Monastic Life and the Interreligious Dialogue

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Monastic Life and Interreligious Dialogue: What does our life as monks mean to the non-Christian world? 

AI Summary: 



#set-monastic-life-and-interreligious-dialogue, #retreat-conference, mentions Fr Bruno (prior 1970 - 1988)


meet on this theme so well, maybe a couple of times, and then we'll be able to carry on from one to the other then. So I wanted, when Father Bruno, you know, asked me if I could give a title, of course, in the habit of giving titles that sound rather pompous and very, you know, academic, interreligious dialogue in the monastic life, or vice versa, what did I say, monastic life, yeah, the interreligious dialogue. Just to put it in simpler terms, what does our life mean, we are monks, what does our life mean in relation to the non-Christian religions of the world? Our life personally, our personal vocations, our community vocation, and then the monastic life in general in the Church.


Now there's a lot of things that can be said here, and I'm full of a lot of, you know, knowledge that I've had to pick up along the way of working this out of my system in an academic university type context, and sometimes it's a little bit tangled up in my mind, so I find it either impossible to speak about on the one hand, or on the other hand, it comes out, you know, all of this is very complicated and very, maybe very rich, you know, material that I've been through, but what I'm going to try to do is stay on a fairly personal level and an interpersonal level, and let things come out in a more or less spontaneous way, and then you will help me by, you know, asking questions and maybe suggesting the direction in which our discussion can then proceed. There are a few points I'd like to make from the very start, and that is the new relationship


which the Church as a whole has assumed in relation, that is, with the non-Christian religions of the world, after the Second Vatican Council. Not that there were no precedents for the position assumed by the Church in the Council, there were, there have been, from the Fathers, from the very earliest ages of the Church, but the Council, in a very Western way, you know, in a very Latin Church way, made this the law for Catholics, made this a principle that now, you know, no one can dispute, it is the teaching of the Church. This does not mean that this has penetrated into the hearts of the faithful, or even into the minds of theologians and priests and bishops, it's far from doing this. But the very simple statements and very basic principles which the Church has given us in the document on the non-Christian religions of the Second Vatican Council, are really


a new impulse towards a new way of relating to the non-Christian religions. Now, the first thing, there are a number of things, and I'm not stating them in any order of value, hierarchy of value, but simply a few things that need to be kept in mind when we're dealing with the religious experience that we find outside of what is called the Judeo-Christian sphere, in other words, the Biblical religions, Judaism, and then the Christian churches. And number one, the inter-religious dialogue is an ecclesial fact, and we say ecclesial to distinguish from ecclesiastical, in other words, it's something that has to do with the Church as God's people, as the mystical body, and that includes everyone, it goes from the Pope on down to the latest baby baptized. And so everyone is involved in this inter-religious dialogue, and we are involved as sharing in


something that the Church is doing today. The Church assumes a kind of collective attitude, which of course includes all of the differentiation that can be, you know, and that there must be in the Church, not uniformity, but this plurality within the communion of the Holy Trinity and of faith and of love. So it is ecclesial, the dialogue is ecclesial, it is the Church as the Bride of Christ who opens her mind and opens her heart and opens her arms to all of these brothers and sisters who seek God, seek the truth, by other ways than ours, by other ways than those which we find in the Holy Scriptures, in the inspired scriptures of the Bible, or in the teachings of the Holy Fathers. So ecclesial. Now, number two, this dialogue is an integral part of the mission of the Church, that is,


of that commission which Jesus gave to his apostles and to all of his people, all of his disciples, to go forth, to teach the nations, to let them know what God has done in him, in Jesus, and to baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. There is no contradiction between dialogue and mission, proclaiming the Gospel, but they are two distinct things that the Church does. There is no question of saying that one must come before the other or after the other, but simply they are two distinct things, and both must be done, and both somehow work together. Now, it is hard from a theological standpoint, because this has never really been thought out, to say how and why these two must go together.


And there are some theories proposed by theologians which attempt to put the two together, and do not always succeed. One of them, Heinrich Schlett, a little booklet called Towards the Theology of Religions, where he suggests that in a certain sense, you know, the mission of the Church now must step back, because now we know these other religions, we know that they have great values and great wisdom, and that God somehow is working through them, and therefore most of humanity is going to be saved by other religions and Christianity. So mission, you know, kind of takes a step back, as it were. I cannot accept this. I do not think it is really an orthodox idea. But, I mean, I am not criticizing Schlett for attempting, you know, and this is all anyone can do at this point, because there is no theological background, tradition behind it. Karl Rahner talks about the anonymous Christians. My problem there, would I like to be called an anonymous Buddhist?


So I don't think that, you know, like a Buddhist or a Hindu or whatever would be able to accept this as at all complimentary, because a Buddhist is not an anonymous Christian, he is an explicit Buddhist, and he must be this. So another question is, how any person in the real world of God's love and God's grace relates to the Heavenly Father? We know this is only through Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ can be known explicitly and implicitly, and many, many people know him only implicitly, but truly know him because his knowledge of him is always something mystical, that is, it transcends the concept, it transcends the word. But anyway, there is going to have to be a lot of theological work in order to build


some kind of system or structure in which we can fit these two things that the Church does in relation to all the peoples, all the nations of the world, but from a standpoint of faith, both must be, because we accept our Lord's word, and yet at the same time we accept the reality of our brother, who must be encountered on an equal level, and this is what the inter-religious dialogue is, this is what it is, number three, if you want to put point number three here. The inter-religious dialogue is the encounter among believers of different religious traditions on a plane of equality, on a plane of mutual respect and not only respect, reverence, veneration. These are expressions used by the Church in the Council document. We venerate all that is good and true and beautiful in the other religions. We bow down before our brother, who, in the fruits that he shows in his life, may be much


more, much farther along in the Spirit than we are. He has the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, self-control, patience, and so forth. Therefore we venerate in him this work that God has accomplished in him. We know by faith, but it is a mystery how God accomplishes this, but through his religion, this is something we do not yet have an answer for, and we must accept, of course, as something that humbles us, you know, that there is this area of mystery in God's works, which we simply cannot invade with the tools of our theology as it stands now. We might be able to widen the range of the light that theology can throw in the mystery, but it still has to be accepted as such, as a mystery, what God does in them. And he does good things in them. So, we encounter as equals, we meet one another in an attitude of respect and indeed of veneration


for our respective religions. And if we do so, naturally we can expect the same attitude towards us from our Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim or whatever brethren we are in dialogue with. Note, however, that when we encounter our brother on a plane of equality, we are not making this kind of facile judgment about religions in general, that they are all equal. All men are equal. And God is one. And our destiny is one. But not, all religions are not equal because they are not the same. To throw everything into the same bag and shake it up and then pour it out again and say all is equal is really a way that in the past enemies of religion as such have used to say they're all equally good and they're all equally bad.


