Category Archives: Gleanings on Catholic Zen



I HAVE BEEN THRILLED!   I am so happy to report that whilst trying to call my dear friend Sanwar?  I  bought all the  ingredients to make Gulabi-Chai.  I followed mostly the recipe below with the double boil technique and reduction of tea liquore.   The difference is that I added naturally a wonderful green tea from Yunnan province which has aged for 7 years of a sheng puerh.  Alot of people would say what I did was sacrilegious.  I reckon that if Mongolia and China were trading on the tea horse road and silk road?  Most likely this could be the tea originally used.  I cheated also on the spices.  I have a blend of a thousand herbs and flowers and spices from Lebanon.  My theme here is Did Jesus possibly cross paths with the Buddhist philosophy?  Frankly I would bank on it most certainly.  Whether the anointed one Christ went to India is for me hard to fathom entirely, but Kashmir is really not terribly far away and surely his teachings went to Kashmir. I don’t know why if Jesus endured such terror and ressurected why he would go back up to heaven and not travel and spread the world but he had a better way and that was like yoga.  Become one in body, mind and spirit with ones heart.  Tea is very much for me like the consecration of the host in terms of Gong-fu-cha or Chinese tea ceremony but Teaists worship nature itself in the spirit of the tea.  These are esoteric sacred matters, so back to my Did Jesus ever drink a cup of Kashmiri Gulabi cha?   Hmmmm?    Tea is 5,000 years old and I have not brushed up on the history of the Moka bean!  Never the less, I love the idea of history and all the magic of 2,5oo years.  By the way, my tea if I do say came out like  a creamy song.  Love at first sip!


Karmic rebirth versus Redemption?

English: Head of the Buddha from Hadda, Centra...

English: Head of the Buddha from Hadda, Central Asia, Gandhara art, Victoria and albert Museum (London) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Painting of the miraculous birth of G...

English: Painting of the miraculous birth of Gautama Buddha, out of the side of Queen Maya. Sanskrit Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript written in the Ranjana script. Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What was India of 2,500 years ago?   Are they biographically enlightened?  Where was the Shakya tribe of the Buddha originating and was it possibly located amongst the Scythian civilizations geographical zones?  Is it so difficult to ImAGINe that the 3 wise men were from Northern India, hence the Buddhist legacy and Christian connection….



SeatedBuddhaGandhara2ndCentury (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Buddhist Channel | Buddhism News, Headlines | Healing & Spirituality | Asia observes Ullambana


Happy Holidays….. Does not seem very happy to celebrate the Asian version of All Souls Day, Yom Kippur, Lent and Halloween altogether! Yet it really is beautiful. I certainly had zero respect as a child for such cultural phenomena. I can promise you that! We had what is known as a Butsudan *(pictured here) A family style shrine. My Grandpah Pop or his wife Josie used to always put out candies and fruits as offerings. I saw no reason the candy was not for me! Well, yes and now I have cavities! I am going to add later more of my own personal history with this holiday, but my air conditioner is so poor! I simply cannot be terribly serious right now! However? Enjoy I hope reading about the holiday that is the heart and soul of Asia! 

Asia observes Ullambana

The Buddhist Channel, Aug 27, 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Ullambana, also known as Ancestor Day, the 7th Month Festival, Chong Yen Zie and the Hungry Ghost Festival will officially be observed throughout Asia beginning today, the 15th day of the 7th lunar month.

<< The section of the Ullambana Sutra which saysthat Maudgalyayana, a senior disciple of the Buddha, discovered through his meditative powers that his mother had been reborn in one of the realms of misery.

In Mahayana Buddhism, it is believed that the gates of hell are opened on the first day of the seventh lunar month and ghosts may visit the world for 15 days.

Food offerings are made during this time to relieve the sufferings of the ghosts. On the fifteenth day, Ulambana or Ancestor Day, people visit cemeteries to make offerings to the departed ancestors. Many Theravadins from Cambodia, Laos and Thailand also observe this festival.

Ullambana is a Sanskrit word which means “Rescuing those who are hanging upside-down.” This refers to the extreme suffering of the ghosts in the hells who are as tormented as one hanging upside-down would be. So the Ullambana is performed especially for releasing those undergoing the painful suffering of being hungry ghosts and enabling them to be reborn in the heavens.

According to Mahayana beliefs, Ullambana came about based on an incident where Maudgalyayana (Mogallana, a senior disciple of the Buddha) discovered through his meditative powers that his mother had been reborn in one of the realms of misery. Distressed, he approached the Buddha for help, who then advised him to make offerings to the Sangha, as the merit of doing so would help relief the suffering of his mother and other beings.

Making offerings to relief the suffering of the departed and other beings in the realm of misery thus became a popular communal observance. Ullambana is observed by making offerings to the Order of monks and nuns, reciting sutras and performing acts of charity. The merit from these deeds is then shared with all beings.

