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He began meditation practice while in high school, having discovered a nearby Sazen group started by Suzuki Roshi. He pursued fame and gain, without much success, in the process of receiving a master's degree in Sanskrit from UC Berkeley, and undertaking a study of computer science and psychology. In 1982, he determined to devote himself full-time to Zen training, under the guidance of the Sentatsu Richard Baker in Tenjin Rev. Anderson. He was ordained in 1986, was head monk at Tasshan Haro in 1989, and again at Green Gulch Farm in 1990, and was made a lineage holder in March of 1999. He presently serves as prior at Tasshan Haro Zen Mansion Center, and I think under a lady atlas, right? Oh yes. Two.


Two lady atlases. So let us welcome Theo. Thank you sister and father, thank you very much for introducing us to, I think, a very fruitful angle on our whole topic, purity of heart. As I was assembling my papers and whatnot to prepare for this morning, it looks as though my computer ate an entire page of notes. This was a reminder for the universe that in some ways, I feel like I know very little about Buddhism. So, since I certainly have no quarrels with anything Barbara said, I guess I'll just be


sort of riffing on various things that you brought up. It's a very wide field we have to run around in. One thing I thought I might do is try to contextualize a little bit what Father William introduced to us by way of sketching as briefly as I can a little bit of background for understanding what purity might mean from the Buddhist perspective. There's been tremendous variety over the centuries. There's the ancient, in an echo of yesterday, tripartite division of shila, samadhi, and pranayama, moral conduct, concentrations, and wisdom. And under this broad heading, there's a tremendous amount of material, a tremendous amount of variations of attitudes and training styles and so forth. In some of the oldest strata of what's come down to us in terms of textual materials,


we have such things as the list of the ten fetters, which supposedly bind us to the realm of repeated cyclic existence, consisting of sabkaya, or the view of the inherently existent self, vichikitsa, skeptical doubt, shila-vrata-paramarsa, reliance on empty observance of ritual, kama-canda, sensual desire, vyapada, ill will, rupa-raga and arupa-raga, desire for existence in the realms of form or no form, mana, which is pride, aldhatya, which is excitedness, and finally, last but hardly least, avidya, or ignorance. And the person of the, the so-called noble person, the Arya Upanisad, who has successfully dealt with all this, will have in fact cut through all ten of these, which is no mean feat. Also, there is an ancient, ancient verse from the Pali, which I'll just mention, which


goes, sabba-pa-asakaranam, kusala-sukh-nasam-pada, sacitta-pariyodapanam, etam buddha-nasasanam, not doing all evil, undertaking all that is wholesome, purifying consciousness or mind, that is the teaching of the Buddhists. And, if I had all day, I might talk about, or try to talk about, how the 13th century's master, A. P. Dogan, took that same verse and spun it in extraordinary and unexpected directions, which I will allude to a little bit later. So, moving a little further on in history, there's the whole perfection of wisdom trend in Buddhism, reminding us that all dharmas, so-called, or elementary factors of existence, which are so elaborately treated by Buddhist scholastics, are marked, so-called, with emptiness,


either arising or ceasing, not bearing either purity or impurity, that is, they are neither, in the old time, anasrava or sastra, they had neither, with outflows nor without outflows, outflows being something, I don't know, difficult to translate, influxes, taints, intoxicants, biases, in short, or kind of crudely speaking, something that adds, just adds to the karmic maelstrom, which propels the spinning of birth and death. Now, in, we could say, in this perfection of wisdom family is Zen. We hear such things from Zen practitioners as, indeed, nothing either arises or ceases. Both purity and impurity are ultimately without basis. This, when I was putting this together, struck an echo in my mind from something I remember


reading about thinking in the world of late antiquity, say the third, fourth century, in the Mediterranean. It seems that many thinkers, and perhaps particularly some Jewish thinkers, were of the opinion that one of the most serious threats to not just spiritual well-being, but the well-being of the whole world, is what they called the divided heart. And from this, I drew the understanding that the divided heart is one where, even if one professes or appears to profess with one's body, sincerity, love of God, as Father William just reminded us, loving God with all our mind, heart, and strength. And yet, somehow, there's a place in the heart where that is not true. Some kind of holding back. This dividedness of heart would actually be enough to prevent the arrival of the Messiah. This was so serious. And this was taken up to some degree also by Christian thinkers.


