December 5, 2019

    The Brain—is wider than the Sky— For—put them side by side— The one the other will contain With ease—and You—beside— The Brain is deeper than the sea— For—hold them—Blue to Blue— The one the other will absorb— As Sponges—Buckets—do— The Brain is just the weight of God— For—Heft them—Pound for Pound— And they will differ—if they do— As Syllable from Sound— Emily Dickinson The other day I found myself in a conversation with someone where the matter turned… Read more

December 4, 2019

      The Zen priest Shunryu Suzuki died on this day, 48 years ago, the 4th of December, in 1971. I write about him from time to time. Here I repeat some of that, with some editing and a small addition or two… To begin at the beginning there are actually two Suzukis who stand large at the dawn of Zen breaking forth into our larger North American culture. The first is Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, best known as D…. Read more

December 3, 2019

    Today, the 3rd of December is the feast of Francis Xavier, the Jesuit missionary to Japan. While fervently hostile to nonChristian religions, and with some blood, if indirectly, on his hands in that regard, I believe he is also the first Westerner to write a moderately accurate report of Zen in a European language. Born in the Kingdom of Navarre (modern Spain) in 1506, he was a close associate of Ignatius Loyola. In 1534 the good father was one… Read more

November 27, 2019

      Last week I had the enormous honor of being invited to participate in a panel discussion of Buddhism and Christianity as a journey between at the annual gathering of the Society for Christina Buddhist Studies. There were four of us on the panel proper. I would say two of us were Christians profoundly informed by Buddhism, another probably could best be described as one hundred percent Buddhist and one hundred percent Christian, and me. Out of this… Read more

November 26, 2019

    It was today, the 26th of November, 1953, that a Japanese business executive Koun Yamada had his great awakening experience. This would be a critical event in the evolution of koan Zen in the West. Koun Yamada was born in Nihonmatsu, Japan, in 1907. He attended school and later university with Soen Nakagawa, who would go on to become a renowned Rinzai monk and master. They would remain friends for the whole of their lives. They would also… Read more

November 24, 2019

On this day, the 24th of November, in 1859 Charles Darwin published his magnum opus On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. A hundred and sixty years! My, how time flies… Of course with this book we all began an inexorable shift in human thinking toward an understanding of evolutionary biology that would reframe how we understand ourselves and our relationship with the world. His work… Read more

November 24, 2019

  OFFERING INCENSE: REFLECTING ON MY JOURNEY BETWEEN  James Ishmael Ford (This past Saturday I got up early, made coffee, and drove down to San Diego. I’d been invited by Leo Lefebure to join a panel sponsored by the Society for Buddhist Christian Studies which was being held at the American Academy of Religion’s conference. Thomas Cattoi presided, the panel included Duane Bidwell, Ruben Habito, Miriam Levering, and myself. Catherine Cornille provided a response inviting a period of discussion. I… Read more

November 22, 2019

    Fifty-six years ago today in Dallas President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. It was a lifetime ago. Actually two lifetimes. The parents of adults today were not yet born. Fifty-six years ago is a long time. For most of us today this is simply history. And. For me its memory. Memory seared into my consciousness… I was fifteen at the time, a sophomore in High School. I was in school when it happened. And, I recall the announcement… Read more

November 21, 2019

    “The autumn breeze of a single night of love is better than a hundred thousand years of sitting meditation.” Ikkyu (translated by John Stevens) Ikkyu Sojun died on this day, the 21st of November, in 1481, five hundred and thirty-eight years ago. There is no doubt these more than five hundred years have not diminished his importance. Ikkyu was one of the singular figures of Japanese Zen. And he is of enormous importance to those of us committed to… Read more

November 20, 2019

  Dear Laurie, It was wonderful meeting you at our Tuesday evening gathering for zazen. We look forward to you and your friends visiting with us on Saturday. I offered to provide some simple introductory resources. Here’s a quick offering of links to articles I’ve written on Buddhism and Zen. I hope you find them helpful. Myoun James Myoun Ford Anaheim Zen Sangha   First, the story of the Buddha. And, with that something addressing what does it mean to… Read more

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