Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Unconditionally Steadfast

From Tricycle:

Awake in the World

Unconditionally Steadfast

Pema Chodron Fall 1999 Tricycle

PEMA CHÖDRÖN, dharma teacher and author of When Things Fall Apart, speaks about roles and responsibilities within the teacher/student relationship.

Pema Chodron is the resident teacher at Gampo Abbey, a Buddhist monastery in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. A student of the late Kagyu master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, she received the novice ordination in 1974 and was fully ordained in 1981. Pema Chodron is the author of The Wisdom of No Escape, Start Where You Are, and When Things Fall Apart, all from Shambhala Publications. This interview was conducted in April at Gampo Abbey; photographs by Christine Alicino.

You’ve described the teacher-student relationship as one based on unconditional commitments: The teacher will never give up on the student and the student will never leave the teacher, no matter what. How did you come to that understanding?

I’d like to back up a bit. There are different levels of the teacher-student relationship and not everyone’s ready for—or wants—an unconditional commitment. Most people read a book or hear the teachings of a specific teacher and it helps them. In fact, it can dramatically change how they work with the difficulties of their lives. They may then ask if they can become that teacher’s student, by which they mean asking for guidance now and then. This kind of relationship can be valuable and the student feels, quite rightly, that’s all that’s needed. It’s rare that a student wants to enter into an unconditional commitment with a teacher because what this means is being willing to work at a very profound level on where you are holding back. So really, how many people are willing to unmask completely? That’s the basic question.

Was that your experience? That unconditional commitment came with “unmasking”?

When I asked Trungpa Rinpoche if I could be his student in 1974, I was not ready to enter into an unconditional relationship. But for the first time in my life I had met a person who was not caught up—a person whose mind was never swept away—and I realized that was also possible for me. And I was incredibly drawn to him because I saw that I couldn’t manipulate him.

You felt seen by him?

It wasn’t as personal as that. It was more like: This is a man who knows how to cut through people’s trips. And I experienced that cutting as encouraging; threatening, but refreshingly threatening.

But you still didn’t feel ready for an unconditional relationship with him?

That took time. Working intimately with a teacher is the same thing as learning to stop shielding ourselves from the completely uncertain nature of reality. In other words, when we work closely with a teacher, all the ways that we hold back and shut down, all the ways that we cling and grasp, all our habitual ways of limiting and solidifying our world become very clear to us, and it’s unnerving. At that painful point, we usually want to make the teacher wrong or make ourselves wrong or do anything that is habitual and comforting to get ground back under our feet. But when we make an unconditional commitment to hang in there, we do not run away from the pain of seeing ourselves - and this is a revolutionary thing to do and it transforms us. But how many of us are ready for this? One has to gradually develop the trust that it is ultimately liberating to let go of strongly held assumptions about reality.

Are you talking about gradually developing the trust to surrender into the unknown?

Yes. But what I’m really pointing to here is developing steadfastness with yourself, steadfastness with your fears. This comes from developing clear seeing of all that arises in your heart and your mind without pushing away what you don’t like or getting cozy with what you find attractive, and without disassociating or acting out. So the teacher encourages you to be relaxed more and more with your own uneasy, insecure energy and to stay with yourself through highs and lows.

That implies a steadfastness with the teacher as well?

Yes, that’s it. Steadfastness with one particular person translates into steadfastness with any situation that you could possibly encounter. This starts with steadfastness with yourself and in particular, steadfastness with your own emotional distress - being able to open to it, to rest in it without seeking the comfort zone of habits. Without developing this basic trust in oneself, regarding your teacher as perfect and doing whatever they request can be harmful and even dangerous to the naive student.

Do you have a different relationship with your students than your teacher had with his students?

I consider myself a spiritual friend to my students. I’m not a guru. In general, I don’t give empowerments or perform other Vajrayana rituals and in particular, I am nowhere near as wise or daring as Trungpa Rinpoche. I can only share the spiritual understanding that I have, and it’s a long way from the spiritual understanding of Trungpa Rinpoche. But some things are the same. It is important, for instance, that students are open with me and don’t hide their neurosis and also that they don’t idealize me. It’s important that students get to know me well so that I come off the pedestal and they see me as an ordinary person. I was always taught to see the teacher and the student as sharing a mutual journey - not as a master-servant relationship.

But you do enter into formal teacher-student relationships?

The first time someone asked me to be their teacher, I didn’t know what it meant. I kept saying no, then after two years I said, “Okay, but if we’re going to do this, you have to do what I ask you to do.” That was a big mistake and I would never say that to anyone now. Because now I realize that you just enter into the relationship, as I did with my teacher, and it evolves to that place of trust and love - or it doesn’t. It’s not something that you can demand.

Why did you ask that student for total obedience?

Because I know that when you’re willing and able to trust the teacher, that’s your first experience of steadfastness; it was my first experience with not getting swept away by judgments and opinions. See, the idea here is that entering into an unconditional relationship with one person is a training for staying open to the paradoxical nature of reality. How do you get to the point where you can open to this world as it is, with all of its violence and beauty and meanness and moments of courage? When you enter into an unconditional relationship, you experience both like and dislike, approval and disapproval; you experience profound horror and heartbreaking love. And then you get to discover if your heart and mind are big enough to contain the complete picture - and not just the part that you approve of. If you can develop the capability to remain steadfast in one unconditional relationship, you can remain steadfast with the suffering and joyfulness of life.

And the key is the experience of trusting another person?

It’s more than that. The teacher serves as a mirror but also encourages your ability to trust in yourself. You begin to trust in your basic goodness instead of identifying with your neurosis. There’s a shift of allegiance. Then the obstacles begin to seem temporary, and what’s permanent is the wisdom. To the degree that you become intimate with your neurosis - not acting-out and not repressing - to that degree you discover your wisdom. In Vajrayana Buddhism they actually say, “The more neurosis, the more wisdom.”

They talk about transforming confusion into wisdom. That doesn’t mean getting rid of confusion: It’s alchemy - the gold is in there. The relationship with the teacher helps you stay in the middle of the fire.

How is the role of the teacher and the role of devotion to the guru different in Vajrayana than in other forms of Buddhism?

In Vajrayana you’re moving in the direction of realizing that the whole world is your teacher. You’re encouraged to have a passionate involvement with life - with love, illness, death, disappointment. There is no emotion or activity that is off limits as a source of wisdom. For this reason, this path demands a lot of discipline, and it also requires guidance. In the absence of a narrow and restrictive set of rules, you need someone to show you where you’re behaving in a way that is indulgent or repressive or too reactive. And you need someone that you will listen to. In Vajrayana, the guru shakes things up a lot, which prepares you for the fact that so does life. So in real life - what do you do when things fall apart?

Do you function like that for your students?

I don’t deliberately set about to create those moments when the student feels the rug being pulled out. In the lineage stories, the gurus purposely did that. For instance, Marpa tested Milarepa by making him build towers and then, with no “rational” reason, told him to pull them down again. So you’re asking about students working with me? Might they suffer because they don’t have that?

Or, are you somehow providing that?

In a limited number of relationships, when we work closely and the student is brave enough, that kind of cutting through of old habits and limited ways of seeing does happen. But, curiously, it seems to have to do more with their own courage than anything that I do.

In guru yoga the instructions are to see the guru as a Buddha, not as an ordinary person. But you say that you want students to realize that you are ordinary.

Well, not only the teacher, but everyone is Buddha. Buddha means awake. It’s important to know that we are all capable of being awake. What I was left with from Trungpa Rinpoche was this: that between the teacher and the student there can be a meeting of minds, a mutual communication. The job of the teacher is to help the student experience that their mind and the mind of the teacher are the same. The teacher realizes that the student doesn’t understand that, doesn't believe it, and doesn't trust it. The relationship needs to be intimate enough so that the teacher can work with exactly where the student is limiting themselves. Sometimes someone needs love and sometimes harshness. But whatever the teacher does is always about helping you to see layer after layer of defense mechanisms and self-deceptions that block your innate wisdom. You have tremendous devotion because without your teacher you would never have discovered this confidence in your own wisdom. But you don’t think of the teacher as being up there while you’re down here. That’s an important point.

But in some of the texts about guru devotion, the word used is “worship” - the student is instructed to worship the teacher.

I’ve never been encouraged by my teachers to worship anyone. There’s too much hope and fear in that kind of setup. In my opinion, it would definitely not be helpful to advise students that they should worship a guru or that they should feel wrong if they question or find fault with a guru. If I’d been given that advice, I wouldn’t have lasted very long. One has to be encouraged to use one’s critical intelligence and to express one’s concerns without fear. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, “Question authority.” Just like those bumper stickers. But you’re still left with an important question: What is it that encourages a person to hang in there so that the minute the teacher does something that you don’t like you don’t say, “I’m outta here”? We Westerners have a strong habitual tendency to idealize our authority figures. We romanticize them. For Western students what needs to be communicated is that the mind of the teacher and student meet, not by the student making the teacher all pure or all evil, but in the ambiguity between those two, in the capacity to sustain uncertainty. Otherwise, in the name of true devotion you’ll get a kind of worship that inevitably flips into vast disillusionment because sooner or later the teacher does something that the student can’t handle. We’ve seen many cases where that happens. What has to be emphasized is that students don’t accept anything without questioning. This is a standard Buddhist teaching: Don’t accept anything before you test it and test it and test it. And one should be encouraged to move as close as one can get to the teacher so that if there is any hypocrisy or deception one will see it.

And what if you do see hypocrisy?

You can stay or you can leave. But the most important point is how you handle your mind. There have been cases when teachers, both Western and Asian, have caused harm. But for the most part, what we’re talking about are students who bolt the first time a teacher doesn’t meet their preconception of what a teacher should be. You don’t like their political views, or the fact that they eat meat or drink wine . . . you’re out of there because you don’t like a change in the dharma center’s policy or you feel unappreciated or neglected. What I’ve seen is that often a student hangs in there for four or five years in a kind of honeymoon period where they endow the relationship with all their longings to be loved and to be in the ideal, non-messy relationship. Then, inevitably, because of the closeness to the teacher, they get provoked - something provokes them - and all their core, unresolved emotional issues come up. They feel betrayed, disillusioned and a lot of other habitual feelings, and then they leave the scene. I’m talking here about situations where the ordinary messiness of daily life becomes unavoidable and not of situations where there is severe abuse of power.

