Thursday, November 26, 2009

John D. Loori, 78, Zen abbot and photographer, dies

...In addition to being abbot of the monastery he started, Abbot Loori founded a worldwide Zen order, was a respected photographer and teacher and wrote 20 books on Buddhism and art.

He is to be buried in the cemetery of his Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, where each year a “Hungry Ghost” ceremony honors the dead. In 49 days, according to Buddhist belief, he will be reincarnated. The funeral will be held then, Ms. Goddard said.

Although there are many Zen centers, some larger, Abbot Loori created one of the few Zen orders based in the United States that has members from Brooklyn to New Zealand. He published a 120-page quarterly journal and offered Zen instruction on the Internet, and on an online radio station (

He set up an institute to apply Zen principles to environmental matters, hoping to bring people closer to “the inherent intelligence of wildness.” He also began a program to teach Zen to prison inmates.

Abbot Loori enforced strict rules both for monks and for weekend visitors. He safeguarded traditions like the precise, meditative Zen way of eating, and decades ago made a video of the ritual that is widely used in Buddhist circles.

But for the thousands who have come to his monastery, he offered not just the expected instruction in traditions like Zen archery but also topics like gay and lesbian spirituality. And unlike traditional Buddhist practitioners, he promoted women as leaders of Zen centers...

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William S. Burroughs - A Thanksgiving Prayer

Thanksgiving Day, Nov 28,1986 first appeared in the chapbook Tornado Alley, with illustrations by S. Clay Wilson. Gus Van Sant then made a short film of Burroughs reading the text.
This poem resonates today as exposing what has gone horribly wrong in the USA, or maybe what has always been wrong.
Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1986

William S. Burroughs

For John Dillinger
In hope he is still alive
Thanks for the wild turkey and the Passenger Pigeons, destined to be shit out through wholesome American guts
thanks for a Continent to despoil and poison
thanks for Indians to provide a modicum of challenge and danger
thanks for vast herds of bison to kill and skin, leaving the carcass to rot
thanks for bounties on wolves and coyotes
thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through
thanks for the KKK, for nigger-killing lawmen feeling their notches, for decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces
thanks for Kill a Queer for Christ stickers
thanks for laboratory AIDS
thanks for Prohibition and the War Against Drugs
thanks for a country where nobody is allowed to mind his own business
thanks for a nation of finks — yes,
thanks for all the memories all right, lets see your arms you always were a headache and you always were a bore
thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.