Sunday, April 15, 2018


Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Continue until you recognize yourself in everyone in the supermarket, on the street corner, in a concentration camp, on a leaf, in a dewdrop. Meditate until you see yourself in a speck of dust in a distant galaxy. See and listen with the whole of your being. If you are fully present, the rain of Dharma will water the deepest seeds in your consciousness, and tomorrow, while you are washing the dishes or looking at the blue sky, that seed will spring forth, and love and understanding will appear as a beautiful flower.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

HT: Faithful Dissident & Claire

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Vocation to Solitude

Pictured: Odilon Redon, Silence, 1900, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

“Vocation to Solitude — To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over that land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labor and rest in the afternoon, and to sit still again in meditation in the evening when night falls up on that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars… to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into the bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn the very substance of life into a living and vigilant silence.”

—Thomas Merton from Thoughts In Solitude (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1956).
Pictured: Odilon Redon, Silence, 1900, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Coretta Scott King Telegram to Gethsemani monks

Coretta Scott King’s telegram to the monks at Gethsemani on hearing of Merton’s death in December 1968.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Merton's letter to Coretta Scott King

Thomas Merton’s letter to Coretta Scott King the morning after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On hearing if Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination Thomas Merton wrote this poem:

April 4 1968     For Martin Luther King

On a rainy night
On a rainy night in April
When everybody ---
Said the minister

On a balcony
Of a hotel in Tennessee
"We come at once

On a night
On a rainy night in April
When the shot was fired
Said the minister

"I've come at once upstairs
and found him lying
On the balcony  <--- after="" nbsp="" p="" the="" tornado="">he came at once upstairs"

On a --- ---
he was our hope
and we found a tornado
said the minister.

And a well dreamed white ---
said the minister
Propped a telescopic storm

and he never
(the well-deemed minister of death)
ran away

And on the balcony
Said the minister
even lonely dying.
<--- after="" nbsp="" p="" the="" tornado="">[I am totally unsure that I have transcribed Merton's words correctly. Please check the comments for much better transcriptions of Merton's writing.]


Monday, March 5, 2018

a meditation on Jesus Christ by Daniel Berrigan

1. The gospel of Jesus is spoken in a world
intoxicated with death
mesmerized by death
convinced of the necessary rule of death
technologizing death
acceding to the omnipresence of death
2. And Jesus says No
to this omnivorous power.
So his word makes the slight
all but imperceptible difference
(which is finally the only difference).
A good man, himself powerless,
stands at the side of powerless men
and says to death No
for them for himself.
3. Can any of you
place before you a single child, smiling
squirming in your arms; and say
The death of this child is a fact of modern war; I accede
to that death. I regret it of course
but what can one do? We have to destroy
in order to save; villages, women, children,
The system traps us all...
4. The system; horrible word! Can the system
trap the conscience of a free man?
Traps are for animals; freedom is for men.
I cannot speak for you
but I will not wait upon Caesar
to instruct me in God's word.
I am a man. I can read:
If a man will save his life, let him lose it.
I say to you love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.
Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you do to me.
Blessed are you who suffer persecution for justice's sake.
5. Jesus had nothing to say to "systems",
except to deny their power over him.
He said in effect, violence stops here (pointing to his body)
He said in effect, it is better to die for others
than to live (live?) in a trap.
6. Be concrete, be immediate!
Imagine the world!
If you embrace a child, can you consent
to the death of a child? each human face
leads you (follow!) to every human face.
7. I can only tell you what I believe.
I believe I cannot be saved by foreign policies.
I cannot be saved by sexual revolutions.
I cannot be saved by the gross national product.
I cannot be save by nuclear deterrents.
I cannot be saved by aldermen, priests, artists,
plumbers, city planners, social engineers,
nor by the Vatican,
nor by the World Buddhist Association
nor by Hitler nor by Joan of Arc
nor by angels and archangels,
nor by powers and dominations
8. I can be saved only by Jesus Christ.
9. Take this book with you, please
into the midst of children old men and women
the poor, the defeated, the innocent.
Carry it about with you, let it speak
wherever men struggle, suffer, abandon hope,
Let the book happen to you.
It has no other reason for being,
A man
very like yourself
first spoke the words of these pages,
"a man
acquainted with grief,
like us in everything, save sin alone."
He is as near to you/ as your next drawn breath.
10. I do not know
where my life leads.
Do you know where your life leads?
The next note is not struck.
The hands (foul, cleansed) hover
over the instrument.
My friends ask me: After jail, what?
You too (my friends) start awake at midnight,
question the silent lover beside,
the dream-wrapped child;
where? what next?
11. Lover, child, in the immense dignity
of birth or death refuse an answer.
There is no answer.
The genius of the gospel is in the name of man
to refuse an answer.
We had best go forward/ as those in love go
in the breadth of the swath love opens
the sound of a scythe at harvest
the soundlessness of children sleeping
a universe
of unanswerable grandeur!
12. If we have awakened to the world
it is probable that our salvation is near.
If we abide in love
we shall be greatly loved.
13. I believe that twelve just men, believing
against all evidence,
may stir the soil or sea
with toilers' hands, bring up intact
something flowerlike, something -
that direct and life-giving man
waits on you.
The world waits on you.
The two statements
are quite simply verified.
Close then open your eyes.

- first published as the foreword to Quotations from Chairman Jesus, compiled by David Kik and published by Templegate for $1.95 in 1969. The book was subsequently reissued by Bantam.


Practice until you see yourself in the cruelest person on Earth, in the child starving, in the political prisoner. Continue until you r...