And in cases of severe abuse of power?

The challenge is to be able to say that something is wrong and still not demonize that teacher. To me, the main point is still how you are handling your mind. Once you start demonizing, your heart and mind get very small. Fixation in any form causes suffering. That fixation could take the form of “The guru is perfect and can never do anything wrong,” or it can take the form of “The guru is a charlatan and can do no good.” Both are expressions of freezing the mind. You know, we all love to talk about big mind, vast mind, spaciousness. But can we abide in the spaciousness that is presented to us when things fall apart? Or when the bottom falls out? Every time you hit your thumb with a hammer, the mind stops - and then the mind jumps in to build its case. Sometimes you have to leave a teacher, and that is very painful. But if you can stay with the pain instead of justifying or condemning, then that teacher has taught you well. It may sound corny, but I think that love is where it’s at. Not romantic or possessive love, but this unconditionally steadfast relationship with ourselves and with other people - that’s what I’m talking about. If a teacher never gives up on a student, that’s what I mean by love. And if a student also never gives up on the teacher, then in that situation of complete openness there can be a meeting of minds. But if either the teacher or the student have fixed ideas of what they are going to achieve, or how to deal with each other, or who they think the other one is, then communication gets blocked.

Would you say, then, that the practice is learning to love the guru in this open-ended way?

Yes, and we’re not used to this kind of love. To love and be loved unconditionally is what we all want to receive, and what we all have difficulty giving. And then add into the equation that the teacher-student relationship is not exclusive. That’s really not what we’re generally looking for. So, as students we usually enter into the relationship with our habitual, neurotic relationship patterns. If we have jealousy issues, if we have abandonment issues, those will come up with a teacher. On the other hand, if we persevere and experience our emotional difficulties as path, then the relationship evolves. In my case, when I saw Rinpoche not giving up on other people I began to trust that he would not give up on me. So the experience of seeing that the teacher can love so many people and wish to dissolve the suffering of so many people can help the student develop more love and trust for both themselves and the teacher.

Something happened along those lines once that had a profound effect on me. One time when Trungpa Rinpoche was in retreat, one of his longtime students was there with him. The student was having emotional difficulties and causing a lot of problems for everyone. So the other students began wishing that this man, let’s call him Joe, would go away, and they told Rinpoche about all the problems with this man’s aggressive behavior. But Rinpoche just seemed to ignore their complaints. At one point, though, Rinpoche walked into the room just as Joe had lashed out viciously at a woman and slapped her. Then Rinpoche did something that was very atypical. He said to Joe, “Out! I want you out now!” Joe was completely devastated and could not believe it. He said, “But Rinpoche . . .” And Rinpoche just said, “Out, I don’t want to see your face again,” and he left the room. After Joe left, Rinpoche came into the living room and all the other students gathered around him and said, “We’re so glad you got rid of Joe. He did this yesterday and that the day before and this morning . . . Thank you for sending him away.” Then Rinpoche drew himself up and said very firmly: “I think you do not understand that Joe and I are the best of friends.” So that’s the kind of love I’m talking about. I felt like Trungpa Rinpoche would step in front of a train if it would get through to you.

But how did Joe feel?

At that moment the rug got pulled out and I’m sure it hurt a lot. But later, Joe said that Rinpoche’s throwing him out saved his life.

I wonder if this classic teacher/student relationship that you’re describing is being diluted as Western teachers incorporate their cultural beliefs into the dharma.

This kind of question comes up whenever the dharma goes to a new land. The teachers from the new country naturally draw from their own culture. So it’s always an experimental time in that way. And there are Asian teachers now who naturally fear that the dharma could be corrupted. I think that creates a good balance. The more they fear corruption, the more that causes Western teachers to make sure that they aren’t corrupting. If someone you respect says, “I think that you’re going astray,” you have three choices: You can become defensive; you can buy it hook, line and sinker; or - the middle way - you can just let it process you. That middle way is the one I would suggest. Just let it process you. There’s no problem with being questioned and challenged. Yet there is no other way but to experiment. Buddhism is going to look different in the West. If the essence were lost, that would be a tragedy. But keeping the essence doesn’t mean not changing anything.

What kind of challenge do you find in being a teacher of Buddhism as it comes to a new culture? Being a teacher is a constant training. Training to be sane. To be genuine. To be honest. And to not hide behind some title. I feel that I am at the kindergarten level with this. But it is joyful to pass the dharma on. Generations of teachers have dedicated their lives to realizing these teachings and to passing them on, and that lineage of wisdom could be lost, so it’s wondrous that the teachings can take root in a new land and be digested by Western people. That’s what Trungpa Rinpoche said again and again: “You people are the ones. I’m going to die. If you don’t understand what I’m saying and pass it on, then nothing will grow and the dharma in the West will not survive.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

German Evangelical Church (Evangelische Kirche In Deutschland [EKD]) Daily Readings (Evangelium Tag Für Tag) For Wednesday, 18 May (Mittwoch, 18 Mai)

From ETfT:


«Herr, zu wem sollen wir gehen? Du hast Worte des ewigen Lebens.» Joh. 6,68

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Mittwoch der 4. Osterwoche

Heiligen des Tages : Hl. Johannes I.

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Hl. Johannes I.

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Johannes I.

Papst, Märtyrer

* um 470 in der Toskana in Italien

† 18. Mai 526 in Ravenna in Italien

Johannes war 523-526 Bischof von Rom. Italien wurde damals vom arianischen Ostgotenkönig Theoderich beherrscht, der die Katholiken im Allgemeinen nicht schlecht behandelte. Als aber im oströmischen Reich Kaiser Justin I. streng gegen die Arianer vorging, versuchte Theoderich ihnen zu helfen und sandte zu diesem Zweck eine Abordnung an den Kaiser. Papst Johannes musste gegen seinen Willen die Abordnung anführen. In Konstantinopel erreichte er nicht viel. Bei seiner Rückkehr wurde er von dem misstrauischen Theoderich in Ravenna festgehalten und starb dort nach wenigen Tagen. Sein Leib wurde 530 nach Rom überführt.

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Hl. Blandine Merten

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Blandine Merten


* 10. Juli 1883 in Düppenweiler im Saarland

† 18. Mai 1918 in Trier in Rheinland-Pfalz

Blandina - mit Geburtsnamen Maria Magdalena - trat 1908 dem Ursulinenorden bei. Sie war als Lehrerin in Saarbrücken und in Trier tätig, bis sie an Tuberkulose erkrankte, woran sie starb. Während ihres Lebens wurde sie durch ihre Frömmigkeit, während ihrer Krankheit durch ihren tiefen Glauben und ihre Geduld bekannt.

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Hl. Burkhard

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Burkhard


* auf dem Hof Langenmatt bei Muri in der Schweiz

† 18. Mai 1192 (?) in Beinwil (Freiamt) in der Schweiz

Burkhard wurde im Benediktinerkloster Muri ausgebildet und wirkte dann als Priester in Beinwil (Freiamt) im Aargau. Er soll viele wundertätige Handlungen vollbracht haben.

Legenden erzählen, dass Burkhard eine Dohle auferzogen und so zahm gemacht hatte, dass sie ganz zutraulich und ihm treu ergeben war. Als seine Hausgenossen während seiner Abwesenheit ein ausschweifendes Leben führten, erzählte die Dohle, was sie gesehen hatte und gehört hatte; die Bediensteten fassten daraufhin den Entschluss, das Tier zu töten, erwürgten die Dohle und warfen sie in eine tiefe Grube neben dem Pfarrhaus. Bei seiner Rückkehr vermisste Burkhard die gewohnte Begrüssung durch seinen Vogel; er ahnte nichts Gutes, suchte nach seinem Haustier und vernahm er das traurige Krächzen der Dohle, die ihm ihren unschuldigen Tod klagte und das Verhalten des Hausgenossen beschrieb.

Eine andere Überlieferung erzählt von einer todkranken Frau im Hofe Unterhorben - auch Schneggen genannt. Burkhard wurde gerufen, um sie zu versehen. Nach halber Wegdistanz kam ihm ein Bote entgegen und meldete, dass die Kranke bereits gestorben sei, doch Burkard setzte seinen Weg fort, betete und flehte im Sterbezimmer zu Gott, bis - zur Verwunderung aller Anwesenden - die Tote nochmals zum Leben erwachte, das Sakrament der heiligen Ölung empfing und alsdann ruhig entschlafen konnte.

Burkhard wurde in der Krypta der Kirche in Beinwil (Freiamt) bestattet, sein Grab ist seit dem 13. Jahrhundert und bis heute Ziel von Wallfahrten. Das Burkardusfest wird in Beinwil am Montag nach Christi Himmelfahrt gefeiert.

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Hl. Dietmar

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Dietmar (Thetmar)


† 18. (oder 17.) Mai 1152

Thetmar war Chorherr in Neumünster. Er unterstützte Vicelin von Oldenburg bei der Missionsarbeit unter den Wenden in Holstein und galt als besonders mildtätig gegenüber Armen und Notleidenden.

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Hl. Dioscorus

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Dioscorus


† um 304 in Alexandria in Ägypten

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Hl. Erik IX.

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Erik IX.

König von Schweden, Märtyrer

* in Schweden

† 1160 bei Uppsala in Schweden

Erik wurde nach dem Tod seines Vaters schon 1150 König von Schweden; er war ein frommer, asketischer Mann, auf die Erhebung von Steuern verzichtete er. Zu seiner Zeit war Schweden zwar schon nominell christianisiert, aber in Kultur und Lebenspraxis noch sehr in heidnischen Formen verhaftet. In seiner Regierungszeit stärkte er die Kirche und versuchte, den christlichen Glauben zu festigen. Erik unternahm mit seinem Bischof Heinrich 1154 und 1156/57 siegreiche Kreuzzüge gegen die Finnen, gründete dort Klöster und Kirchen.

1160 wurde er nach dem Besuch der Heiligen Messe am Himmelfahrtstag aufgrund einer vom dänischen Prinzen Magnus Henriksson angezettelten Verschwörung ermordert: "Sie haueten und erstachen ihn unwürdiglich." Erzählt wird, dass eine blinde Witwe, in deren Haus die Diener den Leichnam brachten, ihre Augen mit seinem Blut berührte und sehend wurde.

