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today's the truth of a to target those words

good evening
i want to are mainly takes us evening to introduce you to this collection of papers which was given at the monastic and a religious dialogue i guess them in a monastery
ah just a few weeks ago
i i recommend them to anyone who's interested in this dialogue among buddhists have many different traditions and ah with catholics have both the benedictine and cistercian orders men
and women from are various communities across the united states and
in belgium and france as well
actually catholic community from hong kong and taiwan also
ah there's no way that i can cover the richness of this week long ah
dialogue which went from three fifteen in the morning when we had a the holy office of vigils ah
although just tell not many of us went to vigils and i only worked twice
the first time i did something wrong setting the clock and i ended up in the church at two fifteen
in the dark and church and sat there and waited for about half an hour thought something must be wrong went back to my room and saw that i had set the clock an hour early and went back at three fifty
because the monks in their daily practice begin visuals at three fifteen but then they have complained at seven thirty and got right to bed but our dialogue went on until eight thirty each night
so most of the got up instead for the five forty five
on went instead to join the monks in some of the later offices in the day that didn't interfere with with see
rather intense schedule of the dialogue
a typical day
would begin
if you didn't go to three fifteen visuals but begin with five forty five meditation and then a six fifteen ritual from one of the traditions each day there was a liturgy from a different tradition
ah and then breakfast and and eight o'clock
the morning session with two papers each paper would would last for about twenty minutes with about an hour and a half discussion dialogue following brother david stein to arrest was the moderator for the dialogues and he kept bringing us back from discussion
and of theory or philosophy back to experienced what's your experience of this kind of meditation what's your experience of this kind of study what's your experience of the significance of the community in your life as a monk what's your experience of the significance of a teacher
in your life as of monk
so continually bring us back from getting into any kind of of doctrinal discussions or a theoretical
comparisons back to our own personal experience of our life of practice and it was very rich and it to became very intimate and established a very strong feeling of mutual respect and
affection among the participants there were twenty five buddhist group actually one of the the i think the greatest on
ah benefits of this discussion was
but whereas all of the christians were catholics and all even though they came from two different orders of benedictines and cistercians they all practice under the benedictine rule
but ah the the buddhists were terror avoidance from sri lanka burma cambodia

shut china
a tear of items from america from the insight meditation society mahayana buddhist from china and chinese tradition here in the united states from tibet and tibetan tradition here in the united states japan
in japanese and buddhist tradition here in the united states are so there are a wide range of buddhists there with wide ranging in size from or a quiet
almost i would say a fundamentalist terrified and monk from thailand a who's been in the united states for seventeen years who
kind of was the first speak with a first in the dialogue after almost every speech putting forward the buddhist point of view which others of us who were buddhists didn't always agree with and would have to find you know ways of
not contradicting him but
but widening the buddhist perspective to include the mahayana
our perspective which was kind of interesting and they have the the intra buddhist dialogue that happened there was very very significant for example there was a chinese woman teacher he far who
teaches a
temple in a zen temple in los angeles who just finished getting her phd at yale
who was at a certain point just made a big pitch for what are you facing this group of big shoes here including the dalai lama what are you doing about the the women's big sunni ordination
in your country you know really challenging them because right now the only big sunni ordinations for women are in the chinese tradition and many many women are in taiwan
women the cuny's number of shoes by three to one
and she was quite feisty and in fact when the dalai lama said we really do have to have a conference to establish the validity of the existing fiction and the or the big shiny ordination lineage so that we can resume the any ordinate
patients in our country she said well you can set a time and place
and he said to a secretary please mean i hate he he took it up just like this you know but i mean she was and this was really i mean that the catholic women religious were just into light about this
but it in this interaction with in the
among the buddhist participants was a very important part of what was happening there for us as well as the dialogue between buddhists and christians so you won't see any of that in here so i thought i would would mention that to you what i want to do is is actually just