By contrast, the undivided heart, one where gospel values, we might say, are unreservedly aligned with, this would foster integrity and congruence of all our behaviors, inner and outer, public and private. This brings me to Zen and Zazen. Now, one question, heavens, I'm already half out of time here. One question is, what style of Zen practice? Because there is not only one style. In fact, there are maybe as many as there are practitioners. But, broadly speaking, a number of somewhat simplistic divisions can be made. One, of course, is between what's sometimes called Kuan introspection, or Kanma Chan, Chinese speakers, please excuse my pronunciation if it's wrong, or sometimes called just sitting, which is, what is just sitting in Chinese? Kanma Chan. And just sitting? Zhi guan da zuo.


Xi kan da zuo. Zhi guan da zuo. Zhi guan da zuo. One being, of course, to take a phrase or a word from one of the old tales and make that an object of intense and repeated concentration, absorbing all one's energies to the point where a certain unity of inner and outer has been achieved, at which point one is liable by almost any provoking thing, such as the closing of a car door or the shout of a child, to be propelled into a vision, if you like, of the universe in its undivided unity. Now, there's also this, it's not even a technique, but a style known as just sitting, which was, of course, the main inspiration for Dogen Zenji, the 13th century founder


of Soto Zen in Japan. This is sitting in what might be called the disciplined, boundless silence of the inherent illumination that is the birthright, we can say, of every sentient being. These two are not particularly in conflict, although in past years, I think an insufficient familiarity with either or both of them has led to that assumption, although that's not really the case. Okay, no way to get through all this, so I'll just start jumping around here. From this family, if you will, of the just sitting family, the family of sitting in silent, uncritical absorption in phenomena as they are, comes Dogen's inspiration for speaking of


something he called Zenki, which translates in a number of different ways, but one possibly might be total exertion. Total exertion is something like things as they are, or the thing itself. This applies to anything. This applies to purity. This applies to impurity. For instance, what is impurity? What would impurity be? Is that an ugly thought? Is that an embarrassing desire? Is that a hateful impulse? The thing itself, totally expressing itself in the moment, is carried beyond the realm of purity, such that any compulsion necessarily to act or be driven by such an impulse vanishes.


So this is somewhat different from purity or impurity as a kind of struggle. And also it tends to put the focus not on a or the definitive experience, but rather on the definitiveness of experience, period, per se. The experience moment by moment. In this sense, I was struck by our sitting yesterday evening for the Eucharist, which we did after Vespers. And I was struck by how it's as though Eucharist could be called the total exertion, the Zenki of incarnation from the Father through the Word and Son in the endless outpouring of the Spirit right there on the altar. I have about a minute in which to talk about love. I'm sorry that I left that last. What about love?


What about, I guess, Greek agape? Sanskrit, possibly maitri. Latin, caritas. This is surely one face, we could say, of the free heart. And I'm reminded affectionately of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, that justly famous passage, love is patient, love is kind, love is not envious or arrogant or boastful or rude. Paul has other faces, as we know, in that same chapter. He says some rather shocking things about the fact, you all should judge those guys who are doing that bad stuff I've been talking to you about. So Paul is all over the map. Might be expecting someone with such spiritual genius as he possessed. I have no idea how to sum this up. Let me see. There is some need for, I'm already 15 seconds over.


There is some need for discrimination in our life. The question is, what is its proper place? There is, of course, the bodhisattva known as Manjushri, a bodhisattva of discriminating wisdom who wields a sword for precisely this purpose to, we might say, inspire and guide a discernment of spirits such that the sword of judgment can be applied appropriately and usefully without the overtones of condemnation that may be present in the English word judgment. This afternoon, I think Father Kevin will tell us something about great doubt and how that might apply. That will be very interesting. And, oh heck, I guess I'd better stop. Thank you for your patience. I know that this is frustrating, but luckily all realities one, so.


