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Posts from the ‘Humanity’ Category

15
Jun

Spirituality For The 21st Century

Like so many, I ponder what life will be for future generations, the future of our Nation, the planet, but most especially humanity. For what is a man’s life without virtue, without honor, without passion, without community, without a heartfelt benevolence, compassion, and love? 
It is our humanity which permits us to recognize beauty, to experience wonder, to laugh, to dance, to play; to cry, to grieve, to respond to injustice, to care for, and to appreciate life.

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14
Jul

Walking in the Dark

As a youth I grew close to the parents of a friend of mine from high school, we kept in touch for many years after graduation. “Mr. Fitz,” as I called him was much like (the famous 70’s sitcom character) Archie Bunker type personality with smoother edges. “Mrs. Fitz,” was indeed much like Edith Bunker, Archies wife, without pretension, beautiful, sweet, and with that quiet wisdom overshadowed by her humility. I remember one occasion when I stayed for dinner, afterwards the news with Walter Cronkite came on the television. The “Fitz’s” made it a point to sit together on the “davenport” or the sofa together, sometimes holding hands if she wasn’t knitting. At the end of the news broadcast Walter Cronkite would always say, “And that’s the way it is.”, to which Mr. Fitz would respond, “No it isn’t Walter, no it isn’t.”

“C. S. Lewis taught, if the devil were to succeed in England, he would need to wear a three-piece suit and speak with the Queen’s English, and surely never appear as a red demon with horns and a pitchfork.” This morning like most Americans I woke to the news of yesterdays current events, a practice I have limited now to approximately 3 minutes at best, only to hear the same news from the day before and days before that. Nothing much had changed. Hatred, distrust, accusations, true or false, blaming, promising, hopes, doubts, more hatred, more accusations, and more promises that have been made for decades by others who, hated, suspected, and mistrusted someone other than themselves or their party or particular group. Like the saying goes, “The more things are supposed to change, the more they stay the same.” I immediately observed my muscular skeleton retract in pain with the kind of feeling you get when you’ve tasted something that always turns your stomach. My reaction was to pick up my aging and almost near dying dog sitting near me and hold her close to me telling her, “I love you girl.” I needed to find refuge in my humanity and something that was real, my dog.

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16
Jun

For Your Consideration….

June 14, 2016

Seijaku Roshi’s Meditation

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.  Do justly, now.  Love mercy, now.  Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” 

– The Talmud

Once again like millions my heart broke at the news of another mass shooting, senseless, without mercy, hateful.  I immediately began contacting old friends who I thought were potential victims.  Thank you God they weren’t.  Dear God what about those who were?  What about those who could be in the future?  What about my daughter?  What about the children?  Why?

I do not know the solutions to ending the plague of terrorism and war in our world and I do not want to pretend that I do.  I do know my heart hurts more and more for the victims of this madness; I am fearful for my daughter and her little friends, I want her Mom not to take her to the shore in a couple of weeks.  I had second thoughts about taking her and her new BFF to see TMNT at the Marlton 8 yesterday.  I’m a parent and the suffering of the world becomes more crisp for me everyday, I feel it in my bones, running through my veins.  It’s not over there, it’s right here.  What’s a “parent-monk” to do? 

The words of The Talmud resonate for me.  As a person who has dedicated his life to the principles of love, kindness, and compassion; the principles of justice for all, equality, mercy, all the while working at walking humbly, I have always felt, “Obligated to complete the work,” and I cannot find it within me even though I am tempted at times, to “abandon it”. 

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27
Apr

Spiritual But Religious

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”   ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

My life’s journey has been one of creating clarity, first for my own life and then as a teacher for others, and continues to be that way.  I believe that’s what’s so for all of us, the only difference may be is that we either consciously participate in that process or as the ancient Zen masters suggest, “We are dragged.”  From my earliest days I have preferred not to have scarred knees.

Since I can remember I have always felt a “calling” to spirituality and religious life, or as a young Catholic we called it a “Vocation,” and as a young Catholic feeling the inspiration I thought it was to the Priesthood.  It was, but not the Catholic Priesthood.  Do not misunderstand me, there never was a conversion for me though I no longer and haven’t for a number of years been a “practicing Catholic” I still hold very deep affections for the “community of saints” I have come to know and love over the years, and continue every year to entertain the desire to attend Christmas Eve Mass.  It is also important that you understand that even though Zen Buddhism has been my “vehicle of choice” for making this journey, I do not consider myself to be a Buddhist (in the conventional sense of the term) anymore than I was comfortable identifying with Catholicism or any “ism” as my religion.  In the end my True Religion has always been “Freedom”.  Zen Buddhism has and continues to prove to be the best fitting vehicle for both my nature and my heart’s desire.

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24
Feb

Entering the Path of the Spiritual Warrior

Entering The Path of The Spiritual Warrior
Training in Authentic Zen Spirituality – Part 1

Only as a Spiritual Warrior will one be able to navigate skillfully through the ever accelerating and complex challenges life will present in the 21st Century.  Their exists in our world today a tremendous and ever-increasing hunger on the part of everyone I meet for authentic experience and a reconnecting with what’s deepest and most meaningful about life. 

The Path of The Spiritual Warrior is one of daily transformation, a constant consciousness shift whereby ones attention is no longer directed toward the “pursuit of happiness” and simply surviving but, “learning to be content” and to thrive in the world by training to “be in the world but not of it”.

The basic difference between an ordinary person and a Warrior is that a Warrior sees the world as a space, one of infinite possibility, and his or her life as a series of unlimited potential paved with opportunities; challenges (lessons to be learned) rather than circumstances or situations to be conquered, feared, or avoided.