Religion as such is the opium of the people, said Marx. He wasn't talking about Christianity or Judaism or Hinduism or whatever. Religion as such, they're all equal, they're all equally opium. Or the enlightenment type of philosophy which simply says, you know, they are all the same, they're different superficially, but essentially they are the same. This is hard to say. Man is essentially the same. God is one. And our destiny is one. But all religions, just as all men, must be encountered for their, in respect of their differences. And unless the differences are noted and seen and accepted as such, as real differences, we will never really encounter the person, we will never really encounter the religion as such. We will never have accepted what dialogue is. So really only, I believe, only a Christian who is deeply committed to his Christian faith,


who adheres to the tradition of the Holy Scriptures and of the Fathers, who desires to live in communion with the Church in time and in space, and enter into dialogue as a member of God's people and of the mystical body, only such a person, respecting the differences of other religions, will be able truly to dialogue with these religions. And finally, not finally in any sense of hierarchy of values, but the inter-religious dialogue is at the same time distinct from the intra-ecclesial dialogue or ecumenism, in the specific sense of the word, ecumenism, and it requires the intra-ecclesial dialogue or ecumenism. This means, unless Christians grow in unity, they have nothing to say to the other religions. Unless our witness is in common, we have nothing to say to these religions.


Oh yes, we can enter into dialogue, we can begin, we can... But the direction must be in such a way that every step we make towards our non-Christian brothers we must make, in a certain sense, two steps towards our brothers in the not perfectly united churches, in other words. We must enter into a deeper communion with the Orthodox and the Episcopalians, the Lutherans and the Methodists and all of those who share with us the confession of Christ and the mystery of baptism and the participation in the life of the Holy Trinity. We must enter into this and deepen this and work on this and strive for this in order that our dialogue with Buddhism or Hinduism or whatever may be authentic and may be for them, that they may receive our witness as authentic. Because they're looking for this. It's painful to hear them ask,


Why are you divided? It is a terrible reproach. I mean, what can you say, you know? Except this is a great sin which we have committed, a great evil which we endure. Perhaps also, on the other hand, just as dialogue in a certain sense with the other religions depends upon ecumenism, commitment to the unity of Christ's Church, on the other hand, the striving for unity of Christ's Church can very often be stimulated when the Buddhist asks us in respect for us, you know, but asks us this painful question, Why are you, why do you belong to different churches? Why do you not have this unity which seems to be so essential, theoretically, so essential to your religion? This can be sometimes a shock. Well, anyway, these are some of the basic points.


And then we keep in mind, you know, that whatever we do in relationship to the other religions is part of something very ecclesial. It is part, we are sharing in a special way in the life of the mystical body of Christ. Now, our monastic life, and different ways in which we can dialogue with the other religions, with the spiritual persons, you know, who truly live and practice these religions. Is it necessary to meet them? Is it necessary to exchange words with them? Well, the answer must be, no, it is not necessary. In fact, this is not dialogue in the primary sense. This is not the essence of the dialogue. The essence of dialogue, of inter-religious dialogue, is something spiritual. It is entering into a new spiritual attitude towards our own faith and towards others' faiths.


And this, of course, requires knowledge of their faith, of their religion, of their spiritual tradition. And this means we must read their texts. We must study what they have written and said. We must gaze upon their sacred images and try to enter into the symbolism of them. We must listen to their poetry or their music and try to enter into the symbolism. We must try to decipher in some way the attempts that have been made throughout the centuries to express the deepest reality of their religions in a mystical experience. We must, above all, deepen our own commitment to our own mystical life, our contemplative life. And then we will share on a level which is beyond all words. We will share in their experience and their life and their seeking.


And believe me, a Hindu or a Buddhist or a spiritual person of other religions can tell. He or she can recognize this. If we are truly committed to this, if we are truly into the mystical reality of our Christianity, they will say, yes, here's someone with whom I have something in common. Now, I would suggest you just, for a good example of this, excellent example of this, and even, you know, just very concrete pointers, read the Asian journal of Thomas Merton. And think a little bit about how he dialogued with Buddhism, especially, of course, which was his great interest. It started with an interest in Zen, and then when he was planning his trip to the East, to Asia, and then when he was there, he began to get very, very interested in the Tibetan tradition. But he didn't have time. Of course, God did not give him time to go any further. But he did, really develop a model, an excellent model of interreligious dialogue.


And you find over and over again in the Asian journal references to what must be done. There's a pre-verbal encounter before any kind of words or concepts is done. Something that involves the simple resonance of hearts. Our hearts are tuned one to another. And then there's a verbal level, which we must go through. We must talk about our teachings, our practices, our experiences. We must relate them. We must see their similarities and their differences. And leaving, however, the judgment, the ultimate judgment aside, because what we may think are similarities may turn out to be not similarities, and what we may think are differences may turn out to be not differences at all. We must recognize the fact that we are coming from another world, and we are entering into their world, and lest we be a kind of an invader,


galloping in with sword in hand in a destructive way, we have to suspend judgment to a great degree. Not judgment about where we are from and what we are, because we cannot cease to be what God has made us, Christians, members of the body of Christ and his children, the leaders of the Holy Spirit. But we simply cannot draw any conclusions, at least not hasty conclusions, about the other religion, because there's so much yet to be learned about them. It's so hard, really, to learn too much about them. Then there's a post-verbal moment in the dialogue, when we've gone beyond this and we discover, you know, we are so drawn together. There is a mystery in which our hearts are made one, our souls blend together in an incredible harmony. This again does not cause us to make any judgment


about either our own faith and its validity and its truth, and our own adherence to it, or about the other's faith, and his adherence to his faith, and to the truth he perceives through his faith. So, because it is post-verbal, it is not verbal, it is something non-conceptual and therefore not judgmental, but it can be something very intense and very transforming. There's a beautiful passage in the Asian Journal, where Merton meets with a Tibetan hermit, through an interpreter, but really, in a certain sense, they didn't need an interpreter, because they were getting along beautifully, and they were just discovering things, and saying things to one another, saying different things. Merton, a Christian, what's his name, whatever his name, the Tibetan Buddhist, the tantric yogi, and yet, you know, the translator started laughing and saying,


