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September 29, 2021

    Miquel de Cervantes Saavedra was born today, the 29th of September,  in 1547. Or, at least people concerned with these matters, are pretty sure that’s the date. Actually we’re not even certain that was his name. Maybe it was Cerbantes. Maybe he was a New Christian. Or, possibly not. His father was a barber/surgeon. The family moved a lot, and for some period of time his father was in debtor’s prison, and support for the family fell to… Read more

September 28, 2021

        I’ve been thinking a lot about religious calendars and the need for a universalist version. People have been working on these for a quite a while. Some are good. Most are not. Reconciling lunar and solar calendars only begins to note the problems. And. One date that definitely would belong is today, the 28th of September. By some forms of reckoning it was on this day, the 28th of September in the year 551 before our… Read more

September 27, 2021

      MAGIC LANDS Zen, Makyo, and the Loosening of the Bonds of Perception James Ishmael Ford As we embark on the spiritual path what we may have spent a lifetime thinking was real and concrete, rather quickly reveals it is not. Sometimes these disruptions of the old and intimations of something new are graces, disruptions of the world opening us into the mystery. More often these are something a bit different. I n Zen the term for these… Read more

September 26, 2021

      (Thomas Stearns Eliot was born on this day, the 26th of September, in 1888. He was an important thinker in my life. Should say is. I wrote a version of this appreciation  in 2018. From time to time I rework it a bit and share anew. I guess I’m hoping eventually to get it right. Here you go with my latest.) We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to… Read more

September 25, 2021

      LEAVING HOME, COMING HOME A Meditation on the Bodhisattva Way James Ishmael Ford Shishuang Chuyuan was once asked by Senior Monastic Quanming, “When does a single hair pierce innumerable holes?” Shishuang said, “Ten thousand years later.” Quanming said, “What will happen ten thousand years later?”Shishuang said, “It is you who will pass the examination and excel among people.” Later Quanming asked the same question of Zen master Hongyin of Jingshan [Faji]. Jingshan said, “You personally will have… Read more

September 24, 2021

  In the churches of the Anglican communion, including the Episcopal church calendar today, the 24th of September is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. It commemorates an apparition of Mary, Jesus’ mother, to an English noblewoman at the dawn of the eleventh century. Today they even have a YouTube channel. Me, I’ve always liked appearances of Mary, who I’ve noted elsewhere is flat out my favorite goddess. This particular feast represents a significant revival of pilgrimage within the… Read more

September 23, 2021

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Traditionalism in religion. Traditionalism is a word with many definitions. It usually speaks to some form of conservativism. It sometimes is associated with right wing political perspectives, and probably always is marked with a privileging of revelation over reason. There is also a spiritual Traditionalist school which is a subset of Perennialism. My first brush with Traditionalism arose when I read Huston Smith’s magnum opus, the Religions of Man, still in print… Read more

September 22, 2021

      The Three Pillars of Zen is one of those books that mark the establishment of Zen in the West. It was first published in 1965 and has never gone out of print. Three Pillars has now been translated into a dozen languages. And it remains an important part of the canon of Zen taking Western root. It was edited by Philip Kapleau, later Roshi Kapleau, with major assists from Koun Yamada, and Jiun Kubota (both eventually succeeding… Read more

September 21, 2021

    My father was born on the 21st of September in 1919. His was a rough life. Orphaned, passed around, institutionalized, run away, lived on the streets, petty crime, maybe larger crimes, prison, released into the Army toward the end of the the 2nd world war, medic, badly, badly wounded, lost his right arm, shrapnel coming up through his skin for the rest of his life, alcoholic, in and out of jail and hospital, dreamer, wisher, wanter of better… Read more

September 20, 2021

    In Holmes Welch’s Parting of the Way: Lao Tzu and the Taoist Movement (pages 5-6) he offers some parallel sayings from the Tao Te Ching & the Christian Gospels.  The translations are from Lin Yutang and Arthur Waley. For the Bible he preferred the King James version. It is easy to note there are some stretches here. Still. There is something compelling in his project, even if it is simply reveals the longing heart; that reach for a commonality of… Read more




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