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Further to yesterday’s post I turn to another traveller, one more experienced and disciplined, for guidance on how to live authentically. Wayne Teasdale (1945-2004), a lay monk in the Catholic as well as Hindu traditions, speaks of a “universal spirituality” with eight practical elements: solidarity with all life, moral capacity, nonviolence, self-knowledge, selfless service, simplicity of lifestyle, daily practice, and active witnessing of peace and justice. He writes:

“Simplicity has a way of focusing our attention on what is absolutely essential; it goes to the core of our being and strips away all the distractions that compete for our attention. It directs us to the utter seriousness of the spiritual journey, and relieves us of any crutches we have relied on.

“Simplicity, as a virtue, knows only what is real. It will not tolerate useless complexity in how we live; it always challenges us to reduce everything to the essentials. It is not impressed with many things, but with few things used well, especially in service to others.

“Simplicity of life sees reality as it is; like humility, it is only comfortable with the truth. Simplicity is truth in how we live, unadorned and free, available and inviting to all, open to the world, and welcoming of its demands on us.”

source: Teasdale, W. (1999). The mystic heart: discovering a universal spirituality in the world’s religions. Novato, CA: New World Library, p. 150. image:


5 responses »

  1. PrayeroftheHeart

    I would like to offer this link
    because oft times…

    begins in the heart…

  2. prayeroftheheart

    and so…

    coming from the east
    or from the west

    in simplicity
    in my heart

    what was my part
    in the disaster in the Gulf ?
    is my 73 miles per month by car…
    too much
    my AC my processed food my electricity
    my consumption of resources…

    a vow of voluntary simplicity
    in communion
    with involuntary simplicity

    washing ashore in the gulf…

    Did you know that Canada is second only to Saudi Arabia in oil reserves?
    …a fast moving internet data point I was stunned to discover. Is that a fact?


    on what side of the
    ‘digital divide’
    will I sit down

    …is a computer
    now counted as

    dying and rising
    every day…
    all over again

  3. ps… for the sake of clarity… and peace

    I do not have any websites

  4. ok! are you writing this because people have asked you for your website? have you thought of doing a blog on prayers and blessings? i certainly appreciate your frequent contributions to this one.

  5. Sorry…
    etiquette confusion again… I am not affiliated with Monastic Interfaith Dialogue while some of your sources are such as Norman Fischer, and Joseph Goldstein. Some years ago I sat a sesshin with Norm Fischer and still keep handy his Zen inspired translation of the Psalms.

    Some of the exact topics were discussed in print versions of these Dialogues in Silence such as Benedict’s Dharma which is a collection of Buddhist Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict. As well as, Gethsemane Encounter which was a gathering of Buddhist and Christian Monks in dialogue on the ‘experience’. Both can be found in the home section of the link I offered. The clarity of the dialogue that now has gone on for quite a few years, may serve to encourage the inclusiveness of the Fernwood Zendo. The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon. I was so delighted to find yet again that Canadians are doing what many of us are still aspiring too. Perhaps, I’ve been too enthusiastic. This topic of simplicity caught me by my issues…

    … also my username has turned up as various and assorted websites with very strong advocacy positions. So much so, that I thought I would try a disclaimer before abandoning it as a username altogether.

    I am still bothered by the idea of a computer as the price of admission… I restrict myself to a few monastic sites. Four including yours. I question simply by looking. Learning how your blog fits within the community you describe through your links and topical references. It is beautifully woven…

    …I have a writing practice as Natalie Goldberg would say.. that is different than blogging. Instead of clicking post, I click delete. To encourage your journey, I click post.


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