Mittwoch, 18 Mai 2011

Hl. Felix

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Felix


* 1515 in Cantalice in Italien

† 18. Mai 1587 im Kloster nahe Cittaducale in Italien

Der Hirtenknabe Felix verbrachte schon in seiner Jugend viele Andachtsstunden vor einem in einen Baum eingeschnitzten Kruzifix. 1543 fand er zu den Kapuzinern in Cittaducale, als der Ordensgeneral gerade den kurz zuvor aus dem Franziskanerorden hervorgegangenen Orden verließ, zu den Protestanten konvertierte und nach Genf floh. Der junge Orden, Hoffnungsträger kirchlicher Erneuerung, war bis in die Grundfesten erschüttert und drohte daran zu zerbrechen.

Felix war ein einfacher Mensch. Über 40 Jahre lang war er Almosensammler für seinen Orden in Rom. Wegen des dadurch bedingten häufigen Dankens trug er den Beinamen "Bruder Deo Gratias". Nachts schlief er nur zwei, drei Stunden; der Rest gehörte dem Gebet. Stundenlang konnte er nachts in der Kapelle vor dem Altar beten. In der innigen Verbindung zum leidenden Jesus lag sein Kraftquell. Trotz schwerer und schmerzhafter Erkrankung an Koliken weigerte er sich, Gott um Linderung zu bitten: "Wenn Gott mir Schmerzen schickt, warum sollte ich nicht aus Liebe zu ihm leiden?". Er war mystisch begabt, hatte zahlreiche Visionen der Maria und konnte in die Zukunft schauen. Er wollte anderen Menschen dienen, wollte ein Lastesel sein und auch "lieber unter dem Sattel sterben", als dass er im hohen Alter die angebotenen Erleichterungen angenommen hätte. Als er starb, trauerte das Volk, seinen Sarg begleiteten Papst und Kardinäle.

Kommentar zum heutigen Evangelium -

Hl. Augustinus : „Wer mich sieht, sieht den, der mich gesandt hat.“

Apostelgeschichte 12,24-25.13,1-5.

Das Wort des Herrn aber wuchs und breitete sich aus.

Nachdem Barnabas und Saulus in Jerusalem ihre Aufgabe erfüllt hatten, kehrten sie zurück; Johannes mit dem Beinamen Markus nahmen sie mit.

In der Gemeinde von Antiochia gab es Propheten und Lehrer: Barnabas und Simeon, genannt Niger, Luzius von Zyrene, Manaën, ein Jugendgefährte des Tetrarchen Herodes, und Saulus.

Als sie zu Ehren des Herrn Gottesdienst feierten und fasteten, sprach der Heilige Geist: Wählt mir Barnabas und Saulus zu dem Werk aus, zu dem ich sie mir berufen habe.

Da fasteten und beteten sie, legten ihnen die Hände auf und ließen sie ziehen.

Vom Heiligen Geist ausgesandt, zogen sie nach Seleuzia hinab und segelten von da nach Zypern.

Als sie in Salamis angekommen waren, verkündeten sie das Wort Gottes in den Synagogen der Juden. Johannes hatten sie als Helfer bei sich.

Psalm 67(66),2-

Gott sei uns gnädig und segne uns. Er lasse über uns sein Angesicht leuchten, [Sela]

damit auf Erden sein Weg erkannt wird und unter allen Völkern sein Heil.

Die Nationen sollen sich freuen und jubeln. Denn du richtest den Erdkreis gerecht. Du richtest die Völker nach Recht und regierst die Nationen auf Erden. [Sela]

Die Völker sollen dir danken, o Gott, danken sollen dir die Völker alle.

Es segne uns Gott. Alle Welt fürchte und ehre ihn.

Evangelium nach Johannes 12,44-50.

Jesus aber rief aus: Wer an mich glaubt, glaubt nicht an mich, sondern an den, der mich gesandt hat,

und wer mich sieht, sieht den, der mich gesandt hat.

Ich bin das Licht, das in die Welt gekommen ist, damit jeder, der an mich glaubt, nicht in der Finsternis bleibt.

Wer meine Worte nur hört und sie nicht befolgt, den richte nicht ich; denn ich bin nicht gekommen, um die Welt zu richten, sondern um sie zu retten.

Wer mich verachtet und meine Worte nicht annimmt, der hat schon seinen Richter: Das Wort, das ich gesprochen habe, wird ihn richten am Letzten Tag.

Denn was ich gesagt habe, habe ich nicht aus mir selbst, sondern der Vater, der mich gesandt hat, hat mir aufgetragen, was ich sagen und reden soll.

Und ich weiß, daß sein Auftrag ewiges Leben ist. Was ich also sage, sage ich so, wie es mir der Vater gesagt hat.

Auszug aus der liturgischen Übersetzung der Bibel

Kommentar zum heutigen Evangelium :

Hl. Augustinus (354-430), Bischof von Hippo (Nordafrika) und Kirchenlehrer

Über die Dreifaltigkeit, I,13,30-31

„Wer mich sieht, sieht den, der mich gesandt hat.“

Jemand hat Jesus „guter Meister“ genannt, als er ihn fragte, wie er das ewige Leben erlangen könnte, und diese Antwort erhalten: „Warum nennst du mich gut? Niemand ist gut außer Gott, dem Einen.“ (Mk 10,17-18)... Ja, wenn ich dir in meiner göttlichen Gestalt vor Augen stehe, dann bin ich gut, doch wenn du mich nur als Mensch siehst, der momentan vor dir steht, warum fragst du mich dann nach dem Guten - wenn du nämlich zu denen gehörst, die erst „auf den blicken, den sie durchbohrt haben“? (Joh 19,37; Sach 12,10) Dieser Anblick wird ihnen zum Unglück gereichen, denn es wird ein Blick sein, der zur Verurteilung führt.

Denn es gibt eine Schau, in der wir die unwandelbare Substanz Gottes schauen werden, die für die menschlichen Augen unsichtbar ist, und diese Schau ist einzig den Heiligen verheißen. Es ist die Schau, die der Apostel Paulus eine Schau „von Angesicht zu Angesicht“ nennt (1Kor 13,12). Von dieser Schau sagt der Apostel Johannes: „Wir werden Gott ähnlich sein, da wir ihn sehen, wie er ist“ (vgl. 1Joh 3,2) und der Psalmist: „Nur eines erbitte ich vom Herrn: dass ich schaue die Wonne des Herrn“ (Ps 26,4 V). Der Herr selbst spricht davon: „Ich werde ihn lieben und mich ihm offenbaren“ (Joh 14,21). Um dieser Schau willen reinigen wir unsere Herzen durch den Glauben, damit wir zu diesen „reinen Herzen“ gehören, „die Gott schauen werden“ (Mt 5,8). Allein diese Schau ist unser größter Schatz, und um sie zu erlangen, unternehmen wir all diese Anstrengungen, wenn wir Gutes tun.

Mutts: Shelter Stories

From Mutts:

comic strip

Greek Orthodox Church Daily Readings For Wednesday, 18 May


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Daily Scripture Readings and Lives of the Saints for Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fast Day (Wine and Oil Allowed)

Readings for today:

Acts of the Apostles 14:6-18

John 7:14-30

Feasts and Saints celebrated today:

4th Wednesday after Pascha - Mid-Pentecost

Holy Martyrs: Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, Christina, Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus

Julian the Martyr

Euphrasia the Martyr of Nicea

Epistle Reading

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 14:6-18

IN THOSE DAYS, the apostles fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of

Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country; and there they preached the

gospel. Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his

feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to

Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he

had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, "Stand upright

on your feet." And he sprang up and walked. And when the crowds

saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in

Lycaonian, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!"

Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, because he was the chief speaker,

they called Hermes. And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front

of the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to

offer sacrifice with the people. But when the apostles Barnabas and

Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the

multitude, crying, "Men, why are you doing this? We also are men, of

like nature with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn

from these vain things to a living God who made the heaven and the

earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he

allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways; yet he did not leave

himself without witness, for he did good and gave you from heaven rains

and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and

gladness." With these words they scarcely restrained the people from

offering sacrifice to them.

(c) 2011 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Gospel Reading

The reading is from John 7:14-30

About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught.

The Jews marveled at it saying, "How is it that this man has

learning, when he has never studied?" So Jesus answered them, "My teaching

is not mine, but his who sent me; if any man's will is to do his

will, he shall know whether the teacher is from God or whether I am

speaking on my own authority. He who speaks on his own authority seeks his

own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true,

and in him there is not falsehood. Did not Moses give you the law?

Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?" The

people answered, "You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?" Jesus

answered them, "I did one deed, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you

circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you

circumcise a man upon the sabbath. If on the sabbath a man receives

circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me

because on the sabbath I made a man's whole body well? Do not judge by

appearances, but judge with right judgment."

Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, "Is not this the man

whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say

nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is

the Christ? Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the

Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from." So Jesus

proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, "You know me, and you know where I

come from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is

true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he

sent me." So they sought to arrest him; but no one laid hands on him,

because his hour had not yet come.

(c) 2011 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

4th Wednesday after Pascha - Mid-Pentecost

Reading from the Synaxarion:

After the Saviour had miraculously healed the paralytic, the Jews,

especially the Pharisees and Scribes, were moved with envy and persecuted

Him, and sought to slay Him, using the excuse that He did not keep the

Sabbath, since He worked miracles on that day. Jesus then departed to

Galilee. About the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles, He went up again to

the Temple and taught. The Jews, marvelling at the wisdom of His

words, said, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" But

Christ first reproached their unbelief and lawlessness, then proved to

them by the Law that they sought to slay Him unjustly, supposedly as a

despiser of the Law, since He had healed the paralytic on the Sabbath.

Therefore, since the things spoken by Christ in the middle of the Feast of

Tabernacles are related to the Sunday of the Paralytic that is just passed,

and since we have already reached the midpoint of the fifty days

between Pascha and Pentecost, the Church has appointed this present feast

as a bond between the two great feasts, thereby uniting, as it were,

the two into one, and partaking of the grace of them both. Therefore

today's feast is called Mid-Pentecost, and the Gospel Reading, "At

Mid-feast"--though it refers to the Feast of Tabernacles--is used.

