism informed by the koan curriculum adapted from the Hakuin line Takujo system by the great Soto master Daiun Sogaku Harada at… Read more

I Will Never Abandon You: The Zen Priest Hozan Senauke Sings

I can’t date it precisely, but something in the neighborhood of fifty years ago I wandered into the recently launched Berkeley Zendo. Today, I am going to its successor organization the Berkeley Zen Center for my last meeting as a member of the board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. The Berkeley Zen Center is one of those minor centers of the universe, a place where many people have found their hearts. I can’t think of it, either the old… Read more

Enter Will Rogers

      William Penn Adair Rogers, better known to posterity as Will, was born on this day, the 4th of November, 1879 at the Dog Iron Ranch in what was called Indian Territory near Oologah, Oklahoma. His father was a rancher and a Cherokee judge, interestingly also a Confederate veteran. After completing the 10th grade, Will dropped out of school, working for a couple of years at the ranch. Then he and a friend sought their fortune in Argentina…. Read more

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