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Lions Roar : March 2007
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2007 99 at The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton viewed the narra- tor of that book as the “superficially pious, rather rigid, and somewhat nar- row-minded young monk I was twenty years ago.” Harshly negative though it is, that judgment typi- fies Merton’s continuing concern with his public persona, which had been fashioned primarily through the printed word. Little wonder that he often thought of writing less—or of giving up writing alto- gether. As early as 1949, he spoke of “deliv- erance” from writing, and as late as 1965, he voiced the hope that the urge to write would die of its own accord. In part, these recurrent renunciations express a writer’s frustration, but their origins lay deeper than that. For Merton, the practice of writ- ing was culpably suspect, insofar as it glori- fied the writer and amplified the “ego-self.” By its very nature, the act of writing clashed with the practice of quiet worship, in which “the entire ego-self silences and abases itself in the presence of Invisible God.” Moreover, in his later life Merton came to distrust both the polluted medium of language and the dualistic thinking it embodied. “We are all wound up in lies and illusions,” he wrote to James Laughlin in 1961, “and as soon as we begin to think and talk, the machinery of falsity operates automatically.” How much better to be silent: No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees. These pages seek nothing more than to echo the si- lence and peace that is “heard” when the rain wanders freely among the hills and forests. But what can the wind say when there is no hearer? There is then a deeper silence: the silence in which the Hearer is No-Hearer. That deeper silence must be heard before one can speak truly of solitude. Significantly, those poignant remarks appear in Merton’s preface to the Japa- PHOTOBYJOHNLYONS.USEDWITHTHEPERMISSIONOFTHEMERTONLEGACYTRUSTANDTHETHOMASMERTONCENTER. dzogchen the natural great perfection DZOGCHEN RETREATS WITH LAMA SURYA DAS Dzogchen is the consummate practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Considered by many to be "the teaching of our time," Dzogchen is direct, immediate, essentialized, adaptable, and profound: a pure awareness practice applicable to any circumstance and readily integrated into modern life. Dzogchen, often translated as the Natural Great Perfection, directly introduces us to our inner Buddha, the inherent freedom, purity and perfection of being that is our true nature. Dzogchen Center Meditation Retreats are held across the country, throughout the year as shown below: DZOGCHEN MEDITATION RETREATS Joshua Tree, CA Spring March 24 – April 1, 2007 Garrison, NY Summer July 14 – 29, 2007 Garrison, NY Winter December 29, 2007 – January 6, 2008 MULTIPLE TEACHINGS DAILY • NOBLE SILENCE • BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS VEGETARIAN MEALS • PRIVATE, SEMI-PRIVATE, AND DORM ROOMS AVAILABLE For complete information and secure on-line registration for all of these scheduled events, go to www.dzogchen.org/retreats, e-mail email@example.com, or call 617-628 -1702. LAMA SURYA DAS is the author of the soon to be released Buddha Is As Buddha Does:The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living (Spring 2007). He is also the author of Natural Radiance (Sounds True), Letting Go of the Person You Used To Be (Broadway Books), and the noted Awakening Trilogy: Awakening the Buddha Within, Awakening to the Sacred, and Awakening the Buddhist Heart (all Broadway Books.) Lama Surya Das is a Lineage Holder of the Dzogchen Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the Rimé (non-sectarian) tradition. For over thirty years, including more than eight years in secluded retreat, he has studied with the great masters of Tibetan Buddhism. With his open and lively style, he is particularly effective in the transmission of Buddhism by presenting Buddhist values and insight, as well as methods of practice, in a manner accessible to all. DZOGCHEN CENTER BUDDHISM FOR THE WEST Big Mind Big Heart Peaceful Dwelling at Kanzeon Zen Center This year’s Spring Ango (Peaceful Dwelling) will be a unique combination of traditional Zen and daily Big Mind practice led by Genpo Merzel Roshi. Deepen and refresh your own life this Spring at Kanzeon. All are welcome and beginners are given special support. Part time attendance is available. Call us for further information. April 15 – May 13, 2007 www.kzci.org / bigmind.org 866.759.6137 / 801.328.8414