Holding Up the Moon: Thinking a Little About East African Plains Apes and Zen

I recall back in the late nineteen sixties when Desmond Morris published his book with the at the time provocative title, "The Naked Ape." it caused quite the stir.Now, I've just run across the term "East African Plains Ape" to describe homo sapiens. Still provocative. Although maybe part of why I really liked it.And, I wondered if it were in fact a scientific term. Sadly, a quick google search reveals it isn't in common usage. And in fact may be a bit too specific to even be accurate … [Read more...]

Celebrating Our American Moses: Harriet Tubman

It is so wonderful to learn that Harriet Tubman is going to grace our American twenty dollar bill.In case you aren't familiar...She was born a slave somewhere around 1820.At about the age of twenty-nine Harriet escaped to freedom. However, her first act after that dramatic escape was to return and gather up her family and lead them to freedom. She would eventually lead some thirteen bands of escaped slaves out of bondage.In the run up to the Civil War she assisted John Brown in … [Read more...]

You Start With Two Tablespoons of Lard: Making a Goulash Pie

So, I'm talking with my friend, Ed. And he says he has to cut our conversation a little short because he is making his mother in law dinner that evening and its a bit time intensive. I ask, and what bit of deliciousness are you preparing? Okay, slightly sarcastic because I know his taste buds go in the general direction of what I'm going to call groats. Goulash pie, says he. Ah, all for the love of family. I said, you have to send me the recipe. He said, okay. And, added, it's good. Well, here … [Read more...]

Not Forgetting: the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Sometimes memory is the art of not forgetting, even against the passing of time, even after those who were involved have all died.Not forgetting because it is important.Here's something that should be seared into memories.It was on this day in 1943 that when German troops entered the Warsaw ghetto and were met with an armed if rag tag resistance. Left and right united in the fight. Armed mostly with handguns, some grenades, often handmade, and just a few rifles and even fewer … [Read more...]


A WESTERN SOTO ZEN BUDDHIST STATEMENT ON THE CLIMATE CRISISApril 2016As Buddhists, our relationship with the earth is ancient. Shakyamuni Buddha, taunted by the demon king Mara under the Bodhi Tree before his enlightenment, remained steady in meditation. He reached down to touch the earth, and the earth responded: “I am your witness.” The earth was partner to the Buddha’s work; she is our partner, as we are hers.From the Buddha’s time, our teachers have lived close to nature by choice … [Read more...]

Lord Kitchener, No Not that Lord Kitchener is Born

Aldwyn Roberts the calypsonian who performed as Lord Kitchener was born on this day in 1922. … [Read more...]

Enter Daffy Duck

It was on this day in 1937 that Daffy Duck made his first appearance in the animated short, Porky's Duck Hunt.Porky's Duck Hunt by CarlStallingEnthusiast … [Read more...]

The Story of Mu, the Story of You & Me

I was just given a complementary copy of The Story of Mu written by James Cordova & illustrated by Mark Morse. I got the comp because it includes as an appendix an adaptation of a dharma talk I gave (with an interpolated uncredited paragraph written by Melissa Myozen Blacker - you'll have to figure out which one it is. And, yes, I can hear some of my friends saying, "the good one."), "On the Utter, Complete, Total Ordinariness of Mu."I read the Story of Mu is a single sitting. It is a … [Read more...]

Ranting at Harvard Divinity School: Embarrassing Ralph Waldo Emerson & the Buddha in One Talk

I was recently reminded of this. It's a video of me sometime in 2014 holding forth on various subjects, Buddhism, Zen, Unitarian Universalism for the Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School.They haven't invited me back. … [Read more...]

B.R. Ambedkar and the Dalit Buddhist Movement

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, better known as B. R. Ambedkar, and to the many whom he served throughout his life, as Babasheb, one of the singular figures of the Indian revolution was born on this day in 1891.While an untouchable (the term in general use has shifted to "dalit," largely led by Ambedkar himself) his father, like his grandfather before, served in the British Army, and because of that he had access to an education. Nonetheless, the indignities he suffered ranging from not being … [Read more...]