It should be noted that there were three great Jewish feasts: the

Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Passover was celebrated

on the 15th of Nisan, the first month of the Jewish calendar, which

coincides roughly with our March. This feast commemorated that day on which

the Hebrews were commanded to eat the lamb in the evening and anoint

the doors of their houses with its blood. Then, having escaped

bondage and death at the hands of the Egyptians, they passed through the

Red Sea to come to the Promised Land. It is also called "the Feast of

Unleavened Bread," because they ate unleavened bread for seven days.

Pentecost was celebrated fifty days after the Passover, first of all,

because the Hebrew tribes had reached Mount Sinai after leaving Egypt,

and there received the Law from God; secondly, it was celebrated to

commemorate their entry into the Promised Land, where also they ate bread,

after having been fed with manna forty years in the desert. Therefore,

on this day they offered to God a sacrifice of bread prepared with

new wheat. Finally, they also celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles

from the 15th to the 22nd of "the seventh month," which corresponds

roughly to our September. During this time, they live in booths made of

branches in commemoration of the forty years they spent in the desert,

living in tabernacles, that is, tents (Ex. 12:10-20; Lev. 23).

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

At Mid-feast give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of

piety; for Thou, O Saviour, didst cry out to all: Whosoever is thirsty,

let him come to Me and drink. Wherefore, O Well-spring of life,

Christ our God, glory be to Thee.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

O sovereign Master and Creator of all things, O Christ our God,

Thou didst cry unto those present at the Judaic Mid-feast and address

them thus: Come and draw the water of immortality freely. Wherefore,

we fall down before Thee and faithfully cry out: Grant Thy

compassions unto us, O Lord, for Thou are truly the Wellspring of life for


This content is under copyright and is used with permission, all rights reserved:

Reading (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Apolytikion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Kontakion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Holy Martyrs: Peter, Dionysius, Andrew, Paul, Christina, Heraclius, Paulinus and Benedimus

Reading from the Synaxarion:

These Saints all contested in martyrdom during the reign of Decius

(249-251)- Peter was from Lampsacus in the Hellespont. For refusing to offer

sacrifice to the idol of Aphrodite, his whole body was crushed and broken

with chains and pieces of wood on a torture-wheel; having endured this

torment courageously, he gave up his soul.

Paul and Andrew were soldiers from Mesopotamia brought to Athens with

their governor, there they were put in charge of two captive

Christians, Dionysios and Christina. The soldiers, seeing the beauty of the

virgin Christina, attempted to move her to commit sin with them, but she

refused and, by her admonitions, brought them to faith in Christ. They

and Dionysios were stoned to death, and Christina was beheaded.

Heraclius, Paulinus, and Benedimus were Athenians, and preachers of the

Gospel who turned many of the heathen from their error to the light of

Christ. Brought before the governor, they confessed their Faith, and

after many torments were beheaded.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

Thy Martyrs, O Lord, in their courageous contest for Thee received as

the prize the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal

God. For since they possessed Thy strength, they cast down the

tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O

Christ God, by their prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Ye were born of earth, and came from divers cities, but became the

citizens of that blest city in the heights, being united in one great

choir, O stalwart Martyrs who championed the Trinity.

This content is under copyright and is used with permission, all rights reserved:

Reading (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Apolytikion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Kontakion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Lectio Divina: 22 May

From The American Bible Society:

May 22, 2011

Fifth Sunday of Easter


John 14:1-12 (Good News Translation)

1 “Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. Believe in God and believe also in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. 3 And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. 4 You know the way that leads to the place where I am going. ” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?” 6 Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me. 7 Now that you have known me, ” he said to them, “you will know my Father also, and from now on you do know him and you have seen him. ” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.” 9 Jesus answered, “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, “Show us the Father”? 10 Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you, ” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do. 12 I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes, they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.

Other Readings: Acts 6:1-7; Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; 1 Peter 2:4-9;


The ‘first’ readings for the Sunday Mass in the Easter Season are all taken from the book of Acts. They present a glimpse of the growth and evolution of the small Christian community born in Jerusalem, and very soon moving throughout, and developing in, the whole Mediterranean. It is important to assess how two different approaches coexist in the New Testament when dealing with the Church: from the most ‘idealized’ view, to the most ‘realistic’ and down to earth. In today’s liturgy, the text from 1Peter is a good example of an ‘ideal’ Church: ‘a chosen race,’ ‘the holy nation,’ ‘God’s own people’… the Kingdom of God in the midst of a heathen, sinful world! In the same way, Paul speaks about the community as ‘Christ’s body’ (1Corinthians 13). John insists on our being not only ‘God’s children,’ … but also ‘when Christ appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is’ (1 John 3). Luke, in Acts (2:43-47; 4:32-37), describes the community of Jerusalem as a group of believers which, through their solidarity, piety and sanctity, filled everybody with awe. Of course, that ideal vision of the Church must be contrasted with other descriptions provided by the same writers. We could start with Luke himself. Even before the division created by the different way of dealing with the widows in function of their origin (Acts 6), in the beginning of chapter 5 we find greed and lies related to money, something which leads to Ananias’ and Sapphira’s death. In 1 Corinthians, Paul complains about and criticizes not only a number of cases of immorality in the community, but the fact that their divisions reach even the way in which they celebrate the Eucharist. James deplores the differences in the way of treating members of the community due to outward appearance and economical status (James 2:1-6). Paradox, if not contradiction, seems to be the best word to describe the Church, both then and now. The old phrase ‘a Church of sinners, a Church of saints’ was and is still valid. However, there is no point in despairing because of those contradictions between the ideal proposed by the gospel and the humble reality of our Christian life. We can find that gap even in the way the Apostles themselves struggled in their experience of following Christ. ‘For a long time I have been with you all; yet, you do not know me, Philip?’, complains Jesus when he sees they still do not understand him nor his mission, not even his words. We can find comfort in the fact of knowing that we are ‘on our way’ towards the Father and the Kingdom. Not only that, we know that Jesus himself is the Way; that he is the Truth which makes us able to understand our vocation to faith; that he is the Life which may enliven and vivify the dryness and sterility of our Christian life. Undoubtedly, we know quite well that, in spite of our failures and shortcomings, the Lord is faithful to his promises. That is why we must ‘not be worried’.


During the Last Supper, Jesus announces to the disciples his double departure (to be crucified and, after the resurrection, to return to his Father), and that announcement provokes in them feelings of sadness and abandonment. They feel lonely, for they do not understand in which way the Lord is going to accompany them. Do you experience the absence of the Lord in your life? Or are you able to find him close to you in your moments of joy or distress? Our lives are full of ‘crossroads’ in which we have to decide between a number of choices. If you are in any situation of that kind, see how Christ, the Way, can help you to find the right path. Open your eyes and try to see if someone close to you needs your help to discover his own way.


Pray for those who feel disappointed (yourself, perhaps) because of the faults and sins of churchmen. Pray that we may not become judges of others but feel the Lord’s help and guidance beyond our human failures. Pray for yourself, that through your faith and fidelity you may also perform ‘greater things’ thanks to Christ’s intercession before the Father.


‘Do not be worried’ says the Lord. Try to analyze which things ‘worry’ you; what makes you feel insecure, fearful. Your health or your family? Your economy or your job? Read peacefully and find comfort in Paul’s words: ‘Who can separate us from the love of Christ?’ (Romans 8:28-39).

© 2010 American Bible Society

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Perfect Balance

From Tricycle:

Awake in the World

on practice

A Perfect Balance

Cultivating equanimity with Gil Fronsdal and Sayadaw U Pandita

Gil Fronsdal; Sayadaw U

Equanimity, one of the most sublime emotions of Buddhist practice, is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will.”

The English word “equanimity” translates two separate Pali words used by the Buddha, upekkha and tatramajjhattata. Upekkha, the more common term, means “to look over” and refers to the equanimity that arises from the power of observation—the ability to see without being caught by what we see. When well developed, such power gives rise to a great sense of peace.

© Amy RuppelUpekkha can also refer to the spaciousness that comes from seeing a bigger picture. Colloquially, in India the word was sometimes used to mean “to see with patience.” We might understand this as “seeing with understanding.” For example, when we know not to take offensive words personally, we are less likely to react to what was said. And by not reacting there is greater possibility to respond from wisdom and compassion. This form of equanimity is sometimes compared to grandmotherly love. The grandmother clearly loves her grandchildren but, thanks to her experience with her own children, is less likely to be caught up in the drama of the grandchildren’s lives.

Still more qualities of equanimity are revealed by the term tatramajjhattata, a long compound made of simple Pali words. Tatra, meaning “there,” sometimes refers to “all these things.” Majjha means “middle,” and tata means “to stand or to pose.” Put together, the word becomes “to stand in the middle of all this.” As a form of equanimity, this “being in the middle” refers to balance, to remaining centered in the middle of whatever is happening. This form of balance comes from some inner strength or stability. The strong presence of inner calm, well-being, confidence, vitality, or integrity can keep us upright, like ballast keeps a ship upright in strong winds (see “Seven Supports for Equanimity,”). As inner strength develops, for example, from the accumulation of mindfulness in the ordinary moments of life, equanimity follows.

Equanimity is a protection from what are called the Eight Worldly Winds: praise and blame, success and failure, pleasure and pain, fame and disrepute. Becoming attached to or excessively elated with success, praise, fame, or pleasure can be a setup for suffering when the winds of change shift. For example, success can be wonderful, but if it leads to arrogance, we have more to lose in future challenges. Becoming personally invested in praise can tend toward conceit. Identifying with failure, we may feel incompetent or inadequate. Reacting to pain, we may become discouraged. If we understand or feel that our sense of inner well-being is independent of the Eight Winds, we are more likely to remain on an even keel in their midst.

A simple definition of “equanimity,” considering the various Pali roots, is the capacity to not be caught up with what happens to us. We can practice with equanimity by studying the ways that we get caught. Instead of pursuing the ideal of balance and nonreactivity directly, we can give careful attention to how balance is lost and how reactivity is triggered. Trying to fit into some idealistic model of what being equanimous is supposed to look like can all too easily produce such threats to equanimity as indifference, aloofness, rigidity, or complacency. But when the obstacles are understood and removed, then the resulting equanimity can be the foundation for caring, presence, flexibility and diligence.