A Spiritual Warrior is someone who lives their life proactively and purposefully, whether meditating or in the workplace, raising a family or at evening liturgy.  He or she takes the inevitable ups and downs in stride, and sees painful circumstances, disappointments, and failures as challenges to work through, not as oppositional, to be feared, judged, or criticized.

The Warrior takes nothing for granted, living by a Code as his or her guidance or reference in life for navigating through uncertainty and impermanence.  For the warrior The Code is everything, the beginning and the end in all matters of uncertainty and conduct.

“You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your inner enlightenment.  Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.”

– Morihei Ueshiba

This is the Code, we are born for a singular purpose no matter our nationality, ethnicity, social and cultural status, religion or spirituality, or no religious or spiritual identity, we are here to “realize our inner divinity and manifest our enlightenment” for the benefit of others.  The Warrior does not need success, money, power, or status, he or she understands  that each of us possess all that we need here and now, now and always, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand…the kingdom of heaven is within you.”  Therefore the Warrior has no need to “pursue”, everything is already at hand, the Universe is within us and its infinite potential.  When there is no need to pursue then all that is required is to “manifest our enlightenment” in every moment.  When we are manifesting rather than pursuing, we are creating.  We we are creating we have moved from living at the effect of life to being cause.  When we know ourselves as “Cause” – we are reborn.

I love you,

Seijaku Roshi

  • Join me the 1st Wednesday of each month for – “A Course in Spirituality” at
    Pine Wind Zen Community.
  • Part #2 Coming – The Warriors Path

28
Jan

The Journey

A Course in Spirituality

The Journey

“In this globalized world, we have fallen into globalized indifference.  We have become used to the suffering of others:  it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; its none of my business.” 

– Pope Francis

All of the joy, all the happiness, and any sense of fulfillment we spend our lives in pursuit of will be realized only when we return to the Path of Our True Destiny – We were born to connect with each other and to take care of each other.  “Community is Spirit” it is “The Guiding Light” of the Universe, forever calling us Home.  However, like the way we keep looking for the solutions to our personal suffering in all the wrong places, our Home is not a place or a destination – It is Each Other.  We will find our Home and Our True Self when we find Each Other.

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21
Dec

Ending Spiritual Hunger

“You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your inner enlightenment.  Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.” 

  • Morihei Ueshiba

People are hungry, not just a hunger for real food to nourish and strengthen the body, but a real and genuine spiritual hunger, a longing for authentic spiritual experiences, which nourish and strengthens the heart as well.   Any hope we may have for a more peaceful and compassionate world now or in the future must include a deepening spirituality involving a real commitment to personal and global healing by freeing ourselves from what Buddhism calls the “Three Root Defilements:  Greed, Hatred, and Ego-Delusion”.  We can begin by first restoring the “religious dimension” essential in cultivating real and sustainable peace within ourselves and in the world; rejecting fundamentalism wherever we find it; and the eclecticism dominate in western quasi-spiritual practices which allows seekers to pick-and-choose, a kind of anything goes approach, proving often to not have any real substance.

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31
Oct

A Way Out of The Madness – The Power of Community

“In giving of yourself, you will discover a whole new life full of meaning and love.” – Cesar Chavez

“You cannot be useful and bored.” – Seijaku Roshi

Zen Buddhism is based principally upon the path of a bodhisattva. A “bodhisattva” is anyone motivated by compassion who generates bodhicitta and the singular desire to realize the highest enlightenment “for the benefit of all sentient beings”. From Buddha who spoke about generosity (Dana), to Jesus who emphasized charity (Love), all the great teachers point to living one’s life “as a benefit for others” as the only true spiritual path (authentic spirituality), source of contentment (true happiness), and the key to the kingdom of God on earth (global transformation).

Today we are witnessing one of the greatest global revolutions in human history, not one brought about by some great army or civil uprise, but one born of and flowing from the chaotic forces within everyone. A profound spiritual and moral crises manifested largely by our growing cynicism of, and realization that, the socio-economic, religious and political institutions, we came to rely on for some kind of personal salvation for so many generations, as well as our historical cultural, social, and spiritual definitions for life, are today revealing themselves for what they truly are — complete shams. I believe that the reemergence of Spiritual Communities throughout the world offers each of us a way out of the madness, and a real possibility for a new tomorrow.

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6
Sep

My True Religion

I am often mistaken for being a Buddhist, just as in my younger days a Catholic.  It’s understandable why people would make that mistake, today I am a “Zen Monk” and have been for some time, and before that I was born and raised in the Catholic Church, baptized, confirmed, and attended Mass regularly (actually more regularly than most).  However my true religion has always been and continues to be “Love and Community”.  What I teach is “Love” what I strive to create here at Pine Wind and everywhere in my life is “Community”. 

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27
Jul

Hope for Humanity

Mother and Child“The single most important task we have in our lifetime is to cultivate the ground of our very being.  That being, our inherent capacity to love seamlessly, unconditionally, with a profound sense of responsibility to end suffering for ourselves and others.  We must be about the business of opening our hearts to become intimate with the suffering we encounter rather than to avoid it or avert it.  When we do we will discover a natural response which in itself is our only path back to each other and the whole of Nature.” 

– Seijaku Roshi

Throughout time the greatest changes in human history have come when mankind listened to and responded to the voice of suffering.  When we are willing to drop all pretense and every effort to impress ourselves and others as to how tough we are, we are left with the only truth that can set us free, and that Truth is that, just like the planets and the stars each of us without exception are made of the stuff of creation and that stuff is Love. 

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