Talking About Taking One’s Life: A Small Meditation on Kindness

(c) National Trust, Nostell Priory; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

A couple of postings in my Facebook feed are linking to an article about suicide intending to guide people from using the term "commit suicide" to saying "died by suicide." The reasoning appears to be at least in part motivated by the fact the term comes from a time when suicide was a criminal act, and so, "committing" was meant in that sense. The subtext is that the survivors are having a hard enough time without having moral judgment thrown on top of the pile of sadness.I'm all in favor of … [Read more...]

Sri Nisargadatta: The Buddhists’ Favorite Hindu


Okay, I can't really support the assertion that Sri Nisargadatta is in fact the Buddhists' favorite Hindu. Maybe its Mahatma Gandhi. Or? Don't really know. But, I do know we like to quote Nisargadatta.I was just reading a book on the practice of Jhanas, pretty inside Buddhist baseball. And there it was:Reality is not the result of a process; it is an explosion. It is definitely beyond the mind, but all you can do is to know your mind well. Not that the mind will help you, but by knowing … [Read more...]

Amazing Grace

John Newton

John Newton was born on this day in 1725. Impressed as a sailor, he worked on and eventually captained slave ships. Through a series of events he ended up being enslaved himself for a period of time, until he was rescued. It was on his voyage home that Newton had his Damascus experience. In fact while he had the experience he didn't live into it for some time, even returning to the slave trade, which he continued to practice for some years. Finally with his formation complete he renounced his … [Read more...]

A Brief Introduction to Loving Kindness Meditation

mary with child

Recently I had conversations with two different people, both commenting that they tried to be kind in life. What struck me was how as far as I could tell this wasn’t particularly true in either case. I came away with two thoughts. One had to do with our amazing human ability to think the best of ourselves despite all the contradictory evidence. (There is, of course, also that corollary of those who can see nothing good about themselves, despite all the contradictory evidence.) The other was that … [Read more...]

Funkadelic Dawn

George Clinton

George Clinton was born today in 1941. … [Read more...]

The Great Dance: A Partial Comment on the Zen Koan Baizhang’s Second Visit to Mazu

Oxherding 9

The case in Juhn Ahn’s translation goes:“Baizhang revisited Mazu for a consultation. Mazu raised his fly whisk. The master [i.e., Baizhang] asked, “Is this its function or beyond its function?” Mazu hung his whisk back in its old spot. The master [remained speechless] for a while. Mazu said, “Later when you open your lips how will you instruct others?” The master thereupon snatched the whisk and raised it. Mazu said, “Is this its function or beyond its function?” The master also hung the whis … [Read more...]

Robin would have been Sixty-Four Today

Robin Williams

Finding myself thinking of Robin Williams. … [Read more...]

Of Memory, Remorse, and Small Redemptions: A Small Appreciation of the Movie Mr Holmes

Ian McKellen as Mr Holmes

Jan & I promised each other that a significant part of our new lives in California will include going to movies. In the past month we’ve been to two, so while more than modest, it looks to be shaping up to be an improvement on the past.The other night we saw Mr. Holmes, a small movie exploring Sherlock Holmes imagined in his old age. The amazing Ian McKellen, who I gather is in his early seventies, plays Holmes at sixty-five, and at ninety-two.This is, as you might imagine given those t … [Read more...]

When the Devil whispers in your ear…

Hitler as knight

I see it was on this day in 1925 that Adolph Hitler's vision for the world Mein Kampf was first published. I think of hard times, and I think of men on white horses, and those who listen to their siren songs. And I think about how these preachers of an easy solution putting the blame for all the ills we are experiencing on some other, usually people with little actual power, women, foreigners, sexual minorities just seem to reincarnate generation after generation. I also find myself thinking of … [Read more...]

When Does it Begin? A Brief Meditation on Calendars, With Few Discernible Conclusions


One of the things I like about Wikipedia is their willingness to ascribe actual dates to events that took place long, long ago, and for which, the actual evidence supporting that particular date seem to me to be rather tenuous. Of course the closer we get to today, the easier it is to feel the date is the date. And so today is counted in Islamic culture marking when Mohammed and his companions fled from Medina to Mecca 622 years ago. It is also the Islamic New Year.I have to admit that date … [Read more...]