Inside the Stone Crypt: A Zen Meditation on Holy Saturday

Jesus in tomb

As I write these words, my auntie, who has lived with us for the past twenty-three years is in the next room, dying. The hospice nurse believes we have a couple of hours. I was looking at various things, and noticed I'd written a reflection on Holy Saturday a couple of years ago. Felt appropriate to reprint it today, another Holy Saturday...Today is Holy Saturday, perhaps the strangest and with that among the more compelling days of the Christian calendar.Jesus is dead. With that in the … [Read more...]

A Good Friday Meditation on the Shooting of Jesse James by Robert Ford

Jesse James

I see how we have the confluence of a minor historical event in American history, the day that the outlaw Jesse James was shot and killed by Robert Ford in 1882 (no apparent relation, for those who care), and this year Good Friday in the Western Christian calendar, falling into the same moment.The trigger for a connection to me is how my grandmother, a Missouri native, believed to the day she died that the James boys were driven to their crimes by the banks and the railroads and their … [Read more...]

Becoming as a Little Child: Yamada Mumon’s Zen


A lovely clip of an interview with Yamada Mumon Roshi by Trevor Leggett, together with a snippet of dokusan with him, from my friend Dosho Port. … [Read more...]

The Power and Beauty of Human Memory: A Brief Meditation on the Christian Communion


It was on this day in 1717 that Benjamin Hoadly, the Anglican bishop of Bangor preached a sermon before a congregation that included the king, George the 1st. It was in large part a response to the late Anglican divine George Hikes posthumously published "Constitution of the Catholic Church, and the Nature and Consequences of Schism." Pretty inside baseball stuff for Anglicans and their tension as both Catholic and Protestant. The bishop's rejoinder, the sermon preached today nearly three … [Read more...]

Healing the Heart

salus hygieia_

In the hubbub around the Jewish and Christian religions' major holidays this week, we should not forget today, at least by Ovid's reckoning is also a time to recall the Roman goddess Salus.Her origins disappear into the mists of antiquity, but she is the patron of health, welfare, and prosperity, or as Wikipedia puts it of "safety and well-being." Somewhere along the line she was identified with the Greek goddess Hygeia, and as Salus-Hygeia her icon would include a snake and an offering … [Read more...]

There’s No Crying in Baseball

no crying in baseball

Just sayin' … [Read more...]

A Pause While Preparing for the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board Meeting

szba with James as dosho

One of the signal honors I've had in my life has been to be appointed to the governing board of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association. The SZBA is far and away the largest gathering of priests in the Japanese derived Soto Zen lineages in North America. It sees its mission as supporting the work of Soto Zen as it sinks its roots into our lovely if sometimes rocky North American soil.In a few hours I'll be joining the Board in its annual face to face meeting. My colleagues have insisted that due … [Read more...]

On Being a Religious Liberal: A Small Meander Through the Fields of the Heart

william ellery channing

I was corresponding with a Catholic priest about something or other, and almost as an aside he drilled down on what my theology was. I replied I'm a "liberal Buddhist," a subset of "religious liberal."He replied how he was confused how a political position is collapsed into a religious term.I replied it is a term of art, and dates back several hundred years. "Liberal" in this sense means anti-supernatural and rationalist. And that "liberal religion" is synonymous with "rational … [Read more...]

Book of Mormon Published

Book of Mormon

It was on this day in 1830 that the Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, New York.It purports to be the record of the lost tribes of Israel and what happened when they came to the Americas.The prophet Joseph Smith claimed he was presented with golden plates and special spectacles that allowed him to translate them from "reformed Egyptian." And it has since become the primary theological source for the foundations of the Church of Later Day Saints.Those who find the historicity of … [Read more...]

Mencken’s ghost blows a smoke ring and knocks the ash from his cigar


"Why aren't these unindicted co-conspirators--President What-Me-Worry, who pratfall'd his way into the history books, and Uncle Darth, the cold-eyed war 'droid who lined his plutocratic pockets with the rich pickings of Halliburton contracts in the dock or, at the very least, in the stocks, pelted with overripe eggs by jeering schoolkids on a history-class field trip? Now we have Adorably Giggly Dubya, Painter of Light, and Elder Statesman Cheney, tough-talking voice of battle-tested … [Read more...]