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birds-beaksThomas Merton’s sermon to the birds: “Esteemed friends, birds of noble lineage, I have no message to you except this: be what you are: be birds. Thus you will be your own sermon to yourselves!”

Their reply: “Even this is one sermon too many!”

For 28 years, Father Louis (Thomas Merton, 1915-1969) was a monk at the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky. The author of 60 books, scores of essays, criticism, and poetry, he was deeply concerned about inter-faith dialogue. Among his many corresponents were Mahatma Gandhi, HH The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and D.T. Suzuki. Merton’s words remind me of those spoken by the Buddha who, as he lay dying, was asked by his disciples for one more sermon. In reply he’s said to have told them to “Be a lamp unto yourself.”



One response »

  1. reminds me of a line in the Tao te Ching: He who knows does not speak.


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