A Very Inclusive Spirituality

I met Reverend Tet when a friend in Japan suggested I join her at a Zoom talk by the President of the Unitarian Universalist Church in the Philippines, Tet Gallardo. Her spirituality is very eclectic and includes both Islam and Buddhism. A few days later the two of us talked via Facebook Messenger. Thanks to Tet for the photos.

The Zoom talk began with this poem, which proved to be an excellent introduction and summary of what she had to say:

There’s My Temple

By Ma Theresa “Tet” Gustilo Gallardo

There’s my temple!
Believer, unbeliever or wild one.
You are … Read More

A Vision List

When I met Geri in Seoul in 2006, she struck me as being always cheerful and positive, but also definitely intelligent. After I left Korea in 2007 we kept in touch via Facebook and sometimes saw each other when I made my annual trip to Seoul. This interview took place over Skype, when Geri was in Seoul and I was in Manila. Thanks to Geri for the wonderful photographs.  

Geri’s story

I was raised in Idaho around Mormons and Methodist farmers—good, hardworking, solid German stock. Before me no one in the family had gone to college or traveled, except for … Read More

David A. Mason, Promoting Traditional Korean Culture

This is my second Skype interview with David Mason. The first was on Korean mountain spirit. (Link). The photographs are used with permission and come from his websites. (Link) (Link) – I highly recommend spending a couple of hours browsing through the many pictures and stories.

I began by asking David when he first came to Korea and under what circumstances.

David’s story

Well now, I was one of those Lonely Planet book carrying, backpack travelers that everyone loves to either admire or disparage. In East Asia this kind of travel didn’t get … Read More

The Korean Mountain Spirit

David A. Mason has spent thirty years roaming Korean mountains, giving tours, teaching university classes in culture and tourism and researching and writing books and articles about Korean culture, particularly the religious traditions. His Spirit of the Mountains received the 20002 Best Book on Korean Culture Award from Korea’s Academy of Sciences. He was contributing editor to The Baekdu-daegan Trail Guidebook by Roger Sheperd and Andrew Douch and co-author of the 1997 Lonely Planet Guide to Korea. He is currently completing an encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism. This recent interview took place over Skype, when David was in Korea and I

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First 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Retreat

After my application for the retreat was accepted, I started having doubts. Ten days without speaking to others I didn’t see as a problem for me. I like silence. We were also forbidden any reading or writing materials—I’d heard about this before with Zen practice. Also no cell phones, or food we brought in ourselves. No problem, I thought. But eleven hours of daily meditation? With my old back and sciatica-ridden right leg?

I found out that students could work independently much of the time, in their own quarters if they like, where they could stretch out on the bed … Read More