Category: christianity

  • Only God Is Good A Buddhist Reads the Bible (And Can’t Stop Thinking About It) Ever since I read the story in the Gospel of Mark about the man that Jesus loved—the wealthy man who asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life—I have puzzled over Jesus’ statement, “Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone.”  ... Read more
  • Man’s Search for Meaning While Life Goes On All Around When spiritual pilgrims went to visit the great Indian saint Vimala Thakar and unexpectedly got to see her, they asked her the purpose of life.  “To live,” she said. A Zen Master couldn’t have said it better. When I was in high school I read—with what I remember as an utter lack ... Read more
  • Overwhelmed The Happiness that Takes Some Time to Ripen We had sat down for the reception at my niece’s wedding—tables of eight arranged all around the room—when I realized how my brother had seated us.  It was the three living siblings from my generation—Bill, Rusty, and me, with our wives—along with our sister’s oldest child Tade and ... Read more
  • Why Can’t We Live in Paradise? Reflections on the Words of a Homeless Man At the homeless shelter where I volunteer, I was interviewing a man who was being admitted, and was following the prompts of a questionnaire. “Do you have any disabilities?” I said. “No.  No disabilities.” “Let me read the list,” I said.  The last one was Drug Abuse. “Yes,” he said.  “Drug abuse.  ... Read more
  • Absolute Belief in Zazen Embracing Mind: The Zen Talks of Kobun Chino Otogawa. Edited by Judy Cosgrove and Shinbo Joseph Hall.  Jikoji Zen Center. Kobun Chino Otogawa came to the United States for the first time to train the novice monks at the Tassajara Mountain Monastery, which had just been founded.  After a couple of years he returned to Japan ... Read more
  • It Sure Ain’t a Science The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm.  Harper Perennial Modern Classics.  123 pp. $14.99. It’s hard for me to imagine having the nerve, at the age of 56, to publish a book entitled The Art of Loving.  This from a man who grew up with a mother who adored her only child to the point of ... Read more
  • How Long, Baby How Long, Has That Evenin’ Train Been Gone? The Grass Flute Zen Master: Sodo Yokoyama by Arthur Braverman.  Counterpoint.  148 pp.  $16.95. How much time should we give to spiritual practice?  It’s a question I often ask myself.  Twenty minutes twice a day, as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi suggested?  A forty minute sitting, ten minutes of walking, and a thirty minute sitting, as we do ... Read more
  • Doing Nothing for No Good Reason Dogen Zen.  Translations by Shohaku Okamura.  Kyoto Soto Zen Center.  1988.  $198 pp. Hara: The Vital Center of Man by Karlfried Graf Durckheim.  Inner Traditions.  202 pp.  $14.95. I have been known to complain—mostly to myself—that many of the works of a man I consider one of the great religious minds of the twentieth century have not ... Read more
  • Dat Fig Tree Had It Comin’ A Buddhist Reads the Bible: Gospel of Mark from the New Revised Standard Version.  Oxford University Press. (This is my eighth and final piece on the Gospel of Mark; the other pieces are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.) There are any number of things toward the end of the Gospel that I don’t understand, ... Read more
  • What Does It Mean to Love God?  Jesus and the Bean Counters A Buddhist Reads the Bible: Gospel of Mark from the New Revised Standard Version.  Oxford University Press. (This is my seventh piece on the Gospel of Mark; the other pieces are here, here, here, here, here, and here.  I’ll blunder along at my snail like pace until I finish.) The pace of the Gospel of Mark has ... Read more