busy-ness : hell’s levels and a teapot’s holes


This teapot is one of my favorites.  I pulled it from the kiln recently to find the glaze had done exactly what I had hoped it would do. It flowed such that its lighter side at top was full of blues and violets while the bottom half was gathered in...

The monk and the CEO


This Zen circle in the middle of a thought-page is a good starting point for the work preceding and following meditation (sitting).  Zen meditation holds the space behind the apex which forms over the dualities with which we Westerners struggle. This paper-work I do when on a break for tea...

risk


Here at Shambhala, mule deer are the indigenous beings and humans are the guests.  Herds as large as 40 will frequently be hanging out by my window, checking me out as I go about my business.  They seem to have no fear of humans, perhaps because this is a Buddhist...

The Solitary


The Cairn is an old Scottish Gaelic term for a pile of rocks.  This one, not far from my retreat house was formed by some Buddhist monks for whom the pile has a slightly different meaning, and yet the use of piled stones in so many different cultures interests me....

wonder and ego: the battle of the soul-longing


Silence. This is the great medicine. To sit in silence and wait, watching one’s breath and mindful of thoughts is the great work of the soul’s freshness. The ego is like a locked room.  Everything in my room is just so.  The right womb, the right family, the right culture,...

elephants and coconuts


The Great Stupa of Shambhaha Mountain Center in Colorado sits nestled in the hills like its own Buddha, sitting, almost cross-legged.  A majestic, colorful sight.  My Zen master told me today that “nothing of the Stupa is casually done - everything is of a design for peace and joy.”   ...

Listening after Easter


“The Celtic mission, inspired by John, remembered him as the beloved disciple who leaned against Jesus at the Last Supper. He had become an image of the practice of listening for the heartbeat of God. This spirituality lent itself to listening for God at the heart of life.”   Listening...

Easter’s kiss


This icon of the harrowing of Hell is one of two main icons in the Easter Tradition.  Liturgically it happens Saturday night but theologically it happens on Easter and beyond…every day…every moment. A friend on Mount Athos wrote it while I was hiking there on my second visit to the...

tea bowls, heavens and hells


  When I sat at my potter’s wheel, and the wheel began to spin, I found myself making tea bowls.  I had no need of them, though some of the great Japanese tea bowls had been on my mind like small children tugging at my clothes… “make us, make us,...

Karma


Being kind feels important to me these days.  My dog and my horse are kind to me.  Karma has many definitions and is generally associated with Buddhism, however I wonder about the great value it could provide to our Christian conversation. It is true that when we ask for forgiveness,...