Put it in order. Are the response papers also going to be published, or just the papers? Do we know? I mean, that makes a difference in how it happens. Yes. We are still considering this topic because in view of the number of papers we have, close to 20 papers, and that sort of depends on the requirement of the publisher. But our hope is it's possible to include at least part of the, some of those responses, especially a kind of complement from another tradition. For example, a Christian speaker presents a Christian view, and the discussion gives some perspective from another tradition. That would be very helpful. So our desire, our hope, is to publish at least part of the responses to complete the picture. But, you know, it depends on the publisher. So we cannot give a definitive answer at this point. But we will contact, continue to contact the discussants about this item, about this topic.


Thank you. Again, the dialogue I see, well, this is going to go for some time. But now, what would be your response to Father William's paper? Yes. I found Father William's talk very interesting. But I'd like to raise a question and make a comment. The question is, who uses Zazen to reach understanding of Jesus Christ or God? Because this is very instrumental, so you empty yourself. But on the other hand, do you come to also see the Christian God in a Buddhistic way? Mainly because you use the word nothingness, nothing. So God becomes, also self-emptying, so God becomes nothing. Would that be a certain kind of consequence would you allow yourself to take? Now, I'm interested in this because I see how religions have dialogue now.


You have mutual interpretation, what I call, you know, under-human interpretation. Because when tradition, like the Buddhist tradition, can give a Buddhistic or Zazen Buddhistic interpretation of Catholicism, on the other hand, you could still maintain your category and then interpret this Zazen experience, you know, in a Catholic way. So that's my question. My comment is that I do not see the Japanese way as a genuine interpretation of what you try to interpret. When the Japanese use the word, don't judge, you know, use the strong explanation. He's judging. It means, do not judge. It means to say, judge is wrong. So that shows some kind of hypocrisy on the part of the Japanese. The reason is very simple. The Japanese say, yes, which means very often, no. They don't judge in front of you, but they judge inside.


This is something you have to, of course, I have been in Japan less times than you, do what I teach at ICU. I recognize that. The Japanese know that. So I think this should be brought up. So I think that translation may not be quite correct, and also may not really conform to the Jesus Christ point, because you do judge. You judge, you have to be in a position to judge. That's the point. Most of the time, we don't have that. We're not in a position to judge, so we should not judge. But you are in a position to judge, you should judge. That's righteousness. That's justice. Wait, do you want to respond now or hear the other responses? And I didn't even get a chance for his either. So what do you want to do? Okay, yes. Yeah, three, hopefully, church comments. I can't resist adding to the quote from Avalokiteshvara. A dog is better than I am. He has a dog. And he says, Nanchos, Joshu's teacher, Nansen, or Nanchuan, who is famous for the story


of his killing a cat, also at one point said, the Buddhist ancestors don't know what it is. Cats and cows know what it is. Pardon? The cats and cows know what it is. The Buddhist ancestors do not know what it is. So I'll just throw that out. And then I want to say yes to everything you said about non-dualism and turn it as another term. Coming from Huayen, the Chinese Huayen, Buddhist dialectics, and from Cao Long or Soto Chen, Five Ranks, there's also the non-dualism of dualism and non-dualism. So from that point of view, one then goes back and accepts the particulars, the differentiations, the phenomenal world, and the practice is to recognize and care for the phenomenal distinctions informed by this understanding or experience of non-dualism. So I think that's important. And then the last thing, and this relates to what was just said, the whole idea of not


judging. But an experience of Zazen is that, and practicing it over some time, is that one has to learn to not judge the judgmental mind. And that part of the experience, the actual difficulty of meditation practice, is that we more and more clearly see the subtleties of our judging mind. And so how do we forgive and accept the judging mind that becomes the challenge and the ultimate one? Yeah, I wanted to comment. I wanted to defend the hermeneutics just for the sake of argument. You were suspicious of the hermeneutics, and I want to defend them. If you were to make that argument about Jesus saying, do not judge, you have to divorce that saying from the rest of the context of Matthew's Gospel. First of all, we cannot really ascertain what the historical Jesus of Nazareth said with