to give you a little overview of this binder of papers which are quite worth reading for any of you that have any interest and
list of the participants and where they're from
an invite you this will be in the reading room
in fact i may take it with me for these four days at tassajara so people there can look at it and see if they want me to it's pretty big job to make a copy of a choice i want to see if they want me to make a copy of it for the library there this will all come out and book form eventually including the discussion everything was taped and it will ah
all be
transcribe and eventually they will be a book and what is not in here are the teachings of the dalai lama of which were not presented ahead of time and
and copied for and handed out to everyone he just gave his teachings on the spot and jeffrey hopkins translated for him
so his his remarks are not in here i'm very sorry to say but they will be in the publication that comes out
the first paper in here so gives a
gives an overview of how this all came about so i won't go into it too much except to say that following vatican two ah ecumenical council of vatican two there was set up something which is now but come to be called the monastic inter-religious dialogue on
which has been organizing these kinds of dialogues little by little until it's built up to this one
and exchanges of catholic monks and nuns visiting mostly so far tibetan monasteries in tibet and northern india and nepal and tibet and monks and nuns visiting american catholic monastery
ys and these these exchanges have been happening with greater and greater frequency over the last number of years
and each time that the catholics have gone to india they have met with the dalai lama as well as as having dialogues at the monasteries that they visited as you may or may not know when thomas merton went to bangkok
to one of the conference and the first of the of the conferences which grew out of this this
initiative of the of the vatican
in bangkok while he was in asia he visited the dalai lama and they became very good friends they really really appreciated each other and then merton went to bangkok where he is you know
and in nineteen ninety three at the one hundredth anniversary of the parliament of world religions in chicago the dalai lama asked to the monastic in a religious dialogue to organize this particular dialogue at guess lemony
in honor of thomas merton and one of the things that happened while we were there was a commemorative service for thomas merton and the whole thing was sort of dedicated to thomas merton and
so that sort of history of of how it came to be is all here in the first paper and then there were two papers they only two papers that were given by people who are of would be identified as scholars rather than me
monks were
by two professors each of whom are also practitioners but are not monks jeffrey hopkins who's a professor of tibetan buddhist studies at the university of virginia and ah
donald mitchell who's a professor
at fordham university and they gave what i would say jeffrey hopkins spoke on
dependent arising and nirvana and
donald mitchell spoke on god and creation in catholicism there are both as they they were stated giving the philosophical
the underpinnings of the spiritual practice of the two traditions
and then and they're both excellent papers and i and i really recommend them and what i what i think you'll find if you read any of these papers is
the similarities of experience
an intention
different language to describe it
for the most part but what happened in in the dialogue was that we kept seeing
the similarities the the meeting places
of these two traditions and one of the things that you need to bear in mind that the
jesus simmer brown from naropa institute mentioned she said it helped her a great deal and it soon as she said it it helped me to to realize lie the language that we use though when buddhists use the word contemplation
it means a much more cerebral process and as very different than what we mean by meditation
and when catholics use the word meditation it's more like what we mean by contemplation and when they use the word contemplation it is non-verbal and more like what we mean by meditation
ah and i think that will help you in in talking with catholics about practice and understanding when you read about practice
so then the next section after setting the philosophical background was a
it tibet and a terrified monk speaking on meditation practice and terrified of buddhism and
and then
you heard norman's talk on meditation practice in zen buddhism
those of you who were here for norman's lecture a few weeks ago he tried out this lecture on us
and he began he actually didn't read this whole paper because he had handed it out and he focused largely on the backward step taking the backward step that turns your light inward to loom in the self
rather than than reading the whole paper and mostly spoke extemporaneously ah
instead of instead of reading the papers since everyone had the paper
but one one thing which he did read from the paper which don't want to remind you of again because
it's important for us to remember
since my favorites my favorite zen dialogue about zazen which i quote whenever i have an excuse to is the saying of master jojo
when a monk asked him what is zazen
he replied it is non zazen
the students said how can zazen the non zazen