“Ullambana is a day to give offerings to monks and transfer merits to the departed ones,” says Buddhist Missionary Society of Malaysia president Ang Choo Hong.

But Ang says the Hungry Ghost as celebrated mainly by Chinese people and Ullambana are two different festivals. Most people think they are the same because they fall on the same day in the lunar calendar.

“Actually, the Hungry Ghost festival was already celebrated by folks in ancient China before the advent of Buddhism and Ullambana in the country,” he says.

A related holiday is the Japanese Buddhist festival known as Obon, beginning on the thirteenth of July and lasting for three days, which celebrates the reunion of family ancestors with the living.

Meanwhile, major temples in Asia have already organized week long chanting and prayer sessions to mark Ullambana.

Lanterns hung at the Bongeun Temple in Seoul, South Korea to mark Ullambana>>

At the Bongeun Temple, in Samsung-dong, Seoul, thousands of lanterns were hung on Sunday on the eve of Baekjung, which falls on the lunar 15 holiday. On Baekjung, also called Buddhist All Soul`s Day, it is customary for people to stop farming and perform a ritual to heaven. Buddhist temples regard it as the second most important holiday after Buddha’s Birthday.

In Malaysia, at the Kuala Lumpur Sri Jayanti Maha Vihara at Sentul, devotees marked Ullambana by making offering and transference of merits to their dearly departed. Nine monks led the chanting and blessing session. Two chanting sessions, one in the morning and another at night, were held to mark this auspicious day.

The Kwan Inn Ting temple in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia held a week long chanting retreat attended by 100 participants. The devotees chanted the Ullambana Sutra (Ti Tzang Wang Pusa Jing) while prostrating, sitting and standing throughout the event.

In Singapore, the Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS) conducted large scale prayers for ancestors and beings suffering in the realms of misery. Hundreds of devotees were seen gathered at the temple to pay respect to their deceased relatives and make offerings to the Buddha.

Apart from educating the Buddhist public about the values of participating in Ullambana, KMSPKS also disseminated flyers debunking several myths and folklores. One of the myth mentioned was that the avoidance of burning hell papers will result in being less compassionate. Instead, devotees are advised to offer prayers and chanting, and said that it was more helpful to do good deeds and dedicate merits in the name of the deceased.

An interesting aim of this program is not so much on alleviating ignorance, but one that advocates the protection of the environment. It’s flyer says that “…environment pollution including burning paper is one of the greatest problems humanity faces. In Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, burning joss paper and the like is more a symbolic gesture. In fact, Buddhism does not encourage the burning of joss paper”.

Buddhist Channel | Buddhism News, Headlines | Healing & Spirituality | Asia observes Ullambana.

Spiritual Muse

As I pray i must thank my spiritual muse Jorg Schwipper, whom unbeknownst to him with divine providence I was guided to the communion of Saints within a galaxy of fine arts.  Praying the little Prince is twinkling in the stars.  Here is a random, let’s call it feather from the shaman’s crown.  Yesterday a radio host whom I often see perched at the local bake shoppes or at the Saint Pat’s Basilica cafe garden on Prince street.  Out of the blue, I was on my way to 7pm mass and I feel her presence as she sat with our local holistic dog doctor.  She say’s out of the blue as I am rushing by ” Did you know that the Green Jay, cousin of the Blue Jay is of the Corvis bird species?  I never would imagine that Blue Jays are related to ravens! ”   I said, oh that’s wonderful!  She went on to describe how they are the jewel in the crown of Blue Jays.  I said thank you and I rushed to mass.

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Once when I did not know her very well, she said to me that she was going to do a radio show about Edgar Allen Poe’s, The Raven and a news special about Aung Sang Su Kyi and why women love Obama.  We began just in recent months of Jorg’s death to discuss the blackbirds which no one but we two had just realized seemed to see the blackbirds which for years have been perched in miniature graveyard adjacent to the Cathedral of Saint Pat’s.  I had just finished praying a lot and deeply sad at the loss of Jorgio.  He knew terrifically well about my love of the crow as secret messengers from the Buddha realms.  When I had just  begun to know him?  He often spoke and had a multitude of photos of  Michael Aris and Aung. In fact as I later came to know he had quite a love for her culture and had spent time nearby in Indonesia on a few trips, this I heard from a close beloved.  I did not hear about his visit to Indonesia until after the WBAI radio show in January 2012.  Somehow, I have begun to see this Leonine Goddess and talk show host of WBAI as a sort of messenger in the supernatural realms from Jorg.  Silly as it may be, this is my intuition.  Oddly she is American but from the Tuscan region.  I ask myself why did I come to know him?  The extreme pain that I felt which was his cancer and it reminds me of the quotes below. I believe that the spiritual realm knew all along that he would touch my life in a deeply spiritual way.  IT was by blackbirds I came to know him.  It was my intuition in Lucca by way of 9 crows that perhaps he had departed long before I knew for certain.  It is by blackbirds now I am reminded that true friendships and bonds never ever die.  Farewell until the Green Jays paint the world green again our beastly beautiful Jorg.


