A ZEN STORY – from Thomas Merton


Zen story:


   A monk said to Joshu: “What is the way?”                                                               Joshu replied: “Outside the fence.”

  The monk insisted: “I mean the Great Way? What is the Great Way?”                        Joshu replied: “The Great Way is that which leads to the Capital.”


   The Great Way is right in the middle of this story, and I should remember it when I get excited about war and peace. I sometimes think I have an urgent duty to make all kind of protest and clarification –but above all, the important thing is to be on the Great Way and stay on it, whether one speaks or not.


Catwalk and Whitewater Canyon in Gila National Forest New Mexico 2016-10-10 bruce witzel photo


     It is not necessary to run all over the countryside shouting “peace, peace!” But it is essential to stay on the Great Way which leads to the Capital, for only on the Great Way is there peace. If no one follows the way, there will be no peace in the world, no matter how much men preach on it.


    It is easy to know that that “there is a way somewhere,” and even perhaps to know that others are not on it (by analogy with one’s own lostness, wandering far from the way). But this knowledge is useless unless it helps one find the way.


from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander  – Thomas Merton



6 thoughts on “A ZEN STORY – from Thomas Merton

    • Hi Brendan …. how are you? I hadn’t seen ths comment from you last summer. Shoot off an email to me sometime if you are inclined. How have you done though the pandemicso far? Were you having to work through the bad times to help out. I hope you are well. I never forget the work we did together. I’m retired now… lol. Busier than ever now, here at home and also working as chair and co-director for the Charles Brandt Oyster River Hermitage Society. You are likely aware he died almost a year ago. He was a good close friend.

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