george joe says it's alive
so for us to remember about our zazen that however we describe it
it's alive it's nothing that we can
our grasp onto
and that would be true of catherine kind of contemplation as well
then the next the next session was on
a catholic monk speaking of contemplative life in christianity so what is their meditation practice like but again he's uses here now contemplation instead of meditation so what is contemplative life like and

he tells a great story about the desert fathers who were sort of the first monks in christianity
an elder monk was asked by younger monk what he could do to keep from being shocked or discouraged when he saw others leaving the monastic life and returning to the world
rather than given abstract theoretical reply the elder took an example from the world of nature to illustrate his point
is that the young monk should consider the case of a dog who sees a wild hair and sets off in pursuit until he until he catches it
other dogs seeing the first one running but not seeing the hair will run after the lead dog for a while but then give up and go on back to chewing their bone or lying in the shade
and the elder said only the one who has seen the hair follows it till he catches it not letting himself be turned from his course by those who go back not caring about the ravines rocks and undergrowth so it is with him who seeks crisis master
ever mindful of the cross he cares for none of the obstacles that stand in his way till he reaches his goal until he reaches the crucified exist
and i think you know i've mentioned this before when i've lectured here i think we're all here
because we've seen the hair
those of us who continue to practice practice because we have had a glimpse
of non separation we've had we've had a taste
of non-self
we've had a taste of that moment oneself and other not too
and we know
that that's the way our life needs to go that's the way we want to live
and so it doesn't matter what somebody else does
and it doesn't matter what somebody else thinks you ought to do or what you think you ought to you just do it because your life has been turned in that direction by seeing directly something
that has made a difference to you
these are the kinds of things i think as you read these papers you will begin to see the similarities in
in in the life and motivation and one of the wonderful things was one day
the the guess them many months we were we were staying we were eating in the retreat house
and one day that guess them many monks invited those of us who are monastics both men and women to come into the monastic enclosure and join them in the refectory for their monastic meal
and on
it was so much like eating or you wouldn't believe it it was so neat it was so familiar was just delightful you know
at each place there are bold and a cloth around
and silverware at a napkin around
ah you unwrapped for cloth around them and laid it out as a tablecloth
you know and at the end water will serve and you rinse your silverware
and i went ahead and rents my dishes and drank the water and they said familiar with do that we don't do their names
but it was you know it was just as like to see i mean this this tradition is a thousand years old from egypt the europe and our tuition is a thousand years old from china and japan and it all comes down to the same thing it's just really
really it was it was just too sweet was a very sweet moment for me to just feel that similarity
well i won't go off on that side tracked just yet
then there was a very interesting
after after the paper on contemplation there was a very interesting paper on what's called lectio divina
which again reminded me lectio divina is on

is reading on
the the scripture but listening with your heart
and i think it might be interesting she quotes a letter an unpublished letter of thomas merton's written to a sufi scholar
who asked him you know
phil perhaps the how do you pray what do you do when you pray so he wrote actually a detailed account of his day and the hermitage and i don't think you might since as not published you might like to to hear this
my very dear friend i go to bed about seven thirty at night and rise about two thirty in the morning on rising i say part of the canonical office consisting of the song lessons and so forth and then i take an hour or an hour and a quarter of meditation i follow this with bible really
and then make some tea or coffee with perhaps a piece of fruit or some honey
with breakfast i begin reading and continue reading and studying until about sunrise
at sunrise i say another office of songs and so forth and then begin my manual work which includes sweeping cleaning cutting wood and other necessary jobs this finishes about nine o'clock at which time i say another office of the psalms if i have time i may write a few letters
after this i go down to the monastery to say mass as i'm not permitted to say mass at the hermitage
the way to leave all this stuff he talks about you need all the vestments and so forth to leave all this stuff at the monastery can be hard to care for so many things and keep them clean at the hermitage after mass i take one cooked meal in a monastery and then i return immediately to the hermitage usually without seeing or speaking to anyone
when i speak it is to the but who must see what's a week