oh, this is something, this is hermit stuff. And he laughed again, oh yes, this is a hermit's question, oh yes, this is a hermit's thing. Because they were talking about the same problems, same ideas, same situations they had encountered in the experience of a solitary life. And then at a certain point, you know, the Tibetan laughed and said, well, something must be wrong here, because we haven't yet disagreed on anything, something must be wrong here. They started laughing, of course, because it isn't wrong. I mean, it isn't that we have to disagree. We can still see differences, and we do not have to disagree. And this is a very mysterious thing. And remember, it does not involve any suspension of judgment about our own faith and commitment to it. I mean, see in concrete effect what it did to Merton. It brought him ever closer to the mystery of Christ, ever deeper into his own Christian commitment. In fact, on a concrete level, there are several references in the Asian Journal where he says,


after this encounter I have to go back to the early Cistercian fathers, or I have to go back to this or that, or I have to re-read Ezekiel, and figure out how to express this to the monks I have dialogued with, because this can say something to them. But it brings him right straight back to his own Christianity, to the sources of his own Christianity, of his own faith and his own Christian experience. So this is the way the dialogue very often develops. So there is this primary indirect dialogue in which we can and must engage. And I think, as monks, we will have to really commit ourselves in a very special way to this indirect dialogue. Now whether it will mean that everyone should pick up these texts and start reading them and studying them and going deeply into them, or someone should try practicing Zen meditation or yoga,


I'm not saying this at all. It doesn't even mean this. Just a little contact. And it depends. It will be different for different people. I don't expect Brother Philip to go around reading the Bhagavad Gita or the Dhammapada. I do not expect him to do this. And maybe he shouldn't. Because God is giving him another grace and maybe he would be more capable then, not having read these, to relate directly to the Buddhist and say, yes, I see what you're doing. So it's not necessarily that. Although I think it is useful. And I think just as part of study, you know, I mean, monastic life involves studying holy scriptures, fathers, and other things. And I think this can usefully enter into it as a part, as something not central, something subsidiary and auxiliary, but still very good, very helpful. Helpful for a contemplative life,


for an intense monastic life of prayer and meditation. So the indirect dialogue. But on the other hand, there will be any number of occasions for the direct dialogue. I mean, here, in this hermitage, I mean, you've seen already, you know, people just walk here and, I mean, there's this Buddhist who will come next week. And why is he coming here? Because he feels there's something that we already share. So perhaps this is just about the best place in the world to engage in direct dialogue with Hindus or Buddhists or whatever spiritual persons. Maybe this is just about, maybe it's better to just stay here, you know, rather than even traveling to India. Because I met people, very good people, very holy missionaries, who've been in India for 40 years, and they don't know very much about Hinduism, and really, they're not really capable of entering into a direct dialogue. Maybe the indirect dialogue of their love and their charity and their service of the poor and whatnot.


But... So maybe this is just about as good a place as any to enter into the dialogue, even the direct contact with these people, because it would be very likely if a Hindu travels in the West, a real spiritual man, he'd be very likely to stop by here, in this hermitage, out of the way as it is. And more likely than if you were, say, living, I don't know, in Tucson, Arizona, and he might or might not stop and give a lecture at the University of Arizona in Tucson. So... So anyway, these are just some suggestions of how this dialogue can relate very directly, very integrally, with our monastic life. Are there any questions at this point? Do you want me to go in any particular direction?


Yes, I have a question, I just want to clarify something. The Church's teaching, as of this point, is the mystical body of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church. Well, there is... the doctrine is much more refined, and this is one of the great fruits of the Council, that we're not saying is, we're saying that the mystery of God's presence among humanity subsists in the Catholic Church. And the Catholic Church is a universal sacrament of salvation, but we no longer use simply is, as was used by Thomas XII, and as was used by many theologians before the Second Vatican Council. But this was a real awakening to the Holy Spirit, in this refinement of our understanding of where we are in relationship to God's grace, when we now say, this mystery subsists in the Church, and subsists also in the other Christian churches to a greater or lesser degree, perhaps to a total degree


in our Orthodox brothers, and we may indeed only be in simply an absurd and inexplicable type of separation. We may indeed have no reason whatever, of course we have no excuse to be separate. We may indeed not even have a real reason to be separate. And this is true to a greater or lesser degree, I think, with all of those who share with us the faith of Christ, the belief in the Holy Scriptures and the grace of baptism. So, this is no longer said. What do we see? The dialogue, interreligious dialogue, is something that the Church does as a whole, not only as a specialty which one or another member might engage in, as something that kind of takes him out of the Church, takes him out of the sphere of the life of God's people. On the contrary, if the interreligious dialogue


is approached in the right way, it should make us more deeply a participant in the life of the Church. Which is not to say that there are certain people who will have the special charism or vocation to deal with the dialogue in a special way, by study, by research, by direct contacts and dialogue. So, that's more or less what I would like to suggest. I'd like to mention the scale of our division. Most of these other divisions are also divided in some way. Yeah, but then again, they could come right back and say, well, these are just different traditions and we accept one another. But you Christians, your teaching is that you ought to be one Church and everyone in communion and sharing the same Eucharist. So, you know, they throw it right back at us and say, we can excuse ourselves maybe, but you cannot.


No, absolutely not. We have no excuse. We must just stand there and blush, you know. We have no excuse whatsoever. But then again, you know, this is history. We struggle through, you know, in this wilderness wandering, this pilgrimage towards the Kingdom. And I suppose we'll have to bear this, the burden of imperfect unity of God's people for some time. But we never know. I'm interested in the concept of Christ being known implicitly in Hinduism and Buddhism. You mentioned the relationship between dialogue and mission. I'm just wondering how do you bridge, how do you make a bridge that between implicit knowledge and explicit knowledge? If you're in a dialogue and you're saying that that's different than mission, how do you make a bridge?


Is the visualization left out totally? When I am dialoguing with anyone, when the Church is dialoguing with a Buddhist, He is not announcing a kerygma. He is not saying, salvation comes to us in Jesus. Believe. Repent of your sins. Believe the Gospel. Believe the good news. Receive baptism. The Church does not say that, does not go into that discourse. The Church goes into another discourse. We must learn to know one another, to love one another, to understand one another's experience and teachings and way of life. We must learn to understand our differences, respect our differences, venerate the good we can see in one another. This is the kind of discourse the Church carries on in this dialogue. It's not the same as that of what is mission,


but very often you see there can be a kind of a nuanced moving from one to another in such a way that we may encounter a Buddhist who is, however, willing to hear some of the kerygma and may receive part of it or even all of it and then become a Christian and share with us the same profession and the same faith and the same sharing and the same divine life and whatnot in an explicit way. But this is something we cannot presuppose. We presuppose that the other is committed to his religion and must remain committed as long as he's dialoguing with us, must remain committed. We must not in any way undermine or question or doubt his commitment or her commitment to that other religion. On the contrary, it would be unfaithful on our part, unjust, uncharitable to question and, God forbid, undermine that other person's faith and commitment. Well, yeah?


