Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update
Theme: Is There a 3rd
Enfold. That's the word.
The word had been 'consolidate.' Enfold seems more like it. Enfold
in the dictionary has two parts: 1. to wrap in folds; wrap up; envelop;
2. to embrace.
We need to enfold.† But, is there a third part?
Donít be surprised,
Donít be startled;
All things will arrange
Donít cause a disturbance,
Donít exert pressure;
All things will clarify
- Huai-nan-tzu (dailyzen.com)
In Meetingbrook's case, the two separate instances need to enfold one
in the other. The bookshop/bakery in town and the hermitage on Barnestown
Rd. at Ragged Mountain† no longer seem to be able to be sustained as
two places. This emerging fact is unsettling. Perhaps Huai-nan-tzu is
right, all things will clarify themselves, all things will arrange themselves.
Right now it looks like our 6 years at Bayview Street might come to
an end and we will enfold at Barnestown. We mention this to regulars.
They look at us.
A hermit by temperament
longs for the simplicity of nature being nature. A solitary by inclination
longs for silence and solitude to experience what is alone. A monastic
by surrender longs to move through the appreciation that there is no
movement to or from anything -- only the nondual appreciation of what
is moving in stillness.
In the forward to Frederick Franck's book To Be Human Against All
Odds, James W. Heisig writes of Franck:
He is equally attracted to the Zen view that dichotomized thinking
is ultimately a betrayal of religious experience. Life/art, subject/object,
I/Thou, persons/things are all modes of thought and need to be broken
through in order to make what sense they can make.
By the same token, and in true Zen fashion, he does not see Zen itself
as something to be clung to in exclusion of other religious ways. The
sacredness of any tradition is that it opens our eyes to see what there
is to see. By becoming dogmatic and self-sufficient, a tradition may
have a better chance of surviving shifts of time and place, but it forfeits
the basic task of opening our eyes to the sacred. (p.9)
The sacred is enfolded in the secular. Prayer is enfolded in politics.
Work is enfolded in worship. If there is a thin place, that thin place
is not between one and the other, not a membrane however transparent
that separates one and the other, not a free zone that runs contiguous
to one and the other. The thin place is the aspect of enfolding.
The aspect of enfolding is the looking at and as what is enfolding.
It is not a matter of foresight or of hindsight. Rather, what the aspect
of enfolding is -- is seeing itself, now -- and here. Here we speak
about seeing the reality of Meetingbrook move from two locations to
one while retaining the monastic tension inherent in living -- alone-with-others,
or solitude-in-community, or embodying the thin place of rooting-sprouting
as the same instance differing directions.
The whole consideration of Meetingbrook is practicing between traditions.
We are coming to see that this doesn't mean going from one to the other
and back. Nor does it mean throwing them both into a single pot to stir
together. Perhaps we will come to see that the meaning for us is to
watch and see the unfolding and enfolding of what longs to present itself
in the midst of creation itself. Some might call that God. Or, Ultimate
Reality, Truly Human, Risen Christ, Buddha of Compassion, The Way with
its Power, Truth, What Is, or even -- Hello my name is...!
Something is emerging in, with, and through creation and those awake
to the emergence. Exactly what that is to look like is unknown to all
but a few of our species. And it terrifies us.
There are phrases that sound like our apprehension: Terra est! Terra's
I Am! What is the error? (Translated from the Latin: It is the
earth! I am the earth. And the error?)
It seems the error is we've separated ourselves from
the earth, from creation -- and are intent on objectifying it, thereby
Frederick Franck writes:
Raimon Panikkar coined the term cosmotheandric for the trinitarian relationship referred
to by Samartha. I understood him to agree that in our present situation
no single religion, culture, or tradition can pretend to present a universally
valid solution for either our theoretical or practical human problems.
Alone and isolated, Hinduism is threatened, Christianity is impotent,
Islam is in ferment, Buddhism is dissolving, Marxism is bankrupt, secularism
is self-destructing. It is not unthinkable that cross-fertilization
among the traditions could reconcile the original insights of the various
cultures and make the stilled voices of the sages audible once more
over the abysses of time.
A new innocence, perhaps even a new naÔvetť, is needed. This is not
something that can be willed or concocted intellectually, but must be
born from "grace." What we need is a holistic view of reality,
a post-modern view in which all our fragmentary modern knowledge would
be evaluated as mere preparation of its insights on a higher level.
This does not imply facile assumptions about some undifferentiated reality,
but a restoration of a view of the human in its dignity as a spark of
the infinite fire (agni), a microcosm, an image of the whole,
a constituent of the entirety of the real: cosmically, environmentally,
Science is powerless when it comes to understanding what it might mean
to be human, for this is not a scientific question. It is precisely
this human mystery that is the questioner. An anthropocentric answer
would be as deficient as a theocentric one, for being human is a coexistence
with the Divine and the Cosmos. The Divine is not "pure transcendence,"
not free from all relationship. The Ultimately Real is not "Wholly
Other," not an exclusively 'divine" kingdom. The human has
its place in it.
In every human being, Panikkar noted, the entirety of the cosmotheandric
real is centered. This does not make us the center of reality. It means
that reality is centered in itself and at once the center of that "circle
whose center is everywhere and whose circumference nowhere."
As creatures we may be nothingness, but as constituents of the real,
we are integral participants in the Trinitarian Mystery, and not merely
passively but as fully sharing in the destiny of being. (Franck,
The cosmotheandric, the
enfolding aspect of Earthly/Divine/Human, is a longing that is felt
everywhere. And yet, there are those who intentionally rape, pollute
and expropriate for personal greed what does not belong to them, but
belongs to a grace and a power beyond the understanding of the separators,
takers, and criminals -- both petty and lawyerly corporate. (This last
sentiment after viewing the Bill Moyers Report: NAFTA'S Powerful Little
Secret, Trading in Democracy).
Elsewhere Panikkar describes his Cosmotheandric Principle as that in
which what is divine, what is human and what is earthly (let everyone
find their own terminology) are the three irreducible dimensions which
constitute what is real. These three parts are not juxtaposed simply
by chance, but they are essentially related and together constitute
the Whole. They are parts because they are not the whole, but they are
not parts which can be separated from the whole. (In 'The New Innocence
-- Interview with Raimon Panikkar,' by Carmen Font, from the October
1996 issue of "Share International.")
Something dies. Something falls away. As we participate in our small
instance of this change, we try to see the enfolding aspect of the cosmotheandric;
we try to see the grace of it.
Hui-neng, 7th century, said, "The Meaning of Life is to SEE."
The poet Ikkyu (1394-1481) wrote:
I shall not die
I shall not go away
Just don't ask me any questions
I shall not answer.
This aphasia, the inability
to speak or answer, is part of the experience of death.
Is it two that wishes to be one? Or, is it two longing to be three?
The two parts of Meetingbrook wish to be one. But Ė do they really long
to be three? Is there a third part that waits our seeing?† Is there
a third part missing?
What is emerging?
I enfold my hands. They assume the posture of prayer, departure, and
arrival. These enfolded hands set to greet what is to be. This is done
as the unnecessary disappears. This is done as what is necessary emerges.
Lent. We slow. A pause.
††††††††† If Christ is
††††††††† compassionate seeing
††††††††† then -- what is seen Ė
††††††††† the grace of God†
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††† (wfh)
Sando , Mini
and all who grace