certainty, but we can ascertain what Matthew said Jesus said. So on that level, we have to interpret that saying in Matthew within the context of his 28 chapters. So, that's very nice and sweet and everything, but then as you proceed through the rest of the Gospel, Jesus is perfectly capable of cursing the fig tree, a symbol of Judaism, namely rejecting them. He's perfectly encouraging a judgment, making a judgment in chapter 18, where he instructs the church to excommunicate people for certain reasons from the church. In chapter 22, verse 7, he talks about the parable of how the king sent his son to the finally sent prophets to the city, and then finally sent his son, they killed them all. And then at 22, 7, he says, then the king sent his troops to destroy that city. Matthew was writing after the Romans had destroyed the temple, and Matthew was judging that the


Jews deserved that punishment because they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. That's a pretty strong judgment. In chapter 23, we have the acrimonious and scurrilous language against the Pharisees with his diatribe against them. Very strong language. In chapter 25, you have the final judgment where some are going to hell, some are going to heaven. That's the cosmic Christ making that judgment. And then the worst of all would be in chapter 27, within the context of the passion narrative, in chapter 27, verse 25, after Pilate washes his hands of the death sentence of Jesus, I wash my hands of this man's blood, the people respond, the Jewish people respond, may his blood be on us and on our children. And so Matthew is saying anything the Jews get in subsequent generations, they deserve because of their rejection of the Messiah. Now, in the context of late first century polemics between the Jewish leadership and


the Christians, both trying to get some leverage, that kind of polemics is understandable. But the problem is that some of those texts later contributed to some very, very unfortunate situations which I don't need to go into. So all I'm saying is, for me, I'm all for the desert fathers and their sayings. I love them. But when I try to get from that saying in Matthew, do not judge, I have to follow it through the rest of the gospel. And there's a lot of judging going on there. And I would agree with Chang that you have to make the decision. And so it seems too naive to me. And so that's, your interpretation appears too naive to me. And so in that sense, I'm defending the hermeneutics. Thank you. Dr. David? There is, of course, another way of looking at it. And that is that Matthew was not completely faithful to the teachings of Jesus.


And I think that what Father William showed was a pushing through to the spirit of Jesus. And that is what we are trying to do here. I can agree with that. A push through to the original spirit. And that is the good thing about the conference. Because yesterday, Father Thomas Matthews said, when we discuss with Hindus, who is discussing? Is this Christianity discussing with Hinduism? There is one Christian discussing with one Hindu. So how can we justify what's going on here? And he gave, to me, a very fine answer. And that is, each of us is trying to come to the authentic, most authentic core of our condition and compare it with the other one. And I think that's what we need to do. I agree with that. But that has a lot of problems. He agrees with you, I think.


It has a lot of problems. I just wanted to say, another possibility that struck me, which I managed to forget as I was speaking, was that there are different ways, it seems to me, of saying, do not judge. And one is as a kind of ultimate moral principle. And the other is a kind of severe training for a disciple. It's like, you guys take this on as training for your body and mind. Do what I say. And in a sense, that puts it almost on another footing from the kind of, possibly, other judgments we might extrapolate from the Gospels, for instance. Could I ask this question? When Jesus Christ said, don't judge so that you will not be judged, that's conditioning. If you are going to be judged, is that right? How does that translate into Japanese? So that you will not be judged. In Japanese it's, So it's conditioning. So that you will not be judged.


So you want to be judged. I don't know what the regulation is. I think the precept of not judging, and the Zen wisdom, they all come to the same conclusion, but maybe based on different motives. From a Christian perspective, the precept of not judging, I think, is based on the limits of the human person. No one has a clear knowledge of the other person. So we don't have the adequate knowledge to judge. And also the limit of the person himself. I am so imperfect, how can I judge another person if I look at my imperfection first? So this might be the motive for the Christian non-judgment.


Then, of course, love is the ultimate reason for not judging. Love covers all sin, covers all imperfection. And from the Buddhist side, I think it's more the wisdom. The view of unity of all things. There's nothing, no difference. You said subject and object are intrinsically one. In this wider context of unity of all things, there's no necessity. And also, almost no possibility of judging because of this vision of unity. And that is also, remember the big chapter of John's on the equality of things. That's his wisdom to arrive at inner freedom and non-attachment. Seeing the equality of all things, so that would eliminate discrimination and clinging to things.