In other words, if he was to bless you, he wanted to know specifically about your perception of Christ and you wouldn't agree with him. No, no, I don't mean this. In other words, not, there's a difference in explaining to him all of our doctrines, explaining all of the mysteries of our faith. We can do this. And this is important in dialogue. This is the verbal, direct verbal dialogue. We explain. The Church believes this, teaches this, does this, experiences this. We do, as Christians, enter into this particular mystery through this particular sacrament and so forth and so on. We state this. We relate it. But in a way which is different from saying that this is God's word to you in this moment, this is God's gift to you in this moment, as we do in the missionary, kerygma, the proclamation. This is what we relay.


In other words, when we go and preach the good news, we announce the good news and say, this is good news for you. In the old Latin expression, tu eres agitur. This is your business. This is something that involves you. Jesus rose from the dead for you. But we say, Jesus rose from the dead. We believe, we experience, we know, we share his resurrection. We. And then maybe at a certain point, we will hear from our Buddhist brother who is into a walk of faith in the direction of becoming Christian, saying, I too want to share in the resurrection of Jesus. How can I do this? Brethren, what must we do? You know, the response of the people of Jerusalem, of the group that was listening to Peter on the day of Pentecost. Brethren, what must we do?


And Peter says, Repent, believe the good news, be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And then, you see, that's no longer dialogue, it is proclamation of the good news of salvation for him, for there, here, now. So we can, in other words, we must make it quite clear what our faith is and what our experience is. Is there any effort being made by the missionaries to become more familiar? You mentioned the missionary would be able to have over 40 years not really knowing the culture of the religion. Of course. Is there more emphasis being placed now on missionaries actually studying? Yes. A great emphasis and it's actually something, you know, that now is a common property of the Church


in the sense that all authority of the Church is insisting now on the need, the obligation, the serious obligation of the missionary to know these other religions in a dialogue type of way. And to be able to enter into dialogue as part of the mission so that there will be moments when the missionary will proclaim the gospel, the good news, for you, here and now. And then there will be other moments where he will be in dialogue and there will, of course, be specialists. I mean, you know, this is human and this is normal. There will be those who will engage more in the dialogue and those who engage more in the proclamation. Well, an example, a very good example, which is a community, a new order called the Indian Missionary Society which was founded in the late 40s


in India by an Indian bishop for citizens of India, native-born Indians. The idea of Christians in India assuming their responsibility for the mission to their own people. In some places, this is the ideal the church preaches, but doesn't quite, you know, succeed in practicing. But this is, the Indian Missionary Society then began, in the program of its formation, to give a good, solid theological, biblical, liturgical, spiritual formation to the members and to these young men entering into the Missionary Society and also knowledge, refined, advanced knowledge of the Hindu religion with which they would have daily content. And, in fact, two of the, one of the first members,


not the founders, but two of the early young members of the Indian Missionary Society came and lived with our own community at San Gregorio and attended San Anselmo with Dona Manuela. They were together in the classmates in theology at San Anselmo. And now they are, you know, superior and professor in their seminary there in Benares. And these two fathers, Father Matthew and Father Simon, have really developed a beautiful program of formation which includes the study of Sanskrit. They all have to take, throughout seminary, you know, they take Latin, they take biblical languages, and they take Sanskrit. And they study the text and they go to the original text and they learn the chants of the Vedas and all of the Hinduism. They study it deeply as part of their formations, missions to their people. And like, they also practice as, after their theology,


they do, like the Jesuits, they have a second novitiate. And then they go for a year in an ashram, living like Father, you know, like Father Griffith's type of life. Simple, with the liturgy very much, as much as possible, as much as permitted, adapted to the symbolism of the Indian people. And living the simple, austere life of an Indian ascetic for the period of their second spiritual formation after theology, before their priestly ordination, or just after, I guess they've ordained and then they have this year, before they go out into the field, as it were. And then, also in the field, in the practice of how they do this, I saw one, in one village, not far from their seminary, near Benares, they came to this village to help the people, you know, by digging a well and cultivating the things. Indirect mission, an indirect mission, in other words, through service to the people


in their very concrete needs. And they built a little temple, a little temple of Jesus, the Master. And, just a simple, you know, like a little village temple. And in the temple, they put a statue, an image of our Lord, seated in the lotus posture, and with the hand raised in the gesture of the teacher, the giver of peace. And, they did not, however, put a cross on top of the temple. And they explained why. They said, this is pre-evangelization. These people can know Jesus as a guru, as a teacher, a bringer of truth and of peace. It is only later that they may be ready for the cross. They may be ready to enter into an understanding of the Paschal mystery. And this will be done when we will be able to celebrate for them a kind of a feast, a kind of a Pascha, for them. Even before, you know, baptism or something, before the sacraments in the real sense,


you know. Indicating, you know, that even now, when the missionaries also enter into, enter into this way of dialoguing, the mission itself, the way the Gospel is proclaimed, is done in a different way, in a way which is much more respectful of their culture. Of course, he was dealing there with just the simple villagers who have not, you know, even their Hinduism is very simple, very elementary. And all the more so in a dialogue with knowledgeable, with, you know, wise men and scholars of Hinduism, of their own Hinduism. How much more respect and veneration for their knowledge of their own religion they must have. So anyway, you know, even in the proclamation, the Gospel is done in such a way, you know, that that word will be given, that word will be announced, which they are ready to hear. And this has to be done going through their culture,


going through the symbols of their culture. And that's why they talk now about inculturalizing, interculturalizing the Gospel. Which does not mean reducing the Gospel to something that it's not, or to a lowest common denominator or anything of the sort. It means, it's a very complex thing because you cannot say that it doesn't mean bringing the culture into Christianity or bringing Christianity into the culture. It's some of one and some of the other and how this is to be done is something that has to be learned by doing. And also, the Holy Spirit has to lead the Church gradually into the understanding of how this can and must be done. So it is something that's just beginning, that just the seeds are being sown, and some will fructify and some will not. The foundations will be laid. On some, a building of straw will be built, others a building of wood, and others a building of stone. And that which is of stone will last, but we will have to see from the fruits,


from the results. Yeah? I was wondering if one of the problems in the dialogue in the monastic sense is that a lot of the Eastern monks don't seem to recognize that sort of total emancipation in the Western world that they've had. You know, I mean, beyond the problem of doctrine, some of the people who are involved in dialogues in religious faith, they don't even see it as a monastery. They don't see it Yeah. And I wonder, I mean, that seems to be an important part of our own life as we grow in the monastic world. Very good. Indeed. This is very important. As I suggested in Merton's experience, you know, how the contact with the Tibetan monks, you know, brought him right back to the essentials of his own faith commitment, his own monastic commitment. So we too, you know, have to be drawn back to this.


