Recalling the Zen of Master Seungsahn

Regular readers of my Monkey Mind blog probably know the streams of Zen within which I practice derive through Japan. What people who do not practice Zen may not understand is how different the styles of Zen can be based a great deal upon what nations within which they took their shape. Nonetheless Japanese Zen is Zen, Korean Seon is Zen, Chinese Chan is Zen. Actually we're all Chan, as that's the ultimate source for our school.This is one reason, among many, why I am so fascinated with the … [Read more...]

The Day Daniel Defoe Got His Justice

I hope you know that Daniel Defoe was much more than the author of one of the formative novels of the English language.Okay first and this is a bit of an aside. But, it is my blog. Me, I'm one of those who like to find co-religionists when I can. (For me that means a couple of things. Buddhist and Zen Buddhist. And, Unitarian. Okay, and Universalist) While he was a Presbyterian, this was in a time when the Unitarians had not yet institutionally differentiated from that body (in England, in … [Read more...]

Thinking of Marianne Ihlen & Leonard Cohen

About a week ago Marianne Ihlen was diagnosed with leukemia, and died on Thursday. She is believed to be about eighty or eighty-one.She and Leonard Cohen had a long-time romance, and she inspired several of his songs, most famously So Long, Marianne.Here she and Leonard Cohen talk about their lives together.And, of course, there is that particular song. The deep emotional quality of this version makes it worth being the one to share today, despite technical difficulties...And … [Read more...]

I Used to be Really Important: A Zen Meditation

I've spent this past week at the Russell Lockwood Religious Leadership School, a program to help cultivate lay leadership within Unitarian Universalist congregations. Actually it is open to lay and professional, and of the thirty-two enrollees, three were clergy. I found it an exhilarating experience. If on the exhausting side.While I was there on faculty, the commitment was for all of us to attend the full program. So, I both witnessed the program and experienced it with very little … [Read more...]

Once it Tastes Blood, Madam Guillotine Always Wants More

As it happens it was on this day in 1794 that Maximillien Robespierre fed the guillotine. Apparently that taste for blood once tasted is never sated. Well, not until there's no one left... … [Read more...]

And Since the Whole Thing’s Imagined Anyhow

Here at the Russell Lockwood Leadership School, my old and dear friend the wise Reverend Jan Christian just read us a poem. You might want to hear it, as well...St Kevin and the Blackbirdby Seamus HeaneyAnd then there was St Kevin and the blackbird. The saint is kneeling, arms stretched out, inside His cell, but the cell is narrow, soOne turned-up palm is out the window, stiff As a crossbeam, when a blackbird lands And lays in it and settles down to nest.Kevin feels the … [Read more...]

The Day the Holy Spirit Came to the Unitarian Universalists

I've told this story a couple of times. And, it has come to have a bit of a life of its own. I've run across it reprinted mostly citing my authorship here and there over the years. This week I'm at the Russell Lockwood Unitarian Universalist Leadership School, helping out on faculty. I repeated it near the conclusion of my section on UU history. The response reminded me it might be time to share it again.So, here you go...On June 25, 1984, Unitarian Universalists from across the United … [Read more...]

john a powell on the Human Journey

At one of the workshops at the Unitarian Universalist Russell Lockwood Leadership School, where I am right now serving among the faculty, the Reverend Jan Christian cited something from an interview with john a powell (he prefers to use the lower case for his name) conducted by Krista Tippett.The interview concludes with Professor powell telling a story. Jan read that anecdote to us. Now I find I can't shake it. So, I rummaged around the web, found it, and, well, here it is.I went to … [Read more...]

Jah! Rastafari! A Song of Redemption

As anyone vaguely familiar with this blog is aware of, I am fascinated with religions. Love most all of 'em. And I particularly adore the minority faiths. Well, many of them.So, here we go. Another moment to celebrate Jamaica's gift to the world. 'Tis the Emperor Haile Selassie's birthday. He was born one hundred and twenty-four years ago. While not the founder, in fact he remained a Monophysite Orthodox Christian to the end, best anyone knows. And, I would add, another religion high on my … [Read more...]

I Am Your Voice. I Alone Can Fix This. Sure Looks Like Someone is Running for Dictator

I understand Mr Trump's acceptance speech was well received, at least according to the over night polls.I had a different experience.The text of Mr Trump's speech is resplendent with references to how he will fix things. He, Donald Trump, personally. He's John Wayne. He's Jim Stewart. He's the man on the white horse. He's not running to be president. He's running to be our dictator.He promises, give him the job, and he will do the job. That job is murky, mud dark. It has something … [Read more...]


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