Monkey Mind - Easily distracted...
December 3, 2021

      We are in a magical and dangerous moment, where uncertainty is in the air. Maybe even end times. And with that, doors are opening. Not least among these are doors opening into deeper understandings of what religion and spirituality might be. So, a critical question. What is religion? And with that what is spirituality? It turns out these are in fact slippery terms, especially religion. In my view Merriam-Webster is the great American dictionary. It’s worth looking… Read more

December 2, 2021

      Sixty years. Oh, my. Sixty years ago today, the 2nd of December, in 1961, the San Francisco Zen Center published the first issue of Wind Bell. An unsigned article from tells us: “From its humble single-sheet newsletter beginnings on December 2, 1961, prior to San Francisco Zen Center’s incorporation, over the decades Wind Bell has grown into a much admired chronicle not just of Zen Center but of emerging Western Buddhism. Library Journal has praised Wind Bell as… Read more

December 1, 2021

  Tell all the truth but tell it slant – Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind – Emily Dickinson People sometimes say they are spiritual but not religious. I find that phrase can open us into a great mystery. Not that it must. Often people use the phrase to mean they are only… Read more

November 30, 2021

    The deep matter of the heart is not bound by any religion. It is not owned by any culture. It is our common heritage as human beings. I suspect it will someday be possible to diagram the matters of the heart in scientific terms. And we are not there. Each time people think they’ve come to the end of science and have the world all figured out, it turns out they’re just stepping over the rise of a… Read more

November 29, 2021

        Hanukkah is an interesting holiday. One the rabbis quite correctly have always felt more than ambivalent about, but also one people just love. I reflect on this celebration of light every couple of years. So parts that follow are repeats, parts are new discoveries I find I make each time I consider the mystery of the transformed story. Without a doubt the rabbis had to work it. The original is messy. But, the new version is… Read more

November 28, 2021

      As it happens the Episcopal diocese of Hawaii celebrates today, the 28th of November as the “Feast of the Holy Sovereigns.” The rest of the Episcopal church marks today as a feast for “Kamehameha and Emma, King & Queen of Hawaii.” While I have mixed feelings about how royals end up saints, formal or informal, this particular one tickles me. Hawaii was for a hundred years a kingdom, united in 1795 under Kamehameha the Great. In 1893… Read more

November 27, 2021

    All summer I made friends With the creatures nearby – They flowed through the fields And under the tent walls, Or padded through the door, Grinning through their many teeth, Looking for seeds, Suet, sugar; muttering and humming, Opening the breadbox, happiest when There was milk and music. But once In the night I heard a sound Outside the door, the canvas Bulged slightly – something Was pressing inward at eye level. I watched, trembling, sure I had… Read more

November 27, 2021

    It’s November 27th! And with that, once again, the blessings of the saints Barlaam & Josaphat are upon us! This is flat out my favorite of all Christian holidays. And I like to remind people of the details of this original Christian Buddhist mashup. So, please forgive the repetition parts of this small sharing. I do add bits pretty much every time I note this festival of the heart. In the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic church as… Read more

November 26, 2021

            For years and years people have talked about the Zen awakening experiences collected in Philip Kapleau’s Three Pillars of Zen. These accounts have inspired many people, including me, toward the practice, especially toward koan introspection. And these accounts have enjoyed a fair amount of reaction. At first in at least some quarters they were seen as discouraging people who didn’t have these grand moments. And later some disparaged them, one non-koan teacher referring to… Read more

November 25, 2021

      In preparation for Thanksgiving, along with getting ready for the family gathering, where my spouse Jan & I are the cooks (we appear to be the only people in the family who aspire to taking care of the vegans and the folk who need blood at every meal), I reviewed some of my meditations about this complicated holiday over the years. I saw a small anecdote that I recorded a couple of years ago, and it caught… Read more

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