on returning to the hermitage a do some light reading and then say another office about one o'clock and this is followed by another hour or more of meditation
on feast days i can take an hour and a half or two hours for this afternoon meditation then i work at my writing usually i do not have more than an hour and a half or two hours at the most for this each day following that it now being late afternoon i say another office of psalms and prepare for myself a light supper
i keep down to a minimum of cooking usually only tears soup and make a sandwich or some sort does i have only a minimum dishes to wash after supper i have another hour or more of meditation after which i go to bed
now you ask about my method of meditation strictly speaking i have a very simple way of prayer it is centered entirely on attention to the presence of god and his will and his love that is to say that it has centered on face by which a long we can know the presence of god one might
save this gives my meditation the character described by the prophet as being before god as if you saw him yet does not mean imagining anything or conceiving a precise image of god for to my mind this would be a kind of idolatry on the contrary it is a matter of adoring him as invisible and infinitely beyond eric
comprehension and realizing him as all
my prayer tens very much to what you call fauna or in princess janata there is in my heart this great thirst to recognize totally the nothingness of all that is not god my prayer is than a kind of praise rising up out of the center of nothing and
silence if i am still present to myself this i recognized as an obstacle
if he wills he can then makes a nothingness into a total clarity if he does not world and the nothingness actually seems itself to be an object and remain an obstacle such as my ordinary way of prayer meditation it is not thinking about anything but a direct seeing of the face of the invisible when
you cannot be found unless we become lost in him who is invisible
i do not ordinarily right about such things and sq therefore to be discreet about it but i write about this is a testimony of confidence and friendship it will show you how much i appreciate the tradition of sufism
and so forth
and then she goes on to talk about
how she and her monastery teachers and does lectio divina and it sounds so much like how we understand studying scriptures if you study the ib dharma where it begins with shooter maya which is hearing
and gintama which is considering studying reading commentary on
becoming really familiar
with with the text which you are reading and the third is bhavana maya making it part of yourself sitting with it and letting it become ah
come to rest in your in the stream of your being bothered i
and this is the actual description of how how we study the dharma in
in buddhist texts and her description of lectio divina is so similar to that that i was struck by it
says nicest most sisters begin with reading scripture
ah and then lectio divina is listening to the texas one body and soul this is listening with the ear of the heart
it is closer to a ritual this kind of reading has to be taught since our times we read for information lectio divina is not functional but personal it is closer to a ritual and intellectual activity
when done whole heartedly lectio as followed by discursive meditation
meditation is about the text and moves organically towards the subject of the text so this is what in his coach into my in and now
buddha's teaching
and then we come to the making it part of oneself

she caught talks about them
all they thus all day long interior prayer and individual periods of lectio and discursive meditation or punctuated with the common prayer of the divine office

does this she goes into some steps here that
that sounds so much like the
buddha's teaching anyhow i'd maybe i will try to pick up the the detail of it but again if you have some people have spoken to me about how speak of me and in ducks on about how to read buddhist texts and how to study buddhist texts and how to ah
enter into them more than just intellectually and i think this is a wonderful description are from from their tradition which would throw light on our own tradition
then we had papers on the stages of meditation in the tear avada passive purity and the stages
of prayer in the christian monastic tradition
and another
some phenomena associated with the stages of prayer in the monastic tradition
it in the christian monastic tradition and another paper
and then we had a tribute to thomas merton so in here will be some excerpts from the tribute to thomas merton
ah and the about this time the dalai lama started doing his teachings
which i'll just have to tell you the titles of and they will come along in due time
ah so he gave the first one on the tibetan buddhist the tibetan buddhist approaches to meditation
and then the second was on meditation stages and experiences on the tibet and buddhist path
and then
one on this role of the spiritual teacher and the place of the sanga and tibetan buddhist meditation
and then we want on to talk about teacher and sanga from the caravan and point of view the spiritual guide and christian tradition ah the role of teacher in the
and in the discussion in a week it brought up the role of teacher in the various other buddhist traditions as well
and then we talked about the importance of monastic community
in in the
the various
buddhist traditions talked about the significance of sanga and
