Showing posts from December, 2015

Our Snow in southern New Mexico

Real Practice

From the Margins: Real Zen Practice by Harvey Daiho Hilbert

One day I was sitting on the street in front of the Federal Building in downtown Las Cruces.  It was fairly early in our war with Iraq.  I sat in robes on a zafu with a small block lettered sign.  The sign read, “PEACE.”   As I sat there a man approached.  He was quite angry and told me his son was fighting in Iraq.  I listened as he talked to me about his concerns for his son.  I barely said a word.  As he talked, he came closer and closer to questioning why his son was there. Even then, many of us did not believe there were WMDs in Iraq and that the invasion was some sort of Bush payback. At some point, he was silent and sat down beside me.  We sat there together quietly.  

On another occasion, I sat in front of the same building as a group gathered to protest the Supreme Court’s decision that ruled corporations were people.  The gathering grew and security, as well as police with K-9s, approached the large group.  I was s…

Christmas et al

With Palms Together, Good Morning Everyone,
Some of us in the United States dislike using the phrase “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays.” They believe we should use the phrase “Merry Christmas” instead as they see that Jesus is the “reason for the season.” Some, then, see this as part of a so-called “War on Christmas.”
Let’s see, to put this politely, I might say, “If there is a war on Christmas its hard to tell when surrounded by Christmas carols, lights, displays, sales, parking problems, and traffic jams.” Yet, we might look at it a different way and suggest that all of these things are, in fact, the war on Christmas itself. Yes, these have little to nothing to do with “the reason for the season.” What does a Christmas sale, for example, have to do with the birth of the founder of a major religion, a person held up to be the son of God, if not God himself? To me, as an outsider (I am not a Christian), I view the commercialization of Christmas as a direct attack on the meaning …

Friends in the Dharma

With respect to all., I want to personally and publicly acknowledge my debt to two young monks who drove from Kansas City to Las Cruces in order to participate in our Rohatsu sesshin. Venerables Sunyananda Dharma and Thich Tam Bi were extremely helpful to me as I injured my back muscles just as sesshin began. Their kindness and generosity of spirit were immensely helpful. Our Zen world is in dire need of repair and these two young ones are part of the repair team. You know, there are those who would exclude certain lineages, includig my own, yet practitioners from such lineages seem to be the few who are actually manifesting the Dharma in everyday life. I am, frankly, humbled by their presence and sickened by those who claim authenticity thru their patriarchs but show little of the Dharma in their actions.  My friend Rev. Kobutsu Malone, for example, has done Zen a great service but has been kicked in the teeth for it. Here is a man, alone in the wildsa of Maine, who suffers daily bo…

Our Fear

With palms together,
Good Morning All,

Sometimes my faith in the humanity of people is deeply shaken.  Deservedly so. Blind faith in whatever form is dangerous.  Every once in awhile we need a wake-up call.  In this case the call isn't what most of us might think it is.  No, it is not radical or extremist Islam, it is our fear.  To protect us from that which we are afraid of we create, indiscriminately, an enemy with a very broad brush. And in this brush we try to find ways to either get rid of him or keep him away from us.

Putting what we are afraid of in a closet and locking the door is no solution.  It takes energy and lots of it to keep that door closed and the loss of that energy prevents us from doing good things for our society.  When we respond to fear in this way that which we are afraid of becomes more powerful.  We choose to give away our freedoms, we betray the values our nation was founded upon, to wit, religious freedom, freedom of movement, freedom to bear arms, fr…