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Author QuotedShantideva
Title QuotedWay of the Boddhisattva: A Translation of the Bodhicharyavatara
Date (Year/Month/Day)1968/06/29
Imprint 
QuotationI am spending the afternoon reading Santi Deva in the woods near the hermitage - the oak grove to the SW. A cool, breezy spot on a hot afternoon. (I changed my mind about going across the road and out to the small pond in the knobs"”or"”on the way there yesterday I ran into too many people.) Quiet"”except for someone firing a gun at the pond across the road: typical! Thinking deeply of Santi Deva and my own need of discipline. What a fool I have been, in the literal and biblical sense of the word: thoughtless, impulsive, lazy, selfinterested, yet alien to myself, untrue to myself, following the most stupid fantasies, guided by the most idiotic emotions and needs. Yes, I know, it is partly unavoidable. But I know too that in spite of all contradictions there is a center and a strength to which I always can have access if I really desire it. And the grace to desire it is surely there. It would do no good to anyone if I just went around talking"”on matter how articulately"”in this condition. There is still so much to learn, so much deepening to be done, so much to surrender. My real business is something far different from simply giving out words and ideas and "doing things""”even to help others. The best thing I can give to others is to liberate myself from the common delusions and be, for myself and for them, free. Then grace can work in and through me for everyone. What impresses me most at this reading of Santi Deva is not only the emphasis on solitude but the idea of solitude as part of the clarification which includes living for others: dissolution of the selfin "belonging to everyon" and regarding everyone's suffering as one's own. This is really incomprehensible unless one shares something of the deep existential Buddhist concept of suffering as bound up with the arbitrary formation of an illusory ego-self. To be "homeless" is to abandon one's attachment to a particular ego"”and yet to care for one's own life (in the highest sense) in the service of others. A deep and beautiful idea.
JournalThe Other Side of the Mountain: The End of the Journey. The Journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 7, 1967-1968.; Edited by Patrick Hart, O.C.S.O. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1998, p. 135
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