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Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update,
September 2000

"A new patristic age is in process of formation, an age vaster in its scope than the earlier patristic age. We can expect it to be equally more fruitful in its consequences, for it is leading towards a new world culture in which all the world traditions will have their finest and fullest expression."                                                                            (Thomas Berry)

Moving slowly toward a fine and full expression

1. Sunday: Cool nights. Clear sunny days this early September in Maine. Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No.3 with the London Sinfonietta this Sunday morning at the bookshop/bakery. Arnie loaned us the CD, and there is sympathy between them.

Tomorrow Saskia sails with the Angelique for a week. She and Barbara will be co-cooks as Debbie takes a week off. And I begin teaching, or rather co-learning again Ethics at the university. 

Earlier Dean took his solitude on the bench on the deck behind the shop looking over the harbor. Saskia attended the 8:30 Mass at Our Lady of Good Hope, and I wandered to the children's chapel for some of the Quaker Meeting. Karl and Annie chat about sticky buns and various recipes.

Sunday Evening Practice is quiet sitting on couch due to knee discomfort. Three of us eat chicken soup after reading homily by John Chrysostom beginning "The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us..." and ending "The sun's light is useful in my earthly life, but your love is fashioning a crown for me in the life to come."

2. Monday: I run out of gas with the VW at the crest of Rokes' Farm and the Backyard of Colorful Artwork (by Clarity) and luckily coast downhill close enough to town to park alongside MBNA's child care building to walk to morning mass. The church's gas can leaked so Laite's Exxon loaned a green pail to catch the outflow walking to the car. Sando is in the backseat and doesn’t know from gasoline, liturgy, credit cards or artwork – she only sees me returning and wags herself delightedly.

Rankin's sold me a replacement can for OLGH, and a smaller one for my car. Down at the harbor I put a sign on the shop door saying "Its Monday and nearly Winter so we're closed today." This thought cheers me. I have to prepare for the Ethics course at the university that begins tonight.

Standing on the dock I watch a 115' foot schooner making its way down the channel on its Monday departure. It seems to be curiously close drifting off to starboard which is where I stand on the dock up behind Sam’s, Leonard’s and Saskia’s boats. It looks wrong and it is. Someone yells out “We’re gonna hit!” and they do, slamming into the 26’O’Day tied at dock to the float. Noise and splashing of water. The jib sheet is caught in the anchor and stretches as far as the dock lines will allow then snaps loudly. The bowsprit awkwardly catches the port shroud and pulls the rigging taut and stretched before letting loose. A blue line bag is ripped from the cockpit and the back rail is bent in. Even on the boat ahead the ladder to the bridge is pushed in by errant bowsprit. 

3.Tuesday. Susan leads study/reading of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Interbeing. Emphasis on the insight of the present realized. What is “reality?” asks Dick. “What is before our eyes without thinking?” another offers. We speak about the simplicity of practice and the inquiry of study – but mostly the movement of mindfulness in every breath and every step. Susan begins and ends the hour with poems from Ann Porter in honor of recently deceased Janet – Ann was her friend and she loved her poems.

4. Wednesday. John Chrysostom’s homily and we ponder his words “We are a single body.” The mystery of the Incarnation – the faith that God entered this reality – and embodied this reality -- perhaps we’ve not yet grasped it. Ralph wonders if Christ is an office. Virginia recalls the phrase “transparent boundaries” as used by Spalding Gray, and we are wondering about “single” as the unity of heart, mind, and will – and – single as the oneness of all that appears to be separate and unattached. Is this what “For me, to live is Christ, and to die, gain” means? What we call Christ, -- whether as the Jesus of history, or the invisible and indestructible divine reality at the core of each and all, -- if we do realize and embody that reality, then that is our life-itself and death is that life beyond and transfigured, undiminished and transformed into Life-Itself.

5 Thursday, Triumph of the Cross. Robert and Kristi donate their books to the barn. Heidegger said that to save really means to set something free into its own presencing. What did the cross triumph? What did Jesus set free? Are we now to presence – or, are we to presence now? Dirk brings in a book Ann gave him and suggests we carry it. The Power of Now. This will come to the shop, we’ll talk!

Ending his book Buddhism Thomas Berry writes:

            There are two great spiritual endeavors that characterize the present age. One is the effort to interpret the new scientific technological age in the light of man’s traditional spiritual disciplines. The other is the effort of traditional spiritual disciplines to enter into communion with each other. This last effort at establishing a world context for man’s spiritual and intellectual development has just begun. (pp184-5, c,1967)

This is a communion I long for and a community I wish to belong to!



August 2000 Update
July 2000 Update
June 2000 Update
May 2000 Update
April 2000 Update
March 2000 Update
February 2000 Update
January 2000 Update
December 99 Update 
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64 Barnstown Rd.,
Camden, Maine USA 04843
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50 Bayview St. (Cape on the harbor)
Camden, Maine USA 04843
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