Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Contemplation & Resistance (3) - Accepting things

NHAT HANH: ... If you cut yourself off from something -- a tradition, a community -- the hope of things will be lost. Right at that moment. So it is not a problem of a word or a term -- it is the problem of life. And that problem of being simultaneously inside and outside yourself is a very wonderful idea. Not an idea but a way of life, a way that retain one's self and the link between one's self and the other part of one's self.

DAN: This was very much a part of the style of Merton -- the inside/outside. And it had very rich consequences, I think. For him and for others. He used to say that he would never become a monk again, but now that he was a monk, he would be a monk. Absolutely. Yes.

JIM FOREST:  A man playing hide and seek with tradition.

NHAT HANH: Anyway, being a monk or not being a monk, that is not the problem. The problem is the way you are a monk or the way you are a non-monk. I think if we greet events in that way, we can master the situation.

In China, they tell the story of a man who lost his horse. He was sad and he wept about it. But a few days later the horse returned with another horse. So the man was now very happy. His loss turns out to be lucky. But the next day his son tried the new horse and fell and broke one leg. So now it is not good luck any more, but bad luck. So he deserts the other horse and takes his son to the hospital and is content with what he has. So they say, if you greet these event with a calm mind, then you can make the most of these events for the sake of your happiness. That's not me, but the Chinese! (Laughter.)

-from a slightly edited transcript of a conversation recorded in Paris in 1973 by Jim Forest between Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Berrigan. 


  1. Currently reading “ In The Lion’s Den”, the chapter chronicling the friendship and dialogue between Berrigan and Nhat Han... synchronistic that you are posting these pieces this week. Interesting to read to “tug” between the two concerning Action-Contemplation.

    1. Yes. I sense that tug between them too. At this point, I actually think it has more to do with personality than any disagreement. Save that book for me.

  2. I love these 2 photos of Dan and Nhat Hanh, what they looked like in 1973. Nhat Hanh mentions that he is 46 years old.

  3. Yes yes
    to take a position is to introduce stress to ones self
    it is the problem of duality- of the thinking mind
    held views often dissipate or change over time
    also views are the major cause conflict and wars
    perhaps that is why people seek solitude -
    happy blessings _____________________

  4. Catholic priest says Democrats are going to hell — and Texas bishop backs him up-
    alas - is this not conflict -
    Father James Altman, pastor of St. James the Less Catholic Church, lashed out at Father James Martin, who participated in the Democratic National Convention. In a 10-minute video posted to YouTube, Altman called the priest a “hyper, confusing spreading heretic” and had harsh words toward Democrats.

    Happy blessings ________________ boK

    1. I try not to pay attention to this stuff. I don't know if it is conflict or not. Seems like noise to me. I am underground Catholic.

      There was a lot of this stuff going on in Merton's day as well. I remember reading about him finding cleric sneaking thru the woods to come and tell him he was a heretic.

      Ultimately, I think Merton was right in his last talk in Thailand: from this point on, everybody has to stand on his own feet.

  5. yes yes __________________________________________________

    alas we will all be underground,Catholic or not !

    happy happy blessings _________________________________

  6. happy happy

    lots of Merton books on this site good stuff
    and free downloads -----

    happy happy blessings ______________________


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