Showing posts from February, 2014

A Warm Climate and a Cold, Cold Heart

Before the title of this post gives you any contrary ideas, I want to say straightaway that my friend, Brian Ettling, has a very big and warm heart. Brian’s a park ranger and climate change communicator who maintains a blog called Be Green Now. He recently posed a challenge to his readers: explain climate change in fewer than 200 words. As both a writer and lover of all life on this earth I found this challenge intriguing. Now, Brian didn’t actually say what sort of prize awaits the winner, but I’m thinking that it just might be a greener planet. So I’m going for it! Here’s my entry:

Climate Change In Fewer Than 200 Words

Plants “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “breathe out” oxygen. The carbon becomes part of the plant’s new growth and the oxygen benefits animal life as well. Over the course of millions of years, the accumulation of dead vegetation became the coal, oil, and natural gas fields that now fuel our modern lifestyle. Burning these “fossil fuels” takes oxygen out of today’s a…

interfaith ZEN

Zen in its most general sense simply refers to meditative absorption. It is the Japanese version of the Chinese word, ch’an, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word, dhyana jhana in Pali. It is one individual turning his or her attention to the coming and going of breath, the coming and going of thoughts, the coming and going of bodily sensations, and in doing so experiencing stillness and silence in the midst of all phenomena. The cultural milieu within which it is practiced might change; the metaphysical meaning with which it is invested might vary; the ritual context within which it is immersed might differ, and yet the experience itself is timeless and universal. It is this timelessness and universality that prompted me to write a blog post entitled Stillness, Silence, Truth and the multi-post series related to Universality and Ritual (Parts 1, 2, & 3). It is this timelessness and universality that also prompts me to want to welcome people into an environment that is…

Right Speech

You will likely recall that the last of the Four Noble Truths points to the path leading to the cessation of suffering – the Noble Eightfold Path. You might also recall that the three “steps” along that Path referred to as right speech, right action, and right livelihood pertain to moral conduct, whereas the others pertain to either wisdom or meditation, as the case may be. Implicit, then, within the practice of Buddhism, is the understanding that the cessation of “our” suffering is only possible within the context of our relationship with “others” and the world. One simple way to think of how these steps of the Path might link together is to consider how difficult it is to act morally without at least a little bit of wisdom guiding our behavior. Likewise, it is difficult to settle deeply into meditation when our life is fraught with conflict due to the improper nature of our conduct. Furthermore, without the ability to settle deeply into the stillness of meditation our ability to di…