—Gil Fronsdal

U Pandita on Developing Equanimity

According to the Buddha, the way to bring about equanimity is wise attention: to be continually mindful from moment to moment, without a break, based on the intention to develop equanimity. One moment of equanimity causes a succeeding moment of equanimity to arise. Once equanimity is activated, it will be the cause for equanimity to continue and to deepen. It can bring one to deep levels of practice beyond the insight into the arising and passing away of phenomena.

Equanimity does not arise easily in the minds of beginning yogis. Though these yogis may be diligent in trying to be mindful from moment to moment, equanimity comes and goes. The mind will be well-balanced for a little while and then it will go off again. Step by step, equanimity is strengthened. The intervals when it is present grow more prolonged and frequent. Eventually, equanimity becomes strong enough to qualify as a factor of enlightenment. Along with this practice of wise attention, here are five more ways to develop equanimity:

1 Balanced emotion toward all living things

The first and foremost is to have an equanimous attitude toward all living beings. These are your loved ones, including animals. We have a lot of attachment and desire associated with people we love, and also with our pets. Sometimes we can be what we call “crazy” about someone. This experience does not contribute to equanimity, which is a state of balance.

To prepare the ground for equanimity to arise, one should try to cultivate an attitude of nonattachment and equanimity toward the people and animals we love. As worldly people, it may be necessary to have a certain amount of attachment in relationships, but excessive attachment is destructive to us as well as to loved ones. We begin to worry too much over their welfare. Especially in retreat, we should try to put aside such excessive concern and worry for the welfare of our friends.

One reflection that can develop nonattachment is to regard all beings as the heirs of their own karma. People reap the rewards of good karma and suffer the consequences of unwholesome acts. They created this karma under their own volition, and no one can prevent their experiencing the consequences. On the ultimate level, there is nothing you or anybody else can do to save them. If you think in this way, you may worry less about your loved ones.

You can also gain equanimity about beings by reflecting on ultimate reality. Perhaps you can tell yourself that, ultimately speaking, there is only mind and matter. Where is that person you are so wildly in love with? There is only nama and rupa, mind and body, arising and passing away from moment to moment. Which moment are you in love with? You may be able to drive some sense into your heart this way.

© Amy RuppelOne might worry that reflections like this could turn into unfeeling indifference and lead us to abandon a mate or a dear person. This is not the case. Equanimity is not insensitivity, indifference, or apathy. It is simply nonpreferential. Under its influence, one does not push aside the things one dislikes or grasp at the things one prefers. The mind rests in an attitude of balance and acceptance of things as they are. When equanimity, this factor of enlightenment, is present, one abandons both attachment to beings and dislike for them. The texts tell us that equanimity is the cause for the cleansing and purification of one who has deep tendencies toward lust or desire, which is the opposite of equanimity.

2 Balanced emotion toward inanimate things

The second way of developing this factor of enlightenment is to adopt an attitude of balance toward inanimate things: property, clothing, the latest fad on the market. Clothing, for example, will be ripped and stained someday. It will decay and perish because it is impermanent, like everything else. Furthermore, we do not even own it, not in the ultimate sense. Everything is non-self; there is no one to own anything. To develop balance and to cut down attachment, it is helpful to look at material things as transient. You might say to yourself, “I’m going to make use of this for a short time. It’s not going to last forever.”

People who get caught up in fads may be compelled to buy each new product that appears on the market. Once this gadget has been bought, another more sophisticated model will soon appear. Such persons throw away the old one and buy a new one. This behavior does not reflect equanimity.

3 Avoiding people who “go crazy”

The third method for developing equanimity as an enlightenment factor is avoiding the company of people who tend to be crazy about people and things. These people have a deep possessiveness. They cling to what they think belongs to them, both people and things. Some people find it difficult to see another person enjoying or using their property.

There is a case of an elder who had a great attachment to pets. It seems that in his monastery he bred a lot of dogs and cats. One day this elder came to my center in Rangoon to do a retreat. When he was meditating, he was practicing under favorable circumstances, but his practice was not very deep. Finally I had an idea and asked him if he had any pets in his monastery. He brightened up and said, “Oh yes, I have so many dogs and cats. Ever since I came here I’ve been thinking about whether they have enough food to eat and how they’re doing.” I asked him to forget about the animals and concentrate on meditation, and quite soon he was making good progress.

Please do not allow overattachment to loved ones, or even pets, to prevent you from attending meditation retreats that will allow you to deepen your practice and to develop equanimity as a factor of enlightenment.

4 Choosing friends who stay cool

As a fourth method of arousing upekkha, you should choose friends who have no great attachment to beings or possessions. This method of developing equanimity is simply the converse of the preceding one. In choosing such a friend, if you happen to pick the elder I described just now, it could be a bit of a problem.

5 Inclining the mind toward balance

The fifth and last cause for this factor of enlightenment to arise is constantly to incline your mind toward the cultivation of equanimity. When your mind is inclined in this way, it will not wander off to thoughts of your dogs and cats at home, or of your loved ones. It will only become more balanced and harmonious.

Equanimity is of tremendous importance both in the practice and in everyday life. Generally we get either swept away by pleasant and enticing objects, or worked up into a great state of agitation when confronted by unpleasant, undesirable objects. This wild alternation of contraries is nearly universal among human beings. When we lack the ability to stay balanced and unfaltering, we are easily swept into extremes of craving or aversion.

The scriptures say that when the mind indulges in sensual objects, it becomes agitated. This is the usual state of affairs in the world, as we can observe. In their quest for happiness, people mistake excitement of the mind for real happiness. They never have the chance to experience greater joy that comes with peace and tranquility.

From In this Very Life by Sayadaw U Pandita, ©1991 by the Saddhamma Foundation. Reprinted with permission of Wisdom Publications.

Seven Supports for Equanimity from Gil Fronsdal

One approach to developing equanimity is to cultivate the qualities of mind that support it. Here are seven supports for equanimity:

1 Integrity

When we live and act with integrity or virtue, we feel confident about our actions and words, which results in the equanimity of blamelessness. The ancient Buddhist texts speak of being able to go into any assembly of people and feel blameless.

2 Faith

While any kind of faith can provide equanimity, faith grounded in wisdom is especially powerful. The Pali word for faith, saddha, is also translated as “conviction” or confidence. If we have confidence, for example, in our ability to engage in a spiritual practice, then we are more likely to meet its challenges with equanimity.

3 A well-developed mind

Much as we might develop physical strength, balance, and stability of the body in a gym, so too can we develop strength, balance, and stability of the mind. This is done through practices that cultivate calm, concentration, and mindfulness. When the mind is calm, we are less likely to be blown about by the worldly winds.

4 Well-being

In Buddhism, it’s considered appropriate and helpful to cultivate and enhance our well-being. It is all too easy to overlook the well-being that is easily available in daily life. Even taking time to enjoy one’s tea or the sunset can be a training in letting in well-being.

5 Wisdom

Wisdom can teach us to separate people’s actions from who they are. We can agree or disagree with their actions, but remain balanced in our relationship with a person. Or we can understand that our own thoughts and impulses are the result of impersonal conditions. By not taking them so personally, we are more likely to stay at ease with their arising.

One of the most powerful ways to use wisdom to facilitate equanimity is to be mindful of when equanimity is absent. Honest awareness of what makes us imbalanced helps us to learn how to find balance. Wisdom can also be an important factor in learning to have an accepting awareness, to be present without the mind or heart contracting or resisting.

6 Insight

Insight is a deep seeing into the nature of things as they are. One of the primary insights is the nature of impermanence. In the deepest forms of insight, we see that things change so quickly that we can’t hold onto anything, and eventually the mind lets go of clinging. Letting go brings equanimity; the greater the letting go, the deeper the equanimity.

7 Freedom

Freedom comes when we begin to let go of our reactive tendencies. We can get a taste of what this means by noticing areas in which we were once reactive but are no longer so. For example, some issues that upset us when we were teenagers prompt no reaction at all now that we are adults. In Buddhist practice, we work to expand the range of life experiences in which we are free.

The Buddha on Equanimity

As a solid mass of rock

Is not stirred by the wind,

So a sage is not moved

By praise and blame.

As a deep lake

Is clear and undisturbed,

So a sage becomes clear

Upon hearing the Dharma.

Virtuous people always let go.

They don't prattle about pleasures and desires.

Touched by happiness and then by suffering,

The sage shows no sign of being elated or depressed.

—Dhammapada 81-83

When a practitioner has discerned formations by attributing the three characteristics [non-self, impermanence, and suffering] to them and seeing them as empty in this way, he abandons both terror and delight, and becomes indifferent to them and neutral. The practitioner neither takes them as ''I'' nor as "mine" and is like a person who has divorced a spouse [and in so doing become unaffected by the doings of the ex-spouse).

—Visuddhimagga 21.61

Equanimity is characterized as promoting neutrality toward all beings. Its function is to see equality in beings. It is manifested as the quieting of resentment and approval. Its proximate cause is seeing ownership of deeds [karma] thus:

"Beings are owners of their deeds. Whose [if not theirsl is the choice by which they will become happy, or will get free from suffering, or will not fall away from the success they have reached?" It succeeds when it makes resentment and approval subside, and it fails when it produces the equanimity of unknowing.

—Visuddhimagga 9.96

Rahula, develop meditation that is like the earth, for then agreeable and disagreeable sensory impressions will not take charge of your mind. Just as when people throw what is clean and unclean on the earth—feces, urine, saliva, pus, or blood—the earth is not horrified, humiliated, or disgusted by it; in the same way, agreeable and disagreeable sensory impressions will not take charge of you mind when you develop meditation like the earth.

—Majjhima-nikaya 62

Gil Fronsdal has trained in both the Soto Zen and Insight Meditation Society schools of Buddhism since 1975 and has a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Stanford University. Sayadaw U Pandita is the abbot of Panditarama Monastery and Meditation Center in Rangoon, Burma.

Image 1: Blue Virus V, 2005, paper, oil, and beeswax on birch, 10 x 10 inches. © Amy Ruppel

Image 2: Blue Virus III, 2005, paper, oil, and beeswax on birch, 10 x 10 inches. © Amy Ruppel

* A chart included in the print version, "Decoding The Four Immeasurables," is available in the PDF version of the article available here.