So the two conclusions are the same, but the motives could be different. But that Buddhist vision can help a Christian to practice the principle of non-judgment. If they see that, well, at the end, there's an ultimate unity of all things, that can help a Christian to practice the principle of non-judgment. I think that's it. Maybe it's time for you to summarize or to reply. There are a lot of different things here. One of the things that came to my mind as I was listening to this is, as a matter of fact, I have it in the first part of my paper, which I didn't read. Father LaSalle was referred to yesterday, I think by Father Ciprian, a German Jesuit who spent 50 years in Japan. He really was deeply involved in Zen, the Zen Buddhist Christian dialogue. In one of his books, The Practice of Zen Meditation, he says that when he wrote his first book,


Zen Way to Enlightenment, it was translated into Japanese. And he asked Yamada Roshi, who was the disciple of the Harada Roshi, who was also LaSalle's teacher, to write an introduction to that book. And he says that at the end of his introduction, Yamada Roshi said, when the author has attained enlightenment, he should write another book. So I don't agree with that. As a matter of fact, that's the way I felt even preparing this paper. Yeah, I think what I have to say is I was just intrigued by Merton's comment, there's a Zen dimension to this work. And the question is, is that Zen dimension something we put on it, or is it something that was there? And I agree, we can't go back to what Jesus really meant when he said this, or what he really said. We have to depend on Matthew. But I guess what I was trying to do was kind of play around with this saying of Jesus.


Not to say, okay, this is what he really meant. But I was kind of trying to play around with it in the light of, as Father Joseph said, a kind of Buddhist spin or a Zen spin on it. But doing so with a great deal of reluctance, because I'm such a neophyte in this area. And so I had to do it hesitantly, but still say, I think there's something here. And I think the more, at least with my experience, and maybe it's more hope than experience, the more one gets deeper into Zazen, one is free from that need to judge. And I think that's what I was really looking for. I happened to look back to see if I'd kept any notes on my oken, my first meeting with Yamada Roshi, and he asked me what I wanted. And that's what I said. I want to be free. I want to be free of judging. That's one of the reasons I'm doing this. And my sense is that it does free one. It's not that you shouldn't judge. It's not nice to judge.


It's wrong to judge, but there's no need to judge, is ultimately, I think, what I say. And, you know, no need to judge, not in the sense of making hard decisions at times, which has to be done, but certainly in the sense of saying, that's different and therefore too long. And again, I'm still struggling because I'm such a beginner in this whole area. And then back to your initial question, which I found very interesting. Again, I don't know. You know, I have not received kensho or satori. And I don't know what that's going to be like. But I expect that if and when I would receive it, my way of talking about it would come out of my own tradition, which is not to say that I'm going to make the Christian god Buddhist, but I don't have any other way to talk about it. And I think one always tries to put one's experience into some form of expression,


recognizing that it can never adequately express what we experience. But I sense that if and when this experiential awareness comes, I will just spontaneously begin to use my traditional language to speak about it. For me, this is something important. You know, as Whitehead said in the book, Religion in the Making, so you may represent a stage of religion in the making in which Buddhism and Christianity come together, you see, because Zazen makes you have a direct experience of what there is, what God is, what God is not. But I would also expect and hope that the Buddhists would be willing to say, No, you got it wrong. That's not it. What I'm saying is, you know, when you receive enlightenment, you should write another book. I couldn't write that many books. Maybe one angle on this that may be useful is that there's a saying


in the Sixth Ancestor Sutra where he says, I see and I don't see. I see and I don't see. And somebody says, What do you mean, I see and I don't see? And he says, I see my own shortcomings and faults, but I don't see the shortcomings and faults of others. So, in other words, there is discrimination and judgment in the sense of I look within myself and I see that which is positive, I try to do that which is negative, I try to avoid, but I don't look at other people and try to see whether they're doing something. So that seems to be, I think that the judgment, when we evaluate and judge another, or turn that evaluation and judgment against ourselves, this becomes a cause of suffering. One would want to be free. One would certainly say, I'm willing to put a good deal of effort in my life into freeing myself from the pain and suffering of that kind of judgment of others and of self. But at the same time, there has to be some way to go. Not just anything and everything is all right to do.


