Friday, June 22, 2007

zen church

This morning on my run around Greenlake I was intrigued by an asian gentlmen in deep meditation, legs crossed and hands pressed, right alongside and in the midst of pedestrian traffic. It was touching to witness, but even more so when I came around the 2 mile lake and saw him a second time, STILL there and very content and peaceful. I thought to myself for an instant, I'd like to go over when he's done and ask him to teach me what he was doing. But then I thought again, that question says more about my Western linear thinking and probing than his Eastern methods of practice. In reality his response would be to invite me into his way of meditating, inviting me to watch him and imitate him. And in so doing I would learn for myself along the way through experience and reflection as I was beginning to put into practice what I was observing. He would have put it back into my court to learn for myself, to hear, see, taste and feel for myself.

This is the life of a monastic. This is the life of a way that cannot in any way be reduced to formulas, 5 minute descriptions and/or a powerpoint program that, when completed, one completely understands. The only REAL thing one can understand from these approaches is an epistemoloigcal framework without the innards and true substance that comes with embodying spirit through community and the practices that shape and knit together such communities.

As one whose own spirit is inclined toward the contemplative this kind of intentional community, around a vow of life, is both attractive and intriguing. Zen church, or a monastic expression of church is no more than an Eastern expression of communal life that revolves around a particular ethos/habit of faith that allow God's Spirit to penetrate in and through, to bring transformation and awareness of God's life lived for me and beyond me.

2 comments:

robert said...

I think it was CS Lewis that described Christ as the Tao. Funny, didn't Jesus lead by example, not by dictate. It's a cultural maxim, at least in my singular culture, that the best way to learn something is to do it...

dave said...

precisely.