(Dutch) Reformed Church In America Daily Prayer Request For Tuesday, 17 May

From The Reformed Church In America:

May 17 Prayer Request

Pray for pastors in the Synod of the Heartland who are currently participating in a Foundational Coach Training event. Pray for the presence of the Spirit as they learn and practice the art of coaching.

Today's Scripture: Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

Psalm 31

Prayer and Praise for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;

do not let me ever be put to shame;

in your righteousness deliver me.

2 Incline your ear to me;

rescue me speedily.

Be a rock of refuge for me,

a strong fortress to save me.

3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress;

for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,

4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me,

for you are my refuge.

5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;

you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

15 My times are in your hand;

deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

16 Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your steadfast love.

German Evangelical Church (Evangelsiche Kirche In Deutschland [EKD]) Daily Readings (Evangelium Tag Für Tag) For Tuesday, 17 May (Dienstag, 17 Mai)

From ETfT:


«Herr, zu wem sollen wir gehen? Du hast Worte des ewigen Lebens.» Joh. 6,68

Dienstag, 17 Mai 2011

Dienstag der 4. Osterwoche

Heiligen des Tages : Hl. Paschalis Baylon, Hl. Walter

Dienstag, 17 Mai 2011

Hl. Paschalis Baylon

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Paschalis Baylon


* 16. Mai 1540 in Torrehermosa in Aragonien in Spanien

† 17. Mai 1592 im Kloster in Villareal (valenzianisch: Vila-real) bei Valencia in Spanien

Paschalis, Sohn armer Eltern und in seinen Jugendjahren als Hirte tätig, trat mit 17 Jahren ins Franziskanerkloster ein und wurde 1564 als Laienbruder in den Franziskanerorden strengster Observanz aufgenommen. Er diente als Pförtner in verschiedenen Klöstern und zeichnete sich in jeglicher Arbeit aus durch größte Bußstrenge, Armut, Demut, Nächstenliebe und eucharistische Frömmigkeit mit reichen mystischen Erfahrungen. Er starb am Pfingstsonntag - an einem Pfingstsonntag war er auch geboren worde.

An seinem Grab in der Klosterkirche von Villareal (valenzianisch: Vila-real) ereigneten sich zahlreiche Wunder. Im spanischen Bürgerkrieg 1936 wurden seine Gebeine verbrannt.

Dienstag, 17 Mai 2011

Hl. Walter

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Walter

Abt in Mondsee

† 17. Mai 1158 in Mondsee in Oberösterreich

Walter wurde nach der Ermordung des Abtes Konrad 1145 zum Abt des Benediktinerklosters in Mondsee ernannt. Seine Tugend wurde zum Vorbild.

Walter wurde er in der Abteikirche in Mondsee beigesetzt.

Dienstag, 17 Mai 2011

Hl. Rasso von Andechs

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Rasso von Andechs

Graf von Dießen-Andechs, Laienbruder

* um 900 in Bayern

† 19. Juni 954 (oder 953) in Wörth, dem heutigen Grafrath in Bayern

Rasso, der Überlieferung nach ein Sohn des Grafen von Dießen-Andechs, war demnach 2,50 Meter groß *, Ritter, berühmter Feldherr und von Herzog Heinrich I. zur Abwehr von Angriffen der Ungarn im Innviertel eingesetzt. Danach quittierte er den Kriegsdienst und gründete in Wörth - dem heutigen Grafrath - ein Benediktinerkloster, das aber schon 955 von den Ungarn zerstört wurde. Rasso begab sich auf Pilgerfahrt ins Heilige Land, brachte wertvolle Reliquien mit und legte damit den Grundstock für den berühmten „Heiligen Schatz“, der in der Burg Andechs noch heute gezeigt wird. Er trat dann - kinderlos geblieben - selbst als Laienbruder in sein Kloster ein.

1132 ist in Grafrath - dem nach „Graf Rattho“ umbenannten früheren Wörth - eine Kapelle mit Gebeinen von Rasso bezeugt. Die Wallfahrt nach Grafrath hatte im Mittelalter und bis in die Neuzeit großen Zulauf. Aufzeichnungen der Wunder aus den Jahren 1444 bis 1728 sind erhalten mit 12.131 Einträgen. 1867 wurden die Gebeine von den Räubern der daraufhin berühmt gewordenen „Rasso-Bande“ entwendet und auf den Feldern verstreut, dann in Augsburg wieder neu zusammengefügt. 1640 verfasste der Dekan des Klosters in Dießen Rassos legendarische Lebensgeschichte. 1678 wurde in Grafrath ein Kloster gegründet. Die 1468 feierlich erhobenen Gebeine von Rasso ruhen seit 1695 in einem Schrein auf dem Hochaltar der Klosterkirche in Grafrath. Seit 1714 besteht in Untergammenried bei Bad Wörishofen eine Wallfahrt, in der Klosterkirche in Andechs ist ihm ein Altar geweiht.

Kommentar zum heutigen Evangelium -

Hl. Augustinus : „Wie lange noch willst du uns hinhalten?“

Apostelgeschichte 11,19-26.

Bei der Verfolgung, die wegen Stephanus entstanden war, kamen die Versprengten bis nach Phönizien, Zypern und Antiochia; doch verkündeten sie das Wort nur den Juden.

Einige aber von ihnen, die aus Zypern und Zyrene stammten, verkündeten, als sie nach Antiochia kamen, auch den Griechen das Evangelium von Jesus, dem Herrn.

Die Hand des Herrn war mit ihnen, und viele wurden gläubig und bekehrten sich zum Herrn.

Die Nachricht davon kam der Gemeinde von Jerusalem zu Ohren, und sie schickten Barnabas nach Antiochia.

Als er ankam und die Gnade Gottes sah, freute er sich und ermahnte alle, dem Herrn treu zu bleiben, wie sie es sich vorgenommen hatten.

Denn er war ein trefflicher Mann, erfüllt vom Heiligen Geist und von Glauben. So wurde für den Herrn eine beträchtliche Zahl hinzugewonnen.

Barnabas aber zog nach Tarsus, um Saulus aufzusuchen.

Er fand ihn und nahm ihn nach Antiochia mit. Dort wirkten sie miteinander ein volles Jahr in der Gemeinde und unterrichteten eine große Zahl von Menschen. In Antiochia nannte man die Jünger zum erstenmal Christen.

Psalm 87(86),1-3.4-5.6-7.

[Ein Psalm der Korachiter. Ein Lied.]

Der Herr liebt (Zion), seine Gründung auf heiligen Bergen; mehr als all seine Stätten in Jakob liebt er die Tore Zions.

Herrliches sagt man von dir, du Stadt unseres Gottes. [Sela]

Leute aus Ägypten und Babel zähle ich zu denen, die mich kennen; auch von Leuten aus dem Philisterland, aus Tyrus und Kusch sagt man: Er ist dort geboren.

Doch von Zion wird man sagen: Jeder ist dort geboren. Er, der Höchste, hat Zion gegründet.

Der Herr schreibt, wenn er die Völker verzeichnet: Er ist dort geboren. [Sela]

Und sie werden beim Reigentanz singen: All meine Quellen entspringen in dir.

Evangelium nach Johannes 10,22-30.

Um diese Zeit fand in Jerusalem das Tempelweihfest statt. Es war Winter,

und Jesus ging im Tempel in der Halle Salomos auf und ab.

Da umringten ihn die Juden und fragten ihn: Wie lange noch willst du uns hinhalten? Wenn du der Messias bist, sag es uns offen!

Jesus antwortete ihnen: Ich habe es euch gesagt, aber ihr glaubt nicht. Die Werke, die ich im Namen meines Vaters vollbringe, legen Zeugnis für mich ab;

ihr aber glaubt nicht, weil ihr nicht zu meinen Schafen gehört.

Meine Schafe hören auf meine Stimme; ich kenne sie, und sie folgen mir.

Ich gebe ihnen ewiges Leben. Sie werden niemals zugrunde gehen, und niemand wird sie meiner Hand entreißen.

Mein Vater, der sie mir gab, ist größer als alle, und niemand kann sie der Hand meines Vaters entreißen.

Ich und der Vater sind eins.

Auszug aus der liturgischen Übersetzung der Bibel

Kommentar zum heutigen Evangelium :

Hl. Augustinus (354-430), Bischof von Hippo (Nordafrika) und Kirchenlehrer

Über die Dreifaltigkeit, I,13,30-31

„Wie lange noch willst du uns hinhalten?“

Da er eines Wesens mit dem Vater ist, empfängt der Sohn Gottes nicht die Gewalt zu richten, sondern besitzt sie zusammen mit dem Vater. Er empfängt sie, damit die Guten und die Bösen ihn zu Gericht sitzen sehen, weil er der Menschensohn ist. Den Menschensohn zu sehen, wird selbst den Bösen gestattet, doch die Schau seiner Göttlichkeit erlangen nur diejenigen, die reinen Herzens sind, denn sie sind es, die Gott schauen werden (vgl. Mt 5,8). Was ist denn das ewige Leben, wenn nicht diese Schau, die den Schlechten verwehrt bleibt? „Dich, den einzigen wahren Gott, erkennen“, so sagt der Herr, „und Jesus Christus, den du gesandt hast.“ (vgl. Joh 17,3). Wie werden sie aber Jesus Christus selbst erkennen, wenn nicht als einzigen wahren Gott, der sich ihnen selbst zu erkennen gibt? Er wird sich zeigen voller Güte in dieser Schau, die ihn den reinen Herzen enthüllt. „Lauter Güte ist Gott für Israel, für alle Menschen mit reinem Herzen.“ (Ps 73,1). Gott allein ist gut.

Deshalb nämlich hat jemand, der den Herrn „guter Meister“ genannt hatte, als er ihn fragte, wie er das ewige Leben erlangen könnte, diese Antwort erhalten: „Warum nennst du mich gut? Niemand ist gut außer Gott, dem Einen.“ (Mk 10,17-18). Das geschah, weil dieser Mann, der ihn fragte, nicht ahnte, an wen er sich richtete und ihn für einen einfachen Menschen hielt... „Mein Äußeres, mit dem ich mich bekleidet habe, entspricht dem eines Menschensohns, ist angenommen, ist die Gestalt, die erscheinen wird, wenn die Guten und die Bösen gerichtet werden... Doch ist gibt auch die Schau meiner göttlichen Gestalt: Als ich diese Gestalt hatte, hielt ich nicht daran fest, Gott gleich zu sein, sondern habe mich entäußert, um eine andere Gestalt anzunehmen“ (vgl. Phil 2,6-7). Er ist es also, der einzige Gott, Vater, Sohn, Heiliger Geist, der erscheinen wird einzig zur Freude der Gerechten, die kein Ende kennt.