So I thought that might be a useful distinction also. Yes, I have one more here. Michael. I think a key element is the definition of judgment. And it's, I think, that discrimination or searching for the truth, whether it's in ourselves or others, is good. In the Western psychology sense, if the superego is in there, making judgments about ourself or others, and it's outside the criteria, then maybe that's the problem. And when we try to see more of the other than what is really there, we see them do something which is wrong in our sense of reality. Then we judge. When we go and we put on top of that that they shouldn't do this, we don't know anything about their skills, about their past, and we put on that, too, that they ought to be punished or something.


I think that then enters the realm of judgment that Jesus was talking about. William, the last word? Thank you. Two people who arrived yesterday. We have Kelly John, one of the discussants. Welcome. And also, I just forgot to say, welcome to Jung Woo from the Korean Monastery Samposa in Camel Valley. Welcome. And I hope I haven't left out anybody. The White Hats, they were supposed to, James and Kevin White Hat,


they were supposed to arrive yesterday afternoon, but they said that because of a thunderstorm, the flight was canceled. And they hope to arrive today afternoon around 4 o'clock and will still be hoping to give the important presentation at 8 o'clock this evening. But in case they don't show up before that, then Fr. Lawrence is willing to anticipate his Thursday presentation to this evening on his Holocaust with the diorama on the theme of the Way to Peace, which is so much needed. So I hope everybody will be certainly interested to come for the presentation. So let you know when it's White Hats or Fr. Lawrence at the end of the day. There are two news sheets here, a summary of Fr. Chung's paper,


so you can get them during the interval and put it inside your binder. Actually, for the meeting, what you need is the binder and the schedule and that particular sheet. I will say something about that particular sheet at the beginning of the second session, so as not to occupy too much time from the speakers this time. I think that's... I think that's what I have to say now. Maybe at the beginning of the second session, I'll give some small announcements so that I won't take too much time from the past. Thank you.


Good morning. Just to review our strategy, Fr. William has a 45-minute presentation or so, well, so many less. We'll have a 12-minute response from Mayo Lahey, and then a three-minute reply from Fr. and then a 30-minute discussion. And the discussion basically is our discussion, and then hopefully we will respond at the end or as needed, but we want to get the discussion. His question is, what do you think about his paper? I'm glad to answer that. It is my pleasure to introduce Fr. William Skibari. He happens to be my boss. He's the chair of the Panastic Religious Dialogue Board as of last summer, and he comes to us from Japan. When he wakes up in the morning, he sees Mount Fuji. I see a Grenoe elevator message.


William comes from St. John's Abbey in College Hill, Minnesota, and he spent some years in Brazil as a Merino associate father to learn more about pastoral ministry because he was in the School of Theology as dean at College Hill and wanted to know more about the pastoral scene. And he also holds a doctorate in homiletics from Princeton University, and is very versatile in language, but most of all in people. Let us welcome Fr. William. Fr. William Skibari Good morning, everybody. Just a couple of little things about that introduction. I didn't know when I was in Brazil from 1985 to 1990 that that was preparation for Japan, but in fact it was. And preparation in a very specific way because the Brazilians in Japan now are the third largest group of foreigners in Japan.


There are about 270,000 Brazilians in Japan, mainly descendants of Japanese immigrants to Brazil, an immigration that began about 100 years ago, and now are coming back as unskilled laborers mainly because they can make more money in Japan doing factory work than being a lawyer, for example, in Brazil. So many come back to work for a brief amount of time, although that brief amount of time frequently gets longer and longer. And as a result, my ministry in Japan now is almost entirely to Brazilians. The area of Japan that we live in, Nagano-ken, has the third largest concentration of Brazilians in Japan. So every Sunday I'm in a different Brazilian community throughout Japan. So that was a kind of strange but fortuitous coincidence. As I mentioned in my preceding, the topic or the idea for my