Monday, February 28, 2011

History | The Great Priory of Scotland

Hiogo and Osaka 498

I want to visit this lodge when I am in Japan. It is a good excuse to go to Kobe.    It's Grand Lodge is the Grand Lodge of Scotland 
Hiogo and Osaka 498

GLoSLodge Hiogo and Osaka No. 498 S.C.
Kobe, Japan

Founded 7th February 1870

Lodge Meetings

October to May1st Tuesday7:00 pm
January3rd Thursday7:00 pm
December1st Saturday5:00 pm
Kirby Hall, c/o Kobe Club
4-15-1 Kitano-cho, 4-chome
Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0002

Grand Lodge Of Scotland - Introduction

Grand Lodge - Introduction

Friday, February 25, 2011

Noli foras ire, in teipsum reddi; in interiore homine habitat = do not desire to go outside. return in yourself. the truth dwells inside your consciousness.

I have been finding many parallels between Freemasonry and Zen.    An interesting parallel is the Rakasu you sew and wear after being initiated into Zen practice and the Mason's Apron.
This Masonic phrase: 
"Noli foras ire, in teipsum reddi; in interiore homine habitat =
 do not desire to go outside. return in yourself. the truth dwells inside your consciousness

It parallels the phrase my late teacher Dainin Katagiri Roshi wrote in caligraphy on the inside of my Rakasu that is a quote from the Fukanzazengi, written by the founder of our Zen school, Eihei Dogen Zenji:
"Take the backward step of self-illumination."
You can read a translation of the Fukanzazengi at the link below

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early ... History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) (9780807847503): Steven C. Bullock: Books

Just order this reserved through my local library.

Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840 (Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early ... History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia) [Paperback]

Steven C. Bullock (Author)

Unions - Mutual Aid Through Collective Bargaining

I was struck the other day, how the guild system that Freemasonry is built upon, was the seed and roots of the Union Movement. The first Brotherhood I joined was the Teamsters.

Fruit Never Falls Far from the Tree

While various historical threads combine in the history of Freemasonry, it is clear that at the core of the fraternity’s history and tradition was its function as the stonemasons’ guild. In other words, as an organization of operative stonemasons - as opposed to modern, speculative Freemasons – it was for the most part a trade union or craft guild that regulated the industry and protected its members and the public from encroachment by the "uninitiated" or "un-apprenticed." In operative Masonry,
See the entire article here:

Cataract Lodge No. 2 – Minnehaha Lodge No. 165 hold annual joint meeting

These are my Brothers from Cataract Lodge #2 and Minnehaha Lodge # 165 (we share their building.)  I remember when I first saw this photo, they struck me as being a friendly bunch and one of the main reasons I chose to petition them.   My experience has proven my first impressions correct!

Ever since Cataract Lodge No. 2 moved into the Minnehaha Lodge No. 165 lodge hall ten years ago, the two lodges have met jointly for their July stated communications. This year a great steak dinner was served to some 65 brothers from the two lodges. Pictured here are 17 of the brothers from both lodges who answered the call of Cataract’s W. Master Lane Guyot to wear a tie-dyed shirt for the summer event.
Pictured from left to right, front row: Michael Buckner, 2; Conrad Jackson, 2; Douglas Campbell, 2; O'Neal Hampton (nationally known Biggest Loser), 2; David Highum, 2; W. Master James White, 165; second row: Foster Solem, 165; Dan Whaley, 2; Herb Berzelius, 2; David Kampf, 2; John Studell, 165; Kevin Schwab, 2; back row: Carl Lidstrom, 165; Mark Campbell, 2; W. Master Lane Guyot, 2; David Wething, 2; and Terry Henthorn, 2. See page 8 for another story about the event.  --From July/August Minnesota Mason

Isaac Newton's freemasonry: the ... - Google Books

I enjoyed this book.
Isaac Newton's freemasonry: the ... - Google Books
Front Cover
Inner Traditions, 2007 - 146 pages
An exploration of how modern Freemasonry enabled Isaac Newton and his like-minded contemporaries to flourish

• Shows that Freemasonry, as a mystical order, was conceived as something new--an amalgam of alchemy and science that had little to do with operative Freemasonry

• Reveals how Newton and his friends crafted this “speculative,” symbolic Freemasonry as a model for the future of England

• Connects Rosslyn Chapel, Henry Sinclair, and the Invisible College to Newton and his role in 17th-century Freemasonry

Freemasonry, as a fraternal order of scientists and philosophers, emerged in the 17th century and represented something new--an amalgam of alchemy and science that allowed the creative genius of Isaac Newton and his contemporaries to flourish. In Isaac Newton’s Freemasonry, Alain Bauer presents the swirl of historical, sociological, and religious influences that sparked the spiritual ferment and transformation of that time. His research shows that Freemasonry represented a crossroads between science and spirituality and became the vehicle for promoting spiritual and intellectual egalitarianism. Isaac Newton was seminal in the “invention” of this new form of Freemasonry, which allowed Newton and other like-minded associates to free themselves of the church’s monopoly on the intellectual milieu of the time.