Greek Orthodox Church Daily Readings For Tuesday, 17 May


Daily Scripture Readings and Lives of the Saints for Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Readings for today:

Acts of the Apostles 10:21-33

John 7:1-13

Feasts and Saints celebrated today:

4th Tuesday after Pascha

Andronikos the Apostle of the 70 & Junia the Martyr

Holy Godbearing Nectarius, the Builder of the Holy Monastery of Varlaam of Meteora

Theodotos the Martyr of Ancyra & the 7 Virgin-martyrs

Athanasios, Archbishop of Christianopolis

Epistle Reading

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 10:21-33

IN THOSE DAYS, Peter went down to the men sent by Cornelius to him

and said, "I am the one you are looking for; what is the reason for

your coming?" And they said, "Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and

God-fearing man, who is well-spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was

directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house, and to hear

what you have to say." So he called them in to be his guests. The next

day he rose and went off with them, and some of the brethren from

Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea.

Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his kinsmen and close

friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet

and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I too

am a man." And as he talked with him, he went in and found many

persons gathered; and he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful

it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another

nation; but God has shown me that I should not call any man common or

unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why

you sent for me." And Cornelius said, "Four days ago, about this

hour, I was keeping the ninth hour of prayer in my house; and behold, a

man stood before me in bright apparel, saying, 'Cornelius, your

prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God.

Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter; he is

lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the seaside.' So I sent to

you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we

are all here present in the sight of God, to hear all that you have

been commanded by the Lord."

(c) 2011 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Gospel Reading

The reading is from John 7:1-13

At that time, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in

Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' feast of

Tabernacles was at hand. So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to

Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. For no man

works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things,

show yourself to the world." For even his brothers did not believe in

him. Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is

always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I

testify of it that its works are evil. Go to the feast yourselves; I am

not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come." So

saying, he remained in Galilee.

But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went

up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the

feast, and saying, "Where is he?" And there was much muttering about him

among the people. While some said, "He is a good man," others said,

"No, he is leading the people astray." Yet for fear of the Jews no one

spoke openly of him.

(c) 2011 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Andronikos the Apostle of the 70 & Junia the Martyr

Reading from the Synaxarion:

These Apostles are mentioned by Saint Paul in his Epistle to the

Romans, where he writes: "Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my

fellow prisoners, who are of note among the Apostles, who also were in

Christ before me" (Rom. 16:7).

Apolytikion in the Third Tone

O Holy Apostles, intercede with the merciful God that He grant unto

our souls forgiveness of offenses.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

As notable companions of the Apostles and true ministers of Jesus,

ye proved to be sacred heralds of His condescension; for having

received the grace of the Spirit, O glorious Andronikos and Junia, ye

shine like lamps unto the ends of the world.

This content is under copyright and is used with permission, all rights reserved:

Reading (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Apolytikion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Kontakion (c) Holy Transfiguration Monastery - Brookline, MA

Thursday, May 19, 2011

(Dutch) Reformed Church In America Daily Prayer Request For Monday, 16 May

From The Reformed Church In America:

May 16 Prayer Request

Ask God for guidance and blessing in the development of a training series for multiracial congregations.

Today's Scripture: Acts 7:55-60

Acts 7:55-60

55But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!’ 57But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ 60Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.

German Evangelical Church (Evangelische Kirche In Deutschland [EKD]) Daily Readings (Evangelium Tag Für Tag) For Monday, 16 May (Montag, 16 Mai)

From ETfT:


«Herr, zu wem sollen wir gehen? Du hast Worte des ewigen Lebens.» Joh. 6,68

Montag, 16 Mai 2011

Montag der 4. Osterwoche

Heiligen des Tages : Hl. Johannes Nepomuk

Montag, 16 Mai 2011

Hl. Johannes Nepomuk

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Johannes Nepomuk

Priester, Märtyrer

* um 1350 in Pomuk bei Pilsen, dem heutigen Nepomuk bei Plzen in Tschechien

† 20. März 1393 in der Moldau bei Prag in Tschechien

Er stammte aus Nepomuk (ältere Namensform: Pomuk) in Böhmen, studierte in Prag, war seit 1370 Kleriker von Prag und später Generalvikar. Dass er Beichtvater der Königin war und als Opfer des Beichtgeheimnisses starb, ergibt sich aus den zeitgenössischen Dokumenten nicht. Sein grausamer Tod gehört vielmehr in die Geschichte der Streitigkeiten zwischen König Wenzel und dem Erzbischof von Prag. Dass sich der Generalvikar mit einem Rat oder einer Bitte an die Königin ge­wandt hat, kann man vermuten. Sicher ist, dass er einen Günstling des Königs exkommuniziert hat. Er wurde gefoltert und, sterbend oder schon tot, am 20. März 1393 in die Moldau geworfen: Später wurde er im Veitsdom in Prag beigesetzt. Er wurde 1729 heilig gesprochen.

Montag, 16 Mai 2011

Hl. Adelphus von Metz

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Adelphus von Metz

Bischof von Metz

† 29. August im 4. / 5. Jahrhundert

Adelphus war - möglicherweise als Nachfolger des Bischofs Rufus - Bischof von Metz. Vielleicht nahm er aber schon 394 / 396 am Konzil in Nîmes teil.

Adelphus' Gebeine liegen seit 823 / 840 in der Benediktinerabtei Neuweiler - dem heutigen Neuwiller-lès-Saverne - im Elsass

Montag, 16 Mai 2011

Hl. Johannes Rimer

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Johannes Rimer

Priester, Märtyrer

† 16. Mai 1427 in Lauban in Niederschlesien, heute Lubań in Polen

Johannes war Priester in Lauban - dem heutigen Lubań. Als die Hussiten den Ort eroberten, wurde er zusammen mit rund weiteren 1000 Katholiken, darunter vielen aus Böhmen vertriebenen Priestern und aus Prag geflüchteten Studenten, ermordet.

Montag, 16 Mai 2011

Hl. Ubald

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Ubald

Bischof von Gubbio

* um 1084/85 in Gubbio in Italien

† 16. Mai 1160 daselbst

Ubald, Sohn der adligen Familie Baldassini, die deutsche Wurzeln hatte, trat nach dem Willen seines Onkels und Vormunds als Kanoniker in S. Mariano in Gubbio ein, aus Unzufriedenheit mit der wenig strengen Lebensführung seiner Mitbrüder schloss er sich dem Klerus von S. Secondo an. 1104 wurde er durch Bischof Johannes von Lodi zur Mitarbeit an der Reform der Kirche in Gubbio berufen und kehrte nach S. Mariano zurück.

Die ihm angetragene Wahl zum Bischof von Perugia lehnte Ubald ab, er musste jedoch - wohl 1129 - das Amt des Bischofs von Gubbio annehmen. Papst Honorius II. soll ihn selbst geweiht haben. Ubald war friedliebend und voll des tätigen Mitleids für Arme und Kranke, sittenstreng und in freiwilliger Armut lebend, jedoch auch von glühendem Eifer beseelt, die Lebensführung des Klerus zu reformieren. 1142 nahm S. Secondo durch sein Wirken die Augustinerregel an. 1155 soll Ubalds Eintreten bei Kaiser Friedrich I. Gubbio vor der Plünderung und Zerstörung gerettet haben.

Ubalds Nachfolger == Theobald von Gubbio verfasste Ubalds Lebensgeschichte. Schon 1192 wurde er kanonisiert, weil Papst Coelestin III. in ihm ebenso das Modell eines Reformbischofs wie einen Kämpfer gegen die gewaltsamen Übergriffe der Macht des Kaisers sah. Seit dem 13. Jahrhundert wird jedes Jahr eine feierliche Prozession in Gubbio abgehalten. Diese Ceri-Prozession, eine der farbenprächtigsten und aufwändigsten ihrer Art in ganz Italien beginnt heute schon zwei Wochen vor dem Festtag. Die Gläubigen wandern zum Berg Ingino und holen dort aus der Basilika des Heiligen Ubald drei mächtige Holztürme, die sie dann bei der Prozession am 15. Mai durch die Stadt tragen: eine des Antonius von Padua, eine des Georg und eine von Ubald.

Im Elsass wird Ubald als S. Tebald / Theobald verehrt.

Montag, 16 Mai 2011

Hl. Simon Stock

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Simon Stock


* um 1200 in der Grafschaft Kent in England (?)

† 16. Mai 1265 in Bordeaux (?) in Frankreich

Simon hat nach der Überlieferung als Einsiedler in einem hohlen Baum gelebt - daher wohl sein Beiname Stock. 1241 schloß er sich dem Karmeliterorden an, wenig später wurde er zum Ordensgeneral mit Sitz in Aylesford ernannt. 1251 sei ihm die Gottesmutter Maria erschienen und habe ihm das Skalpulier als Teil der Ordenstracht überrreicht. Der Skapulier ist der Überwurf über das eigentliche Ordensgewand, es besteht aus zwei bis fast zum Boden reichenden Tüchern auf Rücken und Brust und wir heute von fast allen Ordensgemeinschaften getragen. Simon Stock erwarb sich große Verdienste um die Ausbreitung des Ordens in England und ganz Europa. Der Tod ereilte ihn auf einer Vistiationsreise.

Zu den Karmeliter:

Der Berg Karmel, Aufenthaltsort des großen alttestamentlichen Propheten Elia und seiner Jünger, galt auch den jungen Christen als heiliger Ort, schon sehr früh hatten sich dort Einsiedler und Eremiten niedergelassen. Unter der Führung des französischen Einsiedlers Berthold wurde der Karmeliter-Orden im 12. Jahrhundert in Palästina gegründet.