Of course, they too must understand cultural differences. We are Americans. We cannot magically become as Indians and therefore capable of enduring a level of existence which we have never experienced in our life. God may indeed give us and to some he does and will if we are open to enter into that. To proceed, our Lord, we must follow him. And this means, of course, you know, there must be prudence, there must be discernment in this. But, as a matter of principle, yes, by all means, you know, just as the Buddhist will bring us face-to-face with the challenge of our disunity and thus of the urgent need to seek unity among us Christians, he will also bring us to a deeper awareness of our monastic commitment and of perhaps our own inconsistency with our spiritual commitment with what we're supposed to be. We are free, though.


We are not under any yoke of law. We are in the Spirit. And therefore, we may indeed be in some ways a sign of contradiction for the Buddhist. But we cannot bind ourselves to some things that he perhaps may at first feel we should be bound to, because we are led by the Spirit, because we are free of the yoke of the law. But still, it can and must, the dialogue can and must bring us monks back to the serious business of being monks. And that, I think, is perhaps one of the greatest fruits of the Holy Spirit that can come out of this, come out of the dialogue. If it makes me a little better monk, then it's good for me, something good for me, something I should be doing. Maybe I can, just by making enough mistakes, maybe I'll stumble into it.


I think maybe that's what I did in my own personal seeking and walk of faith. I feel that I have been challenged all along the way to examine what it means, where I am, what am I doing, what am I doing here, what am I doing in this habit, what am I doing in this monastic community. So, anyway, that's very important. It's essential. And that's, of course, why we also have to know how to explain certain things. We don't wear the habit all the time. Well, sure, we don't wear the habit all the time. We are free to wear it or not wear it. It is good to wear a habit. But then again, it's a different culture and we can explain, you know, that the habit began after Christian monasticism began. In other words,


the habit came from the experience of being monks. It didn't start at the beginning. It didn't come at the beginning of Christian monasticism. The Christian monk was simply a poor man who lived as a poor man and dressed as a poor man or undressed as a poor man, you know, simply, you know, had those rags and tatters that other poor people would have on him. And then perhaps, as it all developed and as a natural thing in ancient cultures, there is this identification of the person with the clothing. Now, we can get into something more concrete. I think probably, maybe I've worried you a little bit with what I'm talking about, although I did feel, you know, that some of these ideas, you know, which are dry and they're abstract, need to be laid out in order to understand. And then we go ahead and we can read texts and we can talk about it in a very concrete way, you know, talk about yoga and talk about how this can mean something to us and we can enter into something like yoga, meditation, Zen meditation as Christians.


So the concrete, you know, the experiential, which is something that we all prefer, but I think that this other, you know, has to be touched on. In a certain sense, though, it is very important, remember, also in ancient cultures, but especially in the Indian culture, Indian tradition, then in those, all those areas of Asia influenced by the Indian culture through Buddhism or Hinduism and or Hinduism, we find this awareness of manifesting and expressing oneself through clothing and also we must remember in things like burial practices, even among Christians in the early days, the importance of the garments the person was buried in. I mean, we get, you know, just go out and buy a new suit and say, have a nice clean suit to be buried in, you know, or the undertaker has these,


you know, these half suits, I mean, they've got coats without backs on and that sort of thing, you know, they just put them on the cadaver, you know, it looks good, you know, in the coffin there, you know, that's all they need, you know, and it's not expensive cloth, it just looks good and you just bury it, that's it, you know, but the clothing of the, you know, I have lived in this habit and I die in this habit, this habit, this dirty old rag that, you know, that I have on when I'm 90, I'm a holy monk and I'm ready to be taken up to heaven, you know, but, so, because the concept of body extended beyond the skin, whereas we, westerners, modern men, you know, see the body as ending with the skin, but now perhaps, you know, even modern science is suggesting, well, let's look a minute if maybe there is some kind of embodiment, you know, which goes beyond the skin, some kind of radiation, you know, that extends beyond


the physical body and forms the body in a fuller sense, but certainly, you know, ancient cultures did see the clothing and other personal articles, you know, that would pertain to the person, to the individual, would really be part of that person, part of the body, really, in a certain sense, and even more so in Indian culture where clothing identified the caste and hence, you know, all the kind of interpersonal relationship who marries whom and what work you do, and all of this is identifiable, must be identifiable through the clothing. This is very much part of their culture and hence, the monk wears a special clothing, but this is not the way it started. Now, I'll read a text here. There's time, and we'll read this and then maybe we can go on and read out the text. I've selected a few texts which I hope that maybe the next time we get together we can go into them and follow through a little bit of the history of Indian monasticism,


but this is the earliest thing we have, and it's in the Rig Veda, which is one of the texts which goes way, way back to maybe 2000 B.C. and is an expression of the religion of the Aryans, and like, this is something I should explain, but there's not time to read the notes I have here on it, but just to give a summary, you know, in two words, the Aryans were tribes which came out of maybe Central Asia around the Caspian Sea or something like that. We don't know exactly where, and they spoke this Indo-European language which eventually became Sanskrit and then Persian and became the Latin and Greek and Slavic languages and Lithuanian and all the different languages we call Indo-European, and so they spread out going west and going east. The ones that went east went down into Persia and then into India, but in India they found this great culture civilization which was much more advanced


than they, and also had their own religious experiences. So here are these Aryans and warlike and aggressive and they dominated and they crushed the civilization, but it remained there, you know, in the people as a tradition passed on, and it emerged then a little later. And so here is a little, you know, like the tip of the iceberg, you know, poking up above the water level here in the Rig Veda, in the last book, which are some of the later hymns of the Rig Veda, but still, it's all very ancient. And this describes an ascetic with long hair, practicing silence, practicing nudity, stripping, you know, and practicing meditation, wandering. All of these are various practices of the ascetic life, of what we can call, at least in a wide sense,


