Dharma and Darwin

Saturday, November 5th, 2016


My talk today follows in the tracks of fellow sangha members who’ve given us presentations on the convergence of scientific inquiry and the insights of traditional Buddhist precepts in the area of neurobiology and brain science. I want to explore the ways the theory of evolution that has provided a framework for all biological research during the last 150 years illuminates and is illuminated by my experience of meditation and my rudimentary understanding of Buddhist doctrine. (more…)

I’ll Remember April

Friday, October 21st, 2016

(April Wells 1943-2016)

I loved you for your name–
the bloom of youth, the standing daffodil.

I loved you for your voice, in full Canadian lilt
Its high and low note chord.

I loved you for your strength,
To clear the brush and split the wood,
and raise those kids alone
in the dark house across the road.

I loved you for the gifts you brought—grace and song and dance

kenneth to left, april wells, debbie keane, steven marx, backrow joann sorenson, jan christie

And for the gifts you gave–confidence and joy

I loved you for your laugh.


Crossing the Inlet

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

[Published here July 2017 pp. 9-10]

It was only the reduced ferry service leaving two hours to kill before the departure from Earl’s Cove that finally convinced me to pull off the main road and take the driveway marked by the sign: “Iris Griffith Nature Centre.” I had passed it many times on our annual road trip from California to Lund, intrigued by what I imagined was a little old lady’s back yard with labels identifying plants. But that was never enough to get me to delay entering the final stretch of the three-day drive to our home away from home at the end of the road. This time, alone with our nine-year old grandson, Lucas, I decided to satisfy my curiosity.


The gravel track through the forest opened to a large clearing. Through an artfully designed gateway I saw a bunch of kids engaged in some kind of race on a groomed lawn, egged on by college age counselors. (more…)

Lund Reunion remarks

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

I procrastinated until early this morning to look closely at the speaking assignment in the program that Tai had given me:

Tell “Why this reunion and the community of Lund is so important to me.” You have three minutes.

She’s a born teacher and the project which she’s taken on—making a film about this community then and now—is an educational endeavor on a grand scale. Using the medium that’s most powerful and most accessible to the widest audience, she’s telling the story of young people desperate about the direction that the society they inherited was going and hopeful about creating alternatives for themselves. This is a largely forgotten story that the whole world can still learn from today. This is our story, and she’s brought us together here this weekend to participate in the project, and by so doing, to re-educate ourselves.

Like a good teacher, Tai designed her assignments to tap into the individual concerns of students. The topic that she’s given me, I realized as I thought about it, resonates with what I’d stated in the invitation we sent out last December:

For the last couple of years a number of present and past residents of Lund have tossed around the idea of organizing a reunion of people whose memories of the place go back to the late 1960’s and 1970’s, along with their descendants and friends.

We thought 2015 would be a good time for a couple of reasons. Sadly, the number of us who can share those memories is shrinking.  Happily, Sandy Dunlop has been encouraging people to submit articles about their recollections for publication in The Lund Barnacle and Tai has been working on a documentary film about that time and place, including in-depth interviews, archival movies and photographs, and present-day footage.

A gathering of people who shared the adventure of coming to the End of the Road 35 to 45 years ago would allow us to pool interesting tales of the past, to catch up on what’s happened since then, and to reflect on the role of that place and time in the stories of our own lives.

As I did my homework this morning, the words of another teacher, Henry David Thoreau, came to mind–words which stirred me into undertaking that adventure in 1970 and which today close the great gap of time between then and now:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”