Während der Kreuzzüge nahm das mönchische Leben enormen Aufschwung. 1209 erbaten sich die Mönche vom Patriarchen von Jerusalem, Albert von Jerusalem, eine verpflichtende Regel, die dann 1226 von Papst Honorius III. bestätigt wurde. Die ursprüngliche Ordensregel war äußerst streng und schrieb Armut, Einsamkeit und den Verzicht auf Fleisch vor. Mittelpunkt der Regel ist: "Jeder bleibe in seiner Zelle, Tag und Nacht das Gesetz des Herrn betrachtend und im Gebet wachend."

Aus Furcht vor den siegreichen Sarazenen flohen viele Mönche nach Europa zurück, vor allem nach Süditalien, aber auch nach England. Anfangs blieben sie bei ihrem strengen Einsiedlerleben: in ständigem Schweigen und unter Verzicht jeglicher Fleischspeisen. Die Karmeliter wurden von dem Engländer Simon Stock in einen Bettelorden umgewandelt. Die Anpassung an die abendländische Lebensweise führte zur Milderung der Vorgaben, nur reformerische Karmeliten hielten sich an die strengere Ordensregelung.

Während des 16. Jahrhunderts bildete sich ein unabhängiger Zweig des Ordens heraus: die Unbeschuhten Karmeliten, die zum Zeichen äußerster Enthaltsamkeit keine Schuhe trugen. 1562 erfolgte mit Genehmigung des Papstes und des Ortsbischofs durch die spanische Mystikerin Teresa von Ávila die Gründung eines Reformklosters in Ávila mit strengster Klosterzucht. Zusammen mit Johannes vom Kreuz gründete Teresa ab 1568 insgesamt 32 solche Reformklöster für Frauen und Männer; so enstand der einzige Orden mit einem männlichen Zweig, der von einer Frau gegründet wurde. Diese Reform versuchte, den Geist der ursprünglichen Regel von Albert von Jerusalem wiederaufleben zu lassen.

Von den Nonnenorden der Karmelitinnen ist der Orden der Unbeschuhten Karmelitinnen der bekannteste. Auch er wurde im 16. Jahrhundert von Teresa von Ávila gegründet. Die Karmelitin widmete ihr Leben völlig der Kontemplation, dem Gebet, der Buße, harter Arbeit und der Stille. Die Nonnen leben in strenger klösterlicher Abgeschiedenheit, essen nie Fleisch, ihre Hauptbeschäftigungen sind Kontemplation, Missionsarbeit und Theologie. Der Karmelitenorden hat einige der bedeutendsten römisch-katholischen Mystikerinnen und Mystiker hervorgebracht.

Karmeliter tragen eine schwarze - auch braune - Tunika, weißes Skapulier und einen weißen Radmantel, auch mit einem Stern auf der Brust.

Montag, 16 Mai 2011

Hl. Andreas Bobola

Die anderen Heiligen des Tages...


Hl. Andreas Bobola

Priester, Ordensmann, Märtyrer

* 1592 in der Grafschaft Sandomir, dem heutigen Sandomierz in Polen

† 16. Mai 1657 in Janów bei Lublin in Polen

Der Adlige Andreas wurde 1611 Novize des Jesuitenordens im von seinen Eltern gestifteten Kollegium in Wilna, dem heutigen Vilnius. 1622 wurde er zum Priester ordiniert und arbeitete als Seelsorger und Leiter der Kongregation in Wilna. 1630 wurde er Ordensobererer in Bobrujsk und vollbrachte während einer Pestseuche viele Wunder. Ab 1636 engagierte er sich in der Missionsarbeit in Litauen.

Polen wurde in jener Zeit von Kosaken, Russen und Tataren heimgesucht, die katholische Kirche vom Protestantismus bedrängt. Vom Papst unterstützt, wurde Andreas in Pinsk zum Volksmissionar, der viele Menschen dazu brachte, von der russisch-orthodoxen zur katholischen Kirche überzutreten. Kosaken ergriffen ihn, brachten ihn nach Janów zur Folter, zogen ihm teilweise bei lebendigem Leib die Haut ab und töteten ihn mit einem Säbelhieb.

Andreas' nach Pinsk gebrachter Leichnam wurde schnell hoch verehrt. 1922 brachen Truppen der Roten Armee das Grab auf, sein Leichnam war gut erhalten. Er wurde nach Moskau gebracht, dann wieder zurückgegeben. Heute ist er in Warschau verwahrt.

Kommentar zum heutigen Evangelium -

Hl. Johannes von Damaskus : Bitte eines Hirten an den "Guten Hirten"

Apostelgeschichte 11,1-18.

Die Apostel und die Brüder in Judäa erfuhren, daß auch die Heiden das Wort Gottes angenommen hatten.

Als nun Petrus nach Jerusalem hinaufkam, hielten ihm die gläubig gewordenen Juden vor:

Du hast das Haus von Unbeschnittenen betreten und hast mit ihnen gegessen.

Da begann Petrus, ihnen der Reihe nach zu berichten:

Ich war in der Stadt Joppe und betete; da hatte ich in einer Verzückung eine Vision: Eine Schale, die aussah wie ein großes Leinentuch, das an den vier Ecken gehalten wurde, senkte sich aus dem Himmel bis zu mir herab.

Als ich genauer hinschaute, sah ich darin die Vierfüßler der Erde, die wilden Tiere, die Kriechtiere und die Vögel des Himmels.

Ich hörte auch eine Stimme, die zu mir sagte: Steh auf, Petrus, schlachte, und iß!

Ich antwortete: Niemals, Herr! Noch nie ist etwas Unheiliges oder Unreines in meinen Mund gekommen.

Doch zum zweitenmal kam eine Stimme vom Himmel; sie sagte: Was Gott für rein erklärt hat, nenne du nicht unrein!

Das geschah dreimal, dann wurde alles wieder in den Himmel hinaufgezogen.

Da standen auf einmal drei Männer vor dem Haus, in dem ich wohnte; sie waren aus Cäsarea zu mir geschickt worden.

Der Geist aber sagte mir, ich solle ohne Bedenken mit ihnen gehen. Auch diese sechs Brüder zogen mit mir, und wir kamen in das Haus jenes Mannes.

Er erzählte uns, wie er in seinem Haus den Engel stehen sah, der zu ihm sagte: Schick jemand nach Joppe, und laß Simon, der Petrus genannt wird, holen.

Er wird dir Worte sagen, durch die du mit deinem ganzen Haus gerettet werden wirst.

Während ich redete, kam der Heilige Geist auf sie herab, wie am Anfang auf uns.

Da erinnerte ich mich an das Wort des Herrn: Johannes hat mit Wasser getauft, ihr aber werdet mit dem Heiligen Geist getauft werden.

Wenn nun Gott ihnen, nachdem sie zum Glauben an Jesus Christus, den Herrn, gekommen sind, die gleiche Gabe verliehen hat wie uns: wer bin ich, daß ich Gott hindern könnte?

Als sie das hörten, beruhigten sie sich, priesen Gott und sagten: Gott hat also auch den Heiden die Umkehr zum Leben geschenkt.

Psalm 42(41),2-3.43(42),3.4.

Wie der Hirsch lechzt nach frischem Wasser, so lechzt meine Seele, Gott, nach dir.

Meine Seele dürstet nach Gott, nach dem lebendigen Gott. Wann darf ich kommen und Gottes Antlitz schauen?

Sende dein Licht und deine Wahrheit, damit sie mich leiten; sie sollen mich führen zu deinem heiligen Berg und zu deiner Wohnung.

So will ich zum Altar Gottes treten, zum Gott meiner Freude. Jauchzend will ich dich auf der Harfe loben, Gott, mein Gott.

Evangelium nach Johannes 10,11-18.

Ich bin der gute Hirt. Der gute Hirt gibt sein Leben hin für die Schafe.

Der bezahlte Knecht aber, der nicht Hirt ist und dem die Schafe nicht gehören, läßt die Schafe im Stich und flieht, wenn er den Wolf kommen sieht; und der Wolf reißt sie und jagt sie auseinander. Er flieht,

weil er nur ein bezahlter Knecht ist und ihm an den Schafen nichts liegt.

Ich bin der gute Hirt; ich kenne die Meinen, und die Meinen kennen mich,

wie mich der Vater kennt und ich den Vater kenne; und ich gebe mein Leben hin für die Schafe.

Ich habe noch andere Schafe, die nicht aus diesem Stall sind; auch sie muß ich führen, und sie werden auf meine Stimme hören; dann wird es nur eine Herde geben und einen Hirten.

Deshalb liebt mich der Vater, weil ich mein Leben hingebe, um es wieder zu nehmen.

Niemand entreißt es mir, sondern ich gebe es aus freiem Willen hin. Ich habe Macht, es hinzugeben, und ich habe Macht, es wieder zu nehmen. Diesen Auftrag habe ich von meinem Vater empfangen.

Auszug aus der liturgischen Übersetzung der Bibel

Kommentar zum heutigen Evangelium :

Hl. Johannes von Damaskus (um 675-749), Mönch, Theologe, Kirchenlehrer

Darlegung des orthodoxen Glaubens, 1

Bitte eines Hirten an den "Guten Hirten"

O Christus, mein Gott, du hast dich herabgelassen, mich auf deinen Schultern zu tragen, mich, das verirrte Schaf (Lk 15, 5) und du lässt mich lagern auf grünen Auen (Ps 23, 2). Du hast mein Verlangen an den Quellen der wahren Lehre gestillt (ebd.) durch hirten, deren Hirte du selber warst, bevor du ihnen deine Herde anvertraut hast... Und jetzt, Herr, hast du mich... in den Dienst deiner Jünger berufen. Ich weiß nicht, nach welchem Plan deiner Vorsehung dies geschah; nur du weißt es.

Herr, mach aber die schwere Last meiner Sünden leichter, mit denen ich dich tief verletzt habe. Reinige mir Geist und Herz. Führe mich auf rechten Pfaden (Ps 23, 3) als eine Leuchte, die mir Licht spendet. Lass mich dein Wort beherzt verkünden. Die Feuerzunge deines Geistes (Apg 2, 3) schenke meiner Zunge große Freimut und mache mir deine Anwesenheit stets bewusst.

Sei mein Hirte, Herr, und sei mit mir der Hirte deiner Schafe, damit mein Herz mich weder links noch rechts vom Weg abkommen lässt. Dein guter Geist möge mich auf geradem Weg führen, damit mein Tun deinem Willen entspricht – bis zum Ende.