Category: death-and-dying

  • 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
  • What’s Your Name, a film by Makato Shinkai, based on his novel.  With Ryunosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryo Narita. I’ve been reading Kobun Chino’s commentary on the Song of Awakening, and the day before I saw this film read the following passage: “When the body of all the buddhas penetrates my nature there is interpenetration and fusion.  My nature ... 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
  • Beckett in the Bardo The Unnamable from Three Novels by Samuel Beckett. Grove Press. 407 pp. $15.95. The mystery of Samuel Beckett continues, at least for me.  Some months back, when I had finally tackled his Three Novels—which had been sitting on my shelves for years—I finished the first two, but admitted publicly, in this space, that I gave up ... Read more
  • You Gotta Start Somewhere Beginners a film by Mike Mills.  With Ewen McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Mary Page Keller, Cosmo. I have the perfect solution for those who loved 20th Century Women and don’t know what to watch next (after they’ve read the profile of director Mike Mills in the New Yorker): watch Mills’ previous film Beginners, which streams ... 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
  • Difficult Teachings A Buddhist Reads the Bible: Gospel of Mark from the New Revised Standard Version.  Oxford University Press. (This is my sixth piece on the Gospel of Mark; the other pieces are here, here, here, here, and here.  I’ll blunder along at my snail like pace until I finish.) The Gospel continues with what is for me a ... Read more
  • Having Faith Is Not Knowing A Buddhist Reads the Bible: Gospel of Mark from the New Revised Standard Version.  Oxford University Press. (This is my fifth piece on the Gospel of Mark; the other pieces are here and here and here and here.  I’ll blunder along at my snail like pace until I finish.) My impression of the early part of Mark ... Read more