This form of Freemasonry created an ideological blueprint that sought to move England beyond the civil wars generated by its religious conflicts to a society with scientific progress as its foundation and standard. The “science” of these men was rooted in the Hermetic tradition and included alchemy and even elements of magic. Yet, in contrast to the endless reinterpretations of church doctrine that fueled the conflicts ravaging England, this new society of Accepted Freemasons provided an intellectual haven and creative crucible for scientific and political progress. This book reveals the connections of Rosslyn Chapel, Henry Sinclair, and the Invisible College to Newton’s role in 17th-century Freemasonry and opens unexplored trails into the history of Freemasonry in Europe.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Passed Fellowcraft Today!

Was a rewarding ritual.   I always wondered where in the West the Gnostics went.  Now I know.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


On the last rakasu/buddhist small robe I sewed, my late teacher Dainin Katagiri Roshi wrote a phrase for Ehei Dogen's writing below. As I do the Masonic initiations, I am reminded of it, "Take the backwards step of self-illumination."


The Way is basically perfect and all-pervading. How could it be contingent upon practice and realization? The Dharma-vehicle is free and untrammelled. What need is there for concentrated effort? Indeed, the whole body is far beyond the world's dust. Who could believe in a means to brush it clean? It is never apart from one, right where one is. What is the use of going off here and there to practice?
And yet, if there is the slightest discrepancy, the Way is as distant as heaven from earth. If the least like or dislike arises, the Mind is lost in confusion. Suppose one gains pride of understanding and inflates one's own enlightenment, glimpsing the wisdom that runs through all things, attaining the Way and clarifying the Mind, raising an aspiration to escalade the very sky. One is making the initial, partial excursions about the frontiers but is still somewhat deficient in the vital Way of total emancipation.
Need I mention the Buddha, who was possessed of inborn knowledge? The influence of his six years of upright sitting is noticeable still. Or Bodhidharma's transmission of the mind-seal?--the fame of his nine years of wall-sitting is celebrated to this day. Since this was the case with the saints of old, how can we today dispense with negotiation of the Way?
You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.
For sanzen (zazen), a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Cast aside all involvements and cease all affairs. Do not think good or bad. Do not administer pros and cons. Cease all the movements of the conscious mind, the gauging of all thoughts and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. Sanzen has nothing whatever to do with sitting or lying down.
At the site of your regular sitting, spread out thick matting and place a cushion above it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, you first place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, you simply press your left foot against your right thigh. You should have your robes and belt loosely bound and arranged in order. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left palm (facing upwards) on your right palm, thumb-tips touching. Thus sit upright in correct bodily posture, neither inclining to the left nor to the right, neither leaning forward nor backward. Be sure your ears are on a plane with your shoulders and your nose in line with your navel. Place your tongue against the front roof of your mouth, with teeth and lips both shut. Your eyes should always remain open, and you should breathe gently through your nose.
Once you have adjusted your posture, take a deep breath, inhale and exhale, rock your body right and left and settle into a steady, immobile sitting position. Think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Non-thinking. This in itself is the essential art of zazen.
The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the Dharma gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality. Traps and snares can never reach it. Once its heart is grasped, you are like the dragon when he gains the water, like the tiger when she enters the mountain. For you must know that just there (in zazen) the right Dharma is manifesting itself and that, from the first, dullness and distraction are struck aside.
When you arise from sitting, move slowly and quietly, calmly and deliberately. Do not rise suddenly or abruptly. In surveying the past, we find that transcendence of both unenlightenment and enlightenment, and dying while either sitting or standing, have all depended entirely on the strength (of zazen).
In addition, the bringing about of enlightenment by the opportunity provided by a finger, a banner, a needle, or a mallet, and the effecting of realization with the aid of a hossu, a fist, a staff, or a shout, cannot be fully understood by discriminative thinking. Indeed, it cannot be fully known by the practicing or realizing of supernatural powers, either. It must be deportment beyond hearing and seeing--is it not a principle that is prior to knowledge and perceptions?
This being the case, intelligence or lack of it does not matter: between the dull and the sharp-witted there is no distinction. If you concentrate your effort single-mindedly, that in itself is negotiating the Way. Practice-realization is naturally undefiled. Going forward (in practice) is a matter of everydayness.
In general, this world, and other worlds as well, both in India and China, equally hold the Buddha-seal, and over all prevails the character of this school, which is simply devotion to sitting, total engagement in immobile sitting. Although it is said that there are as many minds as there are persons, still they all negotiate the way solely in zazen. Why leave behind the seat that exists in your home and go aimlessly off to the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep, you go astray from the Way directly before you.
You have gained the pivotal opportunity of human form. Do not use your time in vain. You are maintaining the essential working of the Buddha-Way. Who would take wasteful delight in the spark from the flintstone? Besides, form and substance are like the dew on the grass, destiny like the dart of lightning--emptied in an instant, vanished in a flash.
Please, honored followers of Zen, long accustomed to groping for the elephant, do not be suspicious of the true dragon. Devote your energies to a way that directly indicates the absolute. Revere the person of complete attainment who is beyond all human agency. Gain accord with the enlightenment of the buddhas; succeed to the legitimate lineage of the ancestors' samadhi. Constantly perform in such a manner and you are assured of being a person such as they. Your treasure-store will open of itself, and you will use it at will.
Last revised September 7, 2000. Copyright 2000 Berkeley Zen Center.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Suppression of Freemasonry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

