I’m just beginning to get my bearings, at least within a three or four block radius of campus. I was walking down the street to the coffee shop to settle in and read the Chicago Tribune over a latte when I noticed one of those flyers that are a ubiquitous part of campus life. This one in large bold-faced type screamed Mao: Fairy-Tale Monster? Or, Greatest Liberator of the mid-20th Century? It announced the speaker, a Maoist economist would soon… Read more

Well, here I am! In Chicago!I drove & it took me two & a half days, stopping relatively early each day to rest my back. Not a heck of a lot to report on the drive. The high point probably was listening to some Buddhist tapes, one by Jon Kabat-Zinn and the other by Pema Chodron. I have to say, however, it was pretty country all the way. I spent the first night in a motel in the small town… Read more

Yesterday I finished the review of Isabel Stirling’s new biography Zen Pioneer: The Life & Works of Ruth Fuller Sasaki I promised to Buddhadharma. If they like it it should run in the next issue. The book is well researched, although unfortunately while a substantial bit of work, it also sometimes reads like it was written by a researcher. (Sadly, this is something I fear others will say about Zen Master Who? when it comes out in a month and… Read more

I used to be shy.You made me sing.I used to refuse things at table.Now I shout for more wine.In somber dignity, I used to siton my mat and pray.Now children run throughand make faces at me.Coman Barks comments on his translation, the poem & Rumi: “In China they tell of three laughing Taoist masters, who taught by going into town and standing in the marketplace and laughing. One of them died. People curious as to how the remaining two would… Read more

I recall a couple of years ago when I shaved my head for a Zen retreat where an ordination was going to take place. After the retreat while walking down the hall at the Unitarian Society where I serve, one of the late adolescents did a nicely understated doubletake then said, “Hey, James, you almost look cool.”And that seemed to be the deal on my coolness. Almost, but never quite…Until, that is, I found the Worst Horse. This has to… Read more

My sermon following that terrible day was called Threads of Memory Read more

Jeff Wilson is for me one of the most interesting of the new generation of scholars, raised Unitarian Universalist, explored various schools of Buddhism before settling into a Shin practice and affiliation he is now finishing his doctorate in Religious Studies with an emphasis on Buddhism in America. As such I find him an intriguing thinker about how liberal religion might actually manifest. In fact Jeff wrote a brief notice to Philocrites about a blog he’s writing where he notes… Read more

It occurred to me as I’m now writing a blog it might be a good idea to actually read some. Up until this point the only blog I’ve in my “favorites” file is Philocrites by Chris Walton, the erudite and generous editor at UU World.This morning I thought I’d begin exploring some of the sites I’d dug up for links at this site. Here I’d like to briefly mention the three blogs I’ve found (so far) written by authentic Zen… Read more

By tradition after the Sixth Ancester Huineng, Pangyun is the earliest master of the Zen way to be acknowledged while a layman. Huineng went on to ordain as a monk and became the source of all contemporary Zen lineages, but Pang remained in the lay life. In fact he’s best known with the title Layman Pang. He married and had children, all of whom according to tradition achieved awakening. Here’s one story about an encounter with his daughter.The Layman was… Read more

Wake up and experience your life this moment! Without thought, without separation, “What is it?” See for yourself! You don’t need someone else’s answer. If you do this and do not regress into thought, memory, or analysis, it is possible to see something new. Each moment it is possible to let go of the past and wake up to that which is new, fresh, vital, and sensitive. Your life and your relationship, this very moment, are full of unlimited possibilites.Ellen… Read more

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