Terre des Hommes (1939)

Translated into English as Wind, Sand and Stars (1939)
  • The machine does not isolate us from the great problems of nature but plunges us more deeply into them.
  • It is another of the miraculous things about mankind that there is no pain nor passion that does not radiate to the ends of the earth. Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the world.

Praying with Mary: Sacred Prayers to the Blessed Mother for All Occasions by Janice T Connell

I was just noticing today that next to the blessed name Mary? Theresa seems to be one of the most popular Christian names which Saints possess?  If Mother Theresa loved this book that means a lot to me.  My faith for the first time deeply was tested yesterday and I had an extreme feeling that I will become a bitter blossom and flaneuse towards divinity.  Strange thing is that one of the very reasons I got interested again in the Catholic church more formally was to pray a novena to Mother Mary for my friend with skin cancer.  Mother Mary Queen of the angels.  As serendipitous happenings go?  I chanced upon a blog my friend Joerg wrote about Saint Michael and I felt a levity rising within me.  I decided to say a prayer to the infant Jesus of Prague out of the blue.   There is a divine intercession beyond “positive thinking”  For me there are semi-precious jewels and then there are rare treausures precious too.  If an analogy could be “positive thinking” creates a costume jewel or perhaps an agate but for the magic of earthly alchemy to take place?  Vapors crystalize into dancing violet saphhires.  This is what intercession does in my life….  Carves my mind into a jewel.  Wreckless as crooked paths made clear.  My prayers to Blessed Mother never fail me. Thank you!

Praying with Mary: Sacred Prayers to the Blessed Mother for All Occasions

By Janice T. Connell

Praying With Mary is a most favorite book for many throughout the world. Mother Theresa of Calcutta told the author: “The Blessed Mother wants me to write a prayer for Praying With Mary. Wherever that book, Praying With Mary is placed, it will break the power of evil.” And so it has. Stories continue to pour in from everywhere of those whose lives have changed magnificently after they found this blessed book and made it part of their daily lives.

via Praying with Mary: Sacred Prayers to the Blessed Mother for All Occasions by Janice T Connell.

Saint Michael Verso Oriente blog

St. Michael cathedrals of gold, ie Mykhaylivs’kyi. Perhaps only the cold store knows so much beauty. A gem must contain its iciness. Something unapproachable. Something that distanzi. And this is indeed The Divine Liturgyas the Orthodox call the Eucharist. The other world, the sacredness of the eternal that breaks into reality for a few hours time. Flooding her with gold, because it could not be otherwise. The sacred must have the taste of the precious, something priceless. Gold spread like honey on the walls. The gold is illuminated by thousands of candles hot.

Even Archimandrite no longer part of this world. It is the necessary intermediary. Those voices of deacons from the baritone dalmatics sparkling rhythms that move in predetermined because the rule gives perfection. As an eroticism captured by thousands of repetitions. Nobody knows where the wave incense begins and ends the storm of the songs. Everyone standing for hours, silent.
We humans have no part. We are spectators on this side of the iconostasis. We are allowed to observe, not participate. Participation is a gift given at the end as rivulets of fine loose diamonds. The mysterion is dipped, with a silver spoon in a large bowl filled with dense, dark wine red as blood. In fact it is blood.
One could also pass out if we reflect. In fact I get out of a daze. Stunned by her beauty. What a magnificent city. My stomach is still shaking beneath those ancient songs.
by Joerg Schwipper


Dan Foley




Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

This book is the attempt of a Benedictine monk to hold the light of Zen Buddhism up to his own religion. His purpose is not to criticize Catholicism or Zen, but to reveal certain primal elements of Christianity to the contemporary Catholic—particularly for those thousands of Westerners who are drawn to the religions of the East.

In the light of Zen, Christianity can be seen as a way. That is, Zen is a way, and—for the author—the deepest truths of Zen are also the truths of root Catholicism. Many questions im­mediately suggest themselves. We need to ask: what is a “way”? And if it forms so crucial a part of Christianity, why is another religion needed to show it to us? Is the author saying that the light of Zen may now be needed to reach into hidden places of Catholicism? What could that mean? Can he believe there is some “secret” to Christianity unseen by even the high­est members of the Church?

Such questions may fall into place if we try to understand the idea of a religious way.

It must not, surely, be understood only in terms of a way of life. Consider such expressions as “religious way of life,” “scientific way of life,” “artistic way of life,” and so on. So used, a “way of life” is%


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