and then
those a a paper from the catholic point of view of the importance of the monastic community
so each of the elements of of our life of practice we looked at together our our own
our tradition and the catholic tradition and how they how they
how they were similar and how they were different
and then
a korean monk three and zen monk from chicago gave a paper on the relation of zen awakening the social transformation
the of discussion about engaged engaged practice
socially engaged practice and and in this discussion in particular
because he brought up some indignation at certain injustices and we got
we got into a discussion of anger and this discussion kept coming up over several of the dialogues because it was a real difference
among us and in particular there was this difference of his anger ever a helpful emotion and among the catholics you know in the catholic tradition there is the
there is sometimes the they have spoken of just wars you know and and
in in this particular in this realm of the social action on people's that was surely there are times when angers is necessary in the face of injustice as as a necessary and appropriate response to injustice and so we had this
really deep discussion of his anger ever a helpful emotion or isn't always and afflict of emotion on
and it was it was a very interesting conversation and and particularly around this this question of injustice and of the people there was more go sunanda who is sometimes nog spoken of as the as the cambodian gandhi his
a monk of on a he sat there looking so peaceful he was sitting cross legged all the time with this beatific smile on his face the is very translucent you may him he was here last year
and stayed in the building when there was this meeting of terror vodden teachers over the guest house that jack kornfield or and i know if you remember him but he he looks completely at peace and he is on he does these
thousand mile peace walks is probably in his eighties
and he's one of the few remaining monks and the cambodian tradition most of the cambodian sanga has been annihilated in this in this war fifty thousand cambodian monks have been killed
so here's a man who has seen extraordinary injustice
so at some point someone handed him the porter microphone and said well what do you think about this
marcus man and he said with a smile
when you know suffering
you know nevada
which is the pali where we we say nirvana in the sanskrit but he'd been a terrifying would say nevada and so i said when you know suffering you know nibbana
and they handed my phone back
a gnosis of them are silence

and this was one of the teachings of this is a pretty intense teaching
and in myself this head rather deep effect on me as i began to think
you know spoken many times about the deep compassion i personally felt from suzuki roshi which was such an important our inspiration to practice for me
and i began to think and i saw mongols sunanda there and the dalai lama and i began to think and i have a son dorsey where the people have known who've been extraordinarily compassionate
and i thought h one of them
has known extraordinary a ticket on hong
as not extraordinary suffering in their life
and i felt in myself this
kind of tension between on
yearning for that capacity
of compassion that i saw on these people and sort a shrinking from wanting to be comfortable and shrinking from the possibility of that kind of suffering that i think
may be the most potent source of that kind of compassion
so was it was a very interesting insight into mile myself and my process and to swear i am and my life and practice not that i think i should go out seeking suffering but just seeing in myself this
this kind of tension was very interesting
one of the kind of delightful things
that happened
well he far this woman from from china gave gave a talk
on the big sunni tradition sanga in mahayana tradition in taiwan and as i told you she ended up after speaking of of the strong be sunni tradition in taiwan of of making a big pitch to the issues there to take care of business in their own tradition
ins and get the big shiny ordination going again
and then we had a presentation on what makes a john minister from of it master sheng in it was delivered by his disciple who's the head of a
the monastery known first new york when when master sheng yen is not there those was who were in the practice period last spring here became familiar with a or last fall familiar with with the with master sheng in because we used his commentary on the
hsin hsin ming as one of our the mind of faith as one of our
texts last year
so there's a paper from him on what makes it a john master
then there was a paper on the ideal of christian holiness and contemplative life
and then there's a paper from
this person in my referred to as the the terrified fundamentalist who's very active in interfaith dialogue and of a buddhist perspective on interfaith dialogues
and his point of view was let's not get mixed up by looking at the similarities we can't make these two things the same they are different let's just appreciate respect each other and be friends
and that was fine too but i mean that he was he was
he didn't have much patience with with trying to notice the similarities
kin nishimura who's now
ahead of the
here who is it the
international research institute of zen buddhism in arizona university
