Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - June 14

John Wu and the Tao Pay a Visit

An indigo bunting flies down and grasps the long, swinging stem of a tiger lily and reaches out, from them, to eat the dry seed on top of a stalk of grass. A Chinese painting!

New tractors each year, and each one makes more noise than the last. The one in the valley now sounds like a big bulldozer. Round and round the alfalfa field, in fury. What thoughts it represents, what fury of man, what restlessness, what avidity, what despair.

Around and around it goes, clacking its despair.

John Wu arrived for a visit.

The great simple spirituality of John Wu, who knows Tao and the Logos and the Spirit. Flashes of wit and depth in the things he said, with much searching for words and matter, and his complaints that the Holy Ghost had gone to sleep.

For instance—that suffering is the core of existence.

That we monks can laugh in this monastery as men who know nothing worse can befall them.

He made some astute remarks about pragmatism in the “contemplative life” when questioned about what was “dangerous” to monks in America (the questioner wanted him to say something else, perhaps about love of comfort).

June 15, 16, and 26, 1962, IV.228-29

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