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Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update
February 2002

Theme: Is There a 3rd Part Missing?

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.

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 eliminating it.

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, communally integrated.

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, pp.97-98)

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.

        A Haiku

††††††††† If Christ is
††††††††† compassionate seeing
††††††††† then -- what is seen Ė
††††††††† the grace of God†

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††† (wfh)

With gratitude,
, Sando , Mini and all who grace Meetingbrook,



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