Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - November 1

Virgin Time

Marco Pallis on grace in Buddhism: "The word 'grace' corresponds to a whole dimension of spiritual experience; it is unthinkable that this should be absent from one of the great religions of the world.

"The function of grace...is to condition man's homecoming to the center itself...which provides the incentive to start on the Way and the energy to face and overcome its many and various obstacles. Likewise grace is the welcoming hand into the center when man finds himself at long last on the brink of the great divide where all familiar human landmarks have disappeared" ("Is There Room for 'Grace' in Buddhism?").

November 6, 1968, VII.260

The contemplative life must provide an area, a space of liberty, of silence, in which possibilities are allowed to surface and new choices--beyond routine choice--become manifest. It should create a new experience of time, not as stopgap, stillness, but as temps vierge--virginal time--not a blank to be filled or an untouched space to be conquered and violated, but a space which can enjoy its own potentiality and hopes--and its own presence to itself. One's own time. But not dominated by one's own ego and its demands. Hence, open to others--compassionate time, rooted in the sense of common illusion and in criticism of it.

November 7, 1968, VII.262

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