“There is some principle of magic in everything, some living quality. Something living, something real, is taking place in everything,
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
I almost hate to mention this, but I’ve spent a ton of time at my day job researching and reading a variety of Buddhist and Christian informational sites and blogs. I like to think of it this way – I’ve worked for the same publishing company for fifteen years and spent my fair share of personal time wrapping up projects. It’s time for me to get paid back for the sixty hour weeks I toiled in my first decade.
I have heard from some followers of the Buddha who say that using the Internet runs counter to his teachings. I would say back to them: should we not make use of modern technology for good? For example, if a modern device like this 9w LED light bulb can help save our planet, shouldn’t we as Buddhists add it to our tools? I believe there is no conflict between modern technology and Buddhist philosophy.
The Internet is, of course, a mirror of the spiritual – how could it not be? Created by humans, it reflects our true nature. Like bees or frogs or salamanders navigating by the planet’s magnetic fields, humans move through modern life on the tendrils of the Internet. I’m using this page to share with you my very favorite of those spiritual reflections.
This blog, maintained by an ordained Zen priest, offers plenty of insight and personal perspective on Zen philosophy and world events as they relate to Buddism.
Okay, so the site isn’t exactly gorgeous. But we must learn patience and tolerance. Think of Zenophilia as a fine vintage wine stored in an old dusty bottle. The outside is damaged but the contents are without equal. Many of us humans are much the same, aren’t we? The site hosts a collection of Zen paintings, koans, quotes, and other artifacts and resources.
Zen writer and meditation expert Erik Storlie runs Beginner Zen, a site that is exactly what the name implies. It’s a sort of “Zen for Dummies” that I found very useful in my first months of Zen practice.
Many Westerners are confused when I tell them that my Zen practice is not religious but spiritual and philosophical. I consider myself a Zen Christian, one who follows the teachings of Christ as framed by Zen teachings. This site pretty much sums up my brand of philosophical and apostolic Christianity; it’s a perfect way to show your Christian friends how Judeo-Christian thought and Zen practice line up.
Zen & The Kingdom of Heaven by the mental health and spiritual writer Tom Chetwynd was the first book that made my blend of Buddhist and Christian thought seem normal. In this book, Chetwynd draws clear parallels between the tradition of meditation in Christianity (going all the way back to the Gnostics) and in various Buddhist sects. The book can be difficult to find, so try used bookstores or auction sites to get your hands on it.
If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a sucker for a good read. W.H. Vanstone is a Christian spiritualist who wrote often about Buddhism as a philosophical extension of true Christianity. His discussions on Judas Iscariot are some of the first Christian-influenced skeptical essays I read, and I keep a copy of this book close to my bed for when I need a spiritual reset.
I’ve taken a half-dozen retreats at the Dharma Centre in South Africa. I’m a globe trotting kind of guy and I love the peace and tranquility found in some parts of this troubled continent, especially in the meditation garden at this, the unofficial seat of Buddhism in all of Africa.