a monastic life, beginning there in India, more than 2,000 years before the time of our Lord. So I'll read this text and then say a couple words about it, and that could be enough for today. Within him, this, by the way, this is from your last book, and this is by Raimundo Panica, and it's called The Vedic Experience, Mantramanjari, which means a bouquet of mantras or sacred chants, and the Vedic Experience. And it's an anthology of the Vedas, not only of the four Vedas, but of also the texts that come from the Vedic tradition, for modern man and contemporary celebration. And although Father Raimundo does not say so explicitly, he's thinking always in terms of some future date in which the Church will be able to integrate into the liturgy, Christian liturgy in India, some texts from the Hindu tradition as a kind of a pre,


you might say, a pre-prophetic word of God that comes from the Indian culture itself. He doesn't say this, but I know this is what he's thinking about as a possibility, of course. This is something that will take some time to, you know. But of course, Father Griffiths uses these in the Divine Office, not in the Mass, and this probably should not be done yet until we've gotten all the thing. We have to think about it. We have to reflect on it before we, you know, take one more step. But anyway, so I'll read this text for you. It's from the Rig Veda, Book 10, Hymn Number 136, 10-136. Within him is fire, within him is drink, or poison, within him both earth and heaven. He is like the sun which views the whole world up in heaven, this one eye of the sun, you know, looking out and seeing the whole world in one glance. He is indeed light itself.


He has an inward luminosity, long-haired, acidic, Kashin. Kashin means hair, and Keshin, rather, Keshin is the name. Kesha means hair, yet it also means rays, like the rays of the sun, like, you know, if you imagine the sun as a head, you know, these are the sun's rays, you know, and hair, streaming out, you know. So Keshin is a long hair, a hairy-headed, acidic, lets his hair grow, doesn't cut his hair. Girded with the wind, they have donned ochre mud for a garment, or they are, let's say that they are robed with yellow dust and girded with wind. In other words, they're naked, and nakedness is a monastic type of practice which goes back to the origins


of any kind of ascetical life. It is the first step, you might say, just as St. Francis tore off his clothes and set out on his pilgrimage as a monk, as a brother, as a renunciant. And we find even today in India, although they usually will wear a loincloth out of respect for other people who perhaps would be offended if they go out, they will wear this, something, you know, just to cover the essential, but they will often then smear, you know, mud on their bodies, the red or yellowish-red ochre color, yellowish-red earth to defend themselves against the elements. But not only just the ochre mud, it is also, you know, just the color of the flesh is, and the flesh itself, the skin itself is of the earth, of clay. And so they are stripped of clothing. And this is the monastic guard.


The original habit is simply being stripped of any other sign of belonging to society, to a caste, to any kind of occupation, to any kind of work. Girded with the wind, they have donned ochre mud for a garment. As soon as the gods have entered within them, they follow the wings of the wind, these silent ascetics. You can add one other thing. Of course, you know, the ochre color of all Indian and Buddhist monks derives from this, origins of the, you know, their habit really is kind of a symbolic nakedness. The color is meaningful. There is also a later interpretation, tantric interpretation, which sees in this not the earth color, but the fire color. And therefore, the monk is a living flame. He is on flame or he is being burned. He is being reduced to ashes. But, you know, in a certain sense, it's just about the same thing. It is the stripping of flesh or the stripping of clothing, but it is the stripping, you know,


which is the significant act that makes a monk, that indicates the monk. And so Saint Benedict says at the profession, the novice will be stripped of his own clothing and garbed in the clothes of the monastery. Not as a different kind of clothing, as a different cut of garment, but as just the stripping and the re-vesting, the re-clothing as a significant act which indicated the becoming of the monk. Now, these are words spoken by the ascetics, and they say, intoxicated by our austerities, we have taken the winds for our steeds. You ordinary mortals here below see nothing except our bodies. You see our bodies. You do not see where we go. They are sitting in meditation. They are sitting with crossed legs, closed eyes, or half-closed eyes, but yet they fly. They mount the winds, and they fly


on the wings of the wind. The ordinary mortals that we are, we cannot see beyond this physical, this lump of clay here, this naked ascetic, as he sits and meditates. But they fly to the mid-air. He flies through the mid-air, the silent ascetic. Beholding the forms of all things, this flight is also a vision. He sees all things. He sees into all things in a single glance. To every god he has made himself a friend and collaborator. Literally, he is a friend of a god and of a god, to indicate that he has no particular divinity to which he is bound by a special caste covenant. You see, the castes, each caste has its own particular divinity, special divinity. But he is a friend of all because he is freed from the caste system. He is freed from this. And also perhaps because he is not even an Aryan. Maybe because here


this venerable ascetic really is one of these mysterious people, a sage, a mystic, a monk from this previous civilization which the Aryans tried to crush but really remained there underground, in the corners, in the pockets, in the angles of Aryan India and then emerged. So, to every god he has made himself a friend and collaborator. Ridden by the wind, companion of its blowing, pushed along by the gods, he is at home in both seas, the east and the west, or both seas, the higher and the lower, heaven and earth. Different ways you can interpret it. This silent ascetic, he is a wanderer. He has no fixed abode. This is essential. I mean, he strips himself of clothing and he must go and hide. He must go and go off. He follows the track of all spirits. He is a kind of a hunter. He follows the track of all the spirits, of nymphs and the deer of the forest.


Difficult to translate this phrase and Anikara translates it this way. I suggest another translation maybe. He follows the track, he goes hunting for spirits of the air, of the waters and of the earth. Another possibility. But he's like a hunter of spirits, you know. Understanding their thoughts, or understanding thoughts in general, our thoughts, bubbling with ecstasies, their appealing friend is he, or our appealing friend. He is an appealing friend, literally the text says. So it can be interpreted in saying that when you know someone like this, he's the greatest friend because he has this wisdom born of his ecstasy, this long-haired ascetic. The wind has prepared, and here's the last verse, it's very mysterious. The wind has prepared and mixed him a drink. It is pressed by Kunam Nana, which is a name of maybe another deity of the wind, but, you know, it's hard to really pin it down. Together with Rudra, name of a Vedic god, Rudra,


he has drunk from the cup of poison the long-haired ascetic. Now this Rudra, to kind of conceal the divinity that maybe he's really talking about, which later came to be called Shiva. Shiva is not a proper name, it's an adjective. It simply means the benign. And there's another name which is not a name, an adjective, Bhairava, which means fearsome, terrible, tremendous. These are the two names of one god. The god who is benign and fearsome, very much like the god of the Old Testament, who is a god of love, also a god who strikes terror in the hearts of princes, Psalm 75, or 76, in the Hebrew. Strikes terror in the hearts of princes. So, what is this about the poison? What is this about being a friend of Rudra, or Shiva, if you will? Well, this goes back to an ancient legend, which may very well represent