in kyoto
and then
the rest are just biographical statements of other participants who didn't give papers
so i really recommend this to you and i want to tell you one little personal story about what happened to me it there were an addition to the participants thought twenty five invited are maybe more invited observers who are mostly
catholic religious or or or catholic lay people who were deeply involved in contemplative prayer
they didn't participate in the dialogue during the week although they had sort of a a meeting among themselves everyday to kind of go over the the papers of the morning and so forth
but on the last day of the last day was turned over to them and they were invited to give their responses to the participants and let
what their experience had been
and one of the last people to speak and at that session and this was the last session was a woman of about my age who spoke with a deep alabama accent
and i liked what she had to say about her experience but when she said she was from a benedictine monastery in cullman alabama which is just about fifteen miles from where i was born and raised i think i gotta meet her and she apparently had kind of spot
good me there was something about the fact that i was an abbess that was kind of attractive to many of the of the a catholic women religious there are because they're they're quite a number of women there who heads of their communities but they're called prices
and they are not on an equal hierarchical status with the men so i was the only woman there who on an equal hierarchical status with the men and that of courses of quite some interest to many women catholic religious
nowadays so she had kind of spotted me and wanted to meet me and so at the end of this session
i turned to look to see her and she turned to seek me out we kind of fell in each other's arms and we had this wonderful meeting and we had lunch together and we were just really enjoying each other's company and i mentioned that you know and as as i've mentioned here before when i was a child in nineteen thirty two during the
oppression the public schools in the county where i lived closed because they just ran out of money and they just closed and so my parents wanted to keep me in school put me into the only private school in town which was a catholic school so i mentioned this to hurry and i was down in tuscaloosa and i want to this
catholic school in the first and second grade and she said tuscaloosa
but those were nuns from close those are from our community no party but are nuns teaching and and tuscaloosa
and she was to so excited some well it was sister mary antonio and sister mary catherine she said was system mary antonio's dead but system your catherine still with us
and so there's my second grade teachers still
a non down there and a of benedictine monastery in alabama
i wrote a and i'm going to go visit her
oh now i was thinking all this week that i really wanted to go spend some time in a
in a women's monastery just following their daily schedule with them and but there were these women from missouri and iowa and louisiana and wisconsin and minnesota and i went a where will i go and then model
i was pretty clear after i met her where i would do it she you know she immediately invited me to come down there so i can't couldn't carve out but four days out of my calendar but i'm going to be going down there in september before the practice period starts and father schedule for a few days and see my second grade teacher who did make a big impression
on me
when i asked
this is damaris that this woman who was there so very interesting woman i mean i never would have expected it from a catholic nun in alabama but she's has spent quite some time in india at the bede griffiths ashram for the been griffith and she went up and has the he said
or up to do have a personal retreat was going to in bodhgaya
it was quite a delightful surprise to me and i just we just had a want it seems like such a the completion of a karmic circle somehow because these two women who were my teachers and catholic school was the first people i had
ever met know who were living these lives of devotion
which is sort of
but my you know the basis of my practice is it i've said from the outset i'm a faith person and my practice is a devotional practice more than anything else and
and this was the first first examples i had seen of that possibility of life and it made a big impression on me and i think has a great deal to do with what i'm doing now i asked this as i said what is system mary catherine going to think about the fact that this
young woman who said she was influenced by her is now a buddhist nun and she said she'll be thrilled should just build
and in fact apparently she was when she came back down there with my cards as to marry catherine was very happy so this is just a little icing on the cake for me i do hope that you will take and take the time to read some of these papers i think you will find them are very
in in appreciating our own tradition and an appreciating the tradition of the catholic
monastics you may have you may have occasion to meet i mean we all know and love brother david
who is
the one catholic monastic that i've really had an opportunity to be close to over the years but just imagine yourself in kind of a room full of brother david's and you'll get a sense of what this what this week was like
thank you