Is Barack Obama Secretly a Zen Buddhist Master?

From Politics Daily

From the angry fringe right of America, we sometimes hear confused yelling about how Barack Obama is secretly a Kenyan, or a Muslim, or an intellectual, or an elitist, or a talented writer and speaker, or a very successful man with a seemingly happy family life, or a rich and powerful leader, or a thoughtful man or even the important fictional space alien, Mr. Spock — basically, everything that the rapidly aging and increasingly isolated Republican voter is not.

Click to read more of this article

Leonard Cohen: Zen And The Art Of Songwriting

From NPR

Leonard Cohen is touring the U.S. for the first time in 15 years.

The deep-voiced musician, best known for writing songs that straddle the folk-rock fence, has produced numerous albums and written several books of poetry. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the U.S.

Cohen joins Fresh Air host Terry Gross to talk about his poetry, his songwriting and his time at a retreat called the Zen Center.

CLICK HERE to listen to the broadcast of this article on NPR

Sex and Hardcore Zen

From The San Francisco Chronicle

Brad Warner had just drawn the Japanese characters for “monster” down the soft side of my inner arm beneath my tattooed character, “flower.” Over the local beers I had just introduced him to in a Lower Haight cafe I became “flower monster.” He had just introduced me to what it’s like to hang out with an author, punk rock bassist, and Zen master.
Violet Blue

Saturday at Green Apple Books I met Brad Warner at the signing for his new book “Zen Wrapped In Karma Dipped In Chocolate.” We immediately started talking about sex. Not because I asked him if he’d seen the cult film, Hong Kong action porn farce “Sex and Zen,” nor because of my own work. It was because Warner’s subtitle reads “A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity In Search Of The True Dharma.”

Click to read more of this article

Bishop-elect Explains Buddhist Lay Ordination

From Living Church Foundation

The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester, bishop-elect of the Diocese of Northern Michigan, is seeking to clarify his lay ordination as a Buddhist. In a prepared statement, Fr. Forrester said that “lay ordination has a different meaning in Buddhist practice than in the Christian tradition. The essence of my welcoming ceremony, which included no oaths, was a resolve to use the practice of meditation as a path to the truth of the reality of human suffering. Meditation deepens my dwelling in Christ-the-healer.”

In an interview with the Marquette Mining Journal, Fr. Forrester denied that he was a practitioner of two faiths.

Click to read more of this article

Punk Monk

From San Antonio Current

Brad Warner has practiced Zen for more than 20 years. He’s become an internationally noted teacher of the spiritual discipline, but it hasn’t eliminated his problems. Staring down a divorce and pondering an affair, the punk-bassist-turned-Zen-teacher had the idea for his new book, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of True Dharma. In it, Warner recalls his original inspiration.

“It would be a book that destroyed once and forever any myths anyone could hold about what Zen masters were or should be,” writes Warner. “In its place would be a real-life-warts-and-all portrait of what a Zen teacher in the twenty-first century actually is.” Then, true to his self-effacing style, he notes, “I knew I would fail at this.”

Click to read more of this article

The swift strokes of ‘no-brush’ calligraphy

From The Japan Times

Yamaoka Tesshu (1836-1888) was a lay Zen master famous for, among other things, his statement that swordsmanship, Zen Buddhism, and calligraphy were identical in that they aspired to a state he described as “no-mind.”

His study of kenjutsu (i.e. kendo), begun at the age of 9, resulted in the style of combat now known as “no-sword,” where the samurai (to which class Tesshu belonged) realizes that there is no enemy, and that a purity of style is all that is necessary. Or, as Alex Bennett has phrased it in his introduction: “The sword changed from a weapon of destruction into a tool for spiritual emancipation through ascetic training.”

Click to read more of this article

BYU students ‘Zen Mormons’ after retreat

For Mormon Times

Zach Elison and Brandon Habermeyer consider themselves Zen Mormons. This blend of theology and philosophy stemmed from their experience at a two-week-long Buddhist retreat.

“They have things to teach us,” Elison said. “Everything I love about Buddhism I find in my own religion, they just emphasize it differently.”

Habermeyer and Elison, both philosophy majors studying at Brigham Young University, got a tip from a world-religions professor at school about the retreat.

Click to read more of this article

Have You Had a Good Whacking Lately?

From American Chronicle
by Vickie Milazzo

There I was, sitting in Japanese-style kneeling position on a hard wooden bench in a 800-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto Japan, trying to empty my mind in a breathing, open-eyed meditation. My eyes were focused in the middle distance, seeing all and seeing nothing. The soft smell of pine and burning incense filled the air, and all around me was quiet. At that almost perfect moment only one thing stood between me and enlightenment – well two, if you count the prickly feeling of my legs falling asleep. That one thing was a bald monk in a dark brown robe standing in front of me wielding a three-foot long stick over his head. His benign smile didn’t fool me. He was ready to strike.

Click to read more of this article

Buddhism And The Zen Of Punk Rock

From NPR
By Anil Mundra

The word “punk” doesn’t usually bring to mind meditation. But the growing popularity of Buddhism in the U.S. is attracting an unlikely fan base among punk rock enthusiasts.

What does punk rock have to do with Buddhism? “There’s a disdain for authority. There’s a strong sense that the individual is responsible for herself or for himself,” says Brad Warner, a bona fide punk rocker and ordained Zen master.

Click to read more of this article