Blue Cliff Zen Sangha held its first sesshin, intensive Zen meditation retreat, between the 1st & 4th of February, 2018. We met a Harwood Lodge nestled in the upper reaches of Mt Baldy, itself perched above the Los Angeles basin. We had members and friends of our sangha come from Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, Long Beach, and Orange County. Thanks to Chris Hoff for the lovely photographs… Read more

    What They Dreamed Be Ours to Do A Meditation on Universalism & Restitution, the Path of Healing for Our Times January 29, 2018 A Paper Delivered at the Fraters of the Wayside Inn Sudbury, Massachusetts Nancy O. Arnold (The Reverend Nancy O Arnold is a Unitarian Universalist minister. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and earned her Master of Divinity at Harvard University. She also holds a certificate in spiritual direction from Fordham… Read more

Busy putting things in bags. Getting ready. And just a pause. Our little Blue Cliff Zen sangha is about to launch our first three-day sesshin. “Sesshin” translates roughly as “touching the heart-mind,” and is the term for an intensive Zen meditation retreat within Japanese Zen Buddhism. Three-day is a bit of a misnomer, it really is two full on days, in this case from five until a bit after nine featuring mostly seated Zen meditation interspersed with brief periods of… Read more

This past Sunday I went to Boston, picked up my old colleague and dear friend Walt Wieder, and together we made our way to the one hundred & sixteenth meeting of the Fraters of the Wayside Inn at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, in Sudbury, Massachusetts. I felt a mix of emotions. My association with the Fraters is long established. I’ve been attending Fraters meetings for fourteen years, and as a member for twelve. I arrived thinking this would probably be my last meeting…. Read more

I am a Buddhist for several reasons. First, because I am convinced of the teaching of the three marks of existence: anitya, that all things composed of parts will fall apart, and all things are composed of parts, anatman, that this is true of us as human beings as well. We have no special part in or about us that is exempt from the truth of anitya. And, that the experience of these things is dukkha, hurt, longing, dis-ease. But,… Read more

The West Needs Buddhism George W Wright Honolulu, Hawaii 1 January 1929 Published in An Outline of Buddhism, edited by Ernest Shinkaku Hunt I’ve looked for anything I could find about the author, George W Wright, but sadly, or, maybe not, I can find nothing. Well, other than perhaps that he was at one time a Presbyterian missionary, and perhaps at some point editor of the Hawaiian Hochi, a Japanese American paper. I really would like to know more about him…. Read more

      For the past couple of months I’ve been attending the Wednesday morning zazen meeting led by my friend Gyokei Yokoyma Sensei. For one thing it is nice to sit in a group where one is not in charge. And, I get more than my fill of that with the Blue Cliff sanghas. For another I love that early morning schedule. The way the light comes up from the darkness as we begin, the mix of smells, particularly… Read more

          I was visiting with a friend, a Neo-pagan, who wanted to tell me a story. Now, to be honest. I don’t have many friends who are Neo-pagan. In my Unitarian Universalist ministry, the first people I would disappoint were almost always those who fit broadly into the New age camp. They thought Buddhism and the New Age overlapped significantly. I thought otherwise. Well, I still do. The same was true for the majority of Neo-pagans who broadly… Read more

          This is the Buddhist life and the Zen life, as I understand it; a life lived in full realization of who we really are and what this world we live in really is; a life lived simply, naturally, spontaneously, and awarely; a life dedicated to infinite gratitude to the past, infinite gratitude and service to the present, and infinite responsibility to the future. Ruth Fuller Sasaki, Zen a Religion Read more

        After reading something I recently wrote about Zen and Zen training, a friend who is a long time Zen priest raised the question as to what should be considered a “real” Zen practice. She cited as an example people who go to a weekly group, sit a period and then discuss a book they are all reading. And then wondered aloud whether that can be counted as a real Zen practice? Or is it really just… Read more

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