the fundamental creation legend of the people, the civilization. Are we running out of time here? It's, yeah, I have a little 30-minute page or something like near that. Maybe I'm fast, maybe I'm fast. Yeah. But I'll just finish this up. So, here's this, perhaps, this legend, creation legend, from the civilization that was there in India before the Aryans came in their invasion. And it goes more or less like this. There was the ocean of chaos, you know, the waters that began everything. And then the gods decided, let us churn the ocean, called the ocean of milk. Milk is a symbol of fecundity and a source of life. Let us churn the ocean of milk and obtain from it ambrosia, the nectar of immortality. So there they did. They started out churning, churning, churning, and what came out? A flood of poison, which threatened to inundate the whole universe


and drown all creatures, including the gods themselves. So along strides Shiva. He comes and opens his mouth and swallows the poison and saves the world. And that is why Shiva is depicted with his blue throat. He swallowed that poison. He absorbed it. The venomous results of the attempt of the gods to extract what they wanted. And, of course, they obtained the opposite. Now this ascetic, the characteristic is that he himself dominates both fire and poison, which might also refer to a concrete shamanistic practice of walking over live coals, which you find in southern India and Ceylon and other places in the world, with no connection with India. And then also the ability to consume poison. Of course, immunity to certain poisons can be built up by taking very small doses day by day until the immunity is built up,


you know, as a demonstration of self-control of power over the elements. But I think it refers more to something mystical. He consumes poison along with Shiva. He shares in this work of universal salvation, of absorbing the poison of sin, of evil, and of therefore being greater than the gods. The gods are the foolish gods who came after, really, after the world. They're kind of a sub-product of the world itself, of creation itself. And they came along and tried to obtain ambrosia for themselves and ended up running the risk of destroying everything, including themselves. This is a possible interpretation, but we're here, we're in the area of ancient legends and ancient myths, and it's very hard sometimes to be very certain of one's interpretation. But I suggest this is a possibility. So what kind of picture do we have, then, of this ascetic, you know, free of society, detached from all things, wandering far and near, engaged in meditation, wrapped in contemplation,


entering into an ecstasy that takes him up into the air, into the outer space, where he sees the whole world in one single vision gathered together in a single glance. He sees all of reality. And then he is able to dominate, is able to resist all evil by absorbing it into himself and transforming poison into nectar, into ambrosia. He drinks the poison along with Shiva. He is the friend of all gods. He is the friend of all men. His friend, as such, one of a name that could be given to him. Anyway, this is a very exciting text and something, you know, that shows us, gives us some kind of indication of an early inspiration of monastic type of asceticism in Indian culture. Now we can ask questions. Well, I think perhaps


this might be just a kind of a universal symbolism, you know, of the triumph over evil, as a sign. Now these signs will indicate that the risen Lord is with you. You will be able to triumph over evil by good and poison, of course, symbolizes it. Of course, you see, this discourse of Jesus was written after the fact, after seeing some of the miracles of the apostles and the evangelists inserted into the valedictory discourse of Jesus after the resurrection at the point of ascending to the Father, these words. You will do this because they knew that the apostles had done this, like, you will be bitten by serpents and they will not harm you. And then there's this story, of course, of St. Paul and the action of it. The serpent comes out of the fire and bites him and he shakes it off of the fire. And all around, the pagans around him, you know, stand there and wait for him to blow up a burst, you know, with the poison and nothing happens. And therefore they see that the power of God is in him.


But this also has a deeply symbolic level. Of course, I mean, symbols come from the very roots of our common humanity, certain structures in our psyche. Of course, Carl Jung developed a whole analytical psychology that tries to give some kind of rational explanation for how symbols originate within the human psyche. But in fact, symbols are universal and they are all religious, really. I think we as Christians can say ultimately all symbols do refer to Christ because he has entered into our humanity and taken it up into his divinity in such a way that humanity and divinity can no more be separated. Well, I think this tendency


to be self-satisfied, to be content with what one has, is perhaps a temptation which comes to all religious people and indicates a level of religious maturity, immaturity, you see. I would say this is true of us. From my subjective point of view, I cannot say I need nothing more. I know that Christ is all. I know that in him is all truth. I know the Holy Spirit will bring me into all truth. But I am not yet there. I cannot feel self-sufficient. I cannot say I have arrived. Lest, as St. Paul said in today's reading, lest I myself fall away or be disqualified. So I cannot risk this. I have to keep running in order just to stay in the same place, in the paradoxical expression. I fight, not as someone shadowboxing, but it is a fight, it is a struggle, the unseen warfare of the spiritual life. And any real Hindu or Buddhist,


I am convinced, any spiritual person who really goes into this, you know, has to say, you know. But yet, on the other hand, there is this witness to a fullness which can be encountered when there is this openness to the Spirit. We encounter the fullness and we cannot say we do not. We cannot say that we do not know what we know, you know. But we can never say what we might yet come to know. So that the difference, a different attitude is not a difference between Christians and Buddhists, but between immature and mature spiritual persons, or more or less immature or more or less mature spiritual persons. It is true, of course, I have encountered with myself, you know, this sense of the greatness of Indian culture, and oh, here I could talk for hours about this, you know, saying that we, in comparison with India and with that culture, we are barbarians, you know. Exaggerating a little bit


of hyperbole does not hurt from time to time. I mean, you just cannot imagine how rich their religious culture, I mean, they have everything there. I mean, it's all there, scattered about, you know. And I think one can enter into contact with this culture with a faith attitude and discover Christ is all there, but, you know, kind of dismembered, kind of not yet put together. The puzzle, you know, has not been all done and put together and every piece in its place, the whole mosaic, you know, that makes up the icon of Jesus has not yet been, the tesserae have not yet been glued into their place, cemented into their place, so that their light, the separate, glittering points of light then form the whole, the real, the true icon, the true face, the Lord. I would suggest that this is true


and then, of course, you find everything. You also find the opposite. You find all the depths of darkness, you know, into which a religiosity can lead the human person. And here, of course, from the Christian standpoint, without violating any kind of respect, veneration, honor, due to these other religions, we too can say, and perhaps not in words, so as not to offend the person with whom we are, but we can say in our hearts, we see also a touch of darkness, just as we can see it in our own history. What can we say about the evil of the separations? Christians, there's certainly something very dark in our own history. And we can also see the influences of the evil one in these other religions. But Hinduism is not the work of the devil. And I've heard this, of course, from a superior of a Christian monastery in Ceylon today. Whether he is still the present prior, I do not know, but he was some,