You may know them by their enemies. Tyrants do not like Freemasonry:

Suppression of Freemasonry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The small blue forget-me-not flower was first used by the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne, in 1926, as a Masonic emblem at the annual convention in Bremen, Germany. In 1938 the forget-me-not badge – made by the same factory as the Masonic badge – was chosen for the annual Nazi Party Winterhilfswerk, a Nazi charitable organisation which collected money so that other state funds could be freed up and used for rearmament. This coincidence enabled Freemasons to wear the forget-me-not badge as a secret sign of masonic membership.[97][98][99]
After World War II, the forget-me-not[100] flower was again used as a Masonic emblem at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany in 1948. The badge is now worn in the coat lapel by Freemasons around the world to remember all those that have suffered in the name of Freemasonry, especially those during the Nazi era.[100][101]

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cataract Lodge #2 Entered Apprentice Initiation, January 25, 2011

Bothers Of Another Mother.
Cataract Lodge #2  was the second lodge recognized under the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.  . Stillwater's St. John's Lodge #1  preceded us.  St. Paul Lodge number #3   was recognized shortly after Cataract by the Grand Lodge (it was made a lodge in 1849, but somehow recognized later for the formation of the Grand Lodge.)  <I was told it was some kind of "paperwork" thing.> These Three lodges were the basis for the formation of the independent Grand Lodge of Minnesota. Before forming a Grand Lodge, while Minnesota was still a territory, St. John's Lodge was recognized by  the Grand Lodge of  Wisconsin (October 12, 1850).  Cataract Lodge by the Grand Lodge of Illinois ( February 5, 1852,).  And the St. Paul lodge, by the Grand Lodge of Ohio (1849).  I find this all pretty fascinating.   You can read more history here: Grand Lodge Of Minnesota.  Looking at the Grand Lodge Wiki page, I just discovered that Hubert H. Humphrey was a member of Cataract Lodge.  That is a nice surprise!

 S John's Lodge No 1

Now Studying For Fellowcraft Degree.

Booklets in Preparations for the Degrees and my Lodge nametag.
So much going on for The Entered Apprentice initiation, that it was hard to take all in. What I was most struck by, as a craftsman that undertook a traditional apprenticeship in pottery in Japan, is how the guild systems must have worked in Europe in pre-literate times. It is an oral tradition with much repitition. The Masonic initiation process sheds light on the old guild systems. The initiation felt to me like a cross between being knighted and entering a pre-literate guild. I suppose the appendant bodies, the Scottish and York Rites are more like knighthood initiations. But first things first. I am studying for my the test before the Fellowcraft Degree.
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The Royal Society and The Birth Of Modern Science.

Freemasons And The Birth Of Modern Science at Google Books
Barnes and Noble Link for The Book
I finished this book last week.  Some of the Freemason connection is conjecture, but interesting. I never really read about the Royal Society in school and find that history fascinating.  It marks the era when scholars and scientists were freed from the oppression of the church to think and share their findings freely.  This freedom led to  science as we know it.
My wife Jean took me to the science museum to see the IMax film Hubble.   The images from the Hubble telescope give you a sense of awe in the majesty of the Universe.   Makes you feel good to be a human being.  Helps you see one of the positive things our society has done to advance knowledge.
  Our closest counterpart today to the Royal Society is NASA.  on July 29, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a forward thinking Republican, signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, providing for research into the problems of flight within Earth’s atmosphere and in space. After a protracted debate over military versus civilian control of space, the act inaugurated a new civilian agency designated the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The agency began operations on Oct. 1, 1958.