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

~~~

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