four years ago when I met him. Oh, it's all devilry, you know. Oh, I shudder. Oh, I shudder. And of course, there again, I must dialogue, you know. I must dialogue with my brother. I had to hold my tongue and not lash out at him and say, are you really Christian? And yet, there he is. He could not see anything more than devilry there. Oh, maybe he was just referring to the exaggerations and then maybe, you know, if he were pressed farther, he'd say, well, of course, I do recognize they do have some kind of wisdom there. But you know, it's all something we have to do away with because the gospel is this, what the Catholic Church teaches, you know, and that we must all say the mass this way and do this and that and the other, everything uniform, everything strictly canonical, canon law, and scholastic theology, and just the narrowest kind of Catholicism. And you find this, you know, in monks, Christian monks there in India and Ceylon and places like that. You have to be very gentle and very pastoral


and have a long way to come. They're not mature. They're not mature in the faith. I mean, I cannot say this. I mean, I'm not mature in the faith. I am a sinner. I have to accuse myself, but on the other hand, you know, I cannot look at this objectively and not say that this is not something that has to be grown out of. So I can also, you know, look into Hinduism and Buddhism and look into the depths, look into the dark corners of it and see them for the darkness that they are as something that will be scattered when the light comes. But light is also there, so I must always be very hesitant. And perhaps the darkness is more a condition of my eyes than of that which is there. I must always doubt. I must always call into question my own judgment, although when I encounter what seems to me darkness, what seems to me error, what seems to me evil


and falsehood, I must recognize it as such, otherwise I am not true. Otherwise I am a hypocrite, which I cannot be. But then again, this does not, there's no problem there for the dialogue. And the practice of the dialogue involves, of course, holding back, holding one's tongue and listening and learning more and learning more until the light comes, until this greater understanding comes, which scatters all that. That's real. Yeah? You were mentioning before that seeing all religions as equal is an error. In your experience, have you found that a lot of Hindus seem to have this idea, well, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, it is well beat, it is one goal. if they say it leads to one goal, I will not disagree with that. Just on the face value of it, yes, anything, any true wisdom leads to ultimate truth


if it is followed, you know, to the conclusion. It's one thing leading to one goal and being equal. Now, sometimes they do use these expressions, but I would say, really, when you look into it, this is from Western influence, this is from our Illuministic, you know, Enlightenment type of doctrine. It's Romantic philosophies of religion of the last century or the 18th century. It's not even authentic in their context. Because when you see real old-time Hindus are very, very definite about, you know, we have the truth, our school, I mean, you must worship Shiva, and if you worship anything else, I mean, you're not really there. Or you must worship Krishna, and Krishna is all the truth. You know, you might worship other deities and Krishna will receive the honor you give to this other deity, but until you come to Krishna you do not have the truth. The old-timers and the real, you know, committed, you know, they'll come out with this. They'll come out with this.


And that's, yeah. But then, of course, you know, you do find the syncretists. There again, you know, there are different ways you can express it and different expressions that are used. And so you have to go carefully. But the error, in other words, that I as a Christian, we as Christians must denounce is that which would just level everything off. All religions are not equal because all religions are not the same. They are different. And until we recognize their differences it makes no sense to dialogue because otherwise we say they're all equal. Why dialogue? Why talk about it? They're all equal. It doesn't matter. They're all opium, really. You know? Because when you push, when you push the Illuminists, you know, I mean Marx, Marx was an atheist not because he was a Marxist, not because he was a socialist, but because he was a liberal. Because he came out of the Enlightenment mentality. Because the authors


of the liberal and capitalistic and previous ideologies had this presupposition he just followed right along the same old rut. It wasn't any discovery or new insight of Marx. It was just, you know, being in that same old stupid error. I say it's stupid, you know. We say it's stupid. Because, you know, he was part of that scene and part of that thing, those philosophies there. But I mean, aside from the point, just as one example, of this kind of thing that comes out of the West, Western idea, you know, that has of course infected these and infected Hindus as well, Buddhists, sure. But then again, we must notice what they do say. If they say that it all leads to the same goal or there is one truth and we are all seeking it, sure, I'll agree with that. Yeah? How do you go about this? Is it Ramakrishna who tried to enter each tradition and says he experienced


every religion? I can say I understand and he may very well. I will not I will not say that he did not experience every religion. I will say that I have not yet experienced every religion. I cannot directly share his experience. His experience is his. I do not think you can make a dogma out of his experience. So I would say dialoguing with a member of the Ramakrishna mission, I would say let us wait a moment before dogmatizing his experience and see whether perhaps there can be other experiences and whether perhaps we must leave as an ineffable mystery what Ramakrishna did in fact experience. He may indeed have met the living Christ, the risen Lord. But being what he was and being where he was and being in that culture and in that context and in that religious tradition,


he could go no further than where he went. So he was not baptized, or the same with Gandhi. Gandhi was an apostle of Christian virtue, I mean, you know, who said this, Montini, then secretary, what is it they called him, undersecretary, secretary, no, not secretary of state of Pius XII, it's the one who does all the, writes all of the papal things, you know, the telegrams, in the name of the Pope, Montini, who then became Pope VI, of course, wrote, Gandhi is born here, and the Holy Father mourns Gandhi as an apostle of Christian virtue, which is, oh, that's a big phrase, you know, that's a big phrase, an apostle of Christian virtue. So, there is a recognition, and this is back in the old days, you know, of Pius XII, a recognition of something


very, very Christian, in Gandhi, especially that he had borne witness to it, martyred them, saluted and forgave his slayer, his murderer, who was a Hindu, by the way, fanatic, so he was a martyr to the understanding and dialogue of religions, and his last words were, Ram, Ram, which is the name of God, you know, God, God. And they're on his tomb, I saw his tomb, in Delhi. Every day they put out a beautiful design, with flower petals, you know, so beautifully kept. Every day, before dawn, they set out this, make this little carpet of flower petals and a design on it, you know, on the tomb itself. Ram, Ram, his last words, and then down below, Arijan, which means, in Hindi, which means


the people of God. And the people of God, for him, were the untouchables, you know, because he was an enemy of the caste system, a real prophet, and just as all prophets are, they kill him and then they build his tomb. And they still do not listen to his words. But, you know, have we done any better? I think, well, we've been patient. We're finally getting to something interesting and we put up with an hour of a lot of abstract talk. Anyway, maybe we can go on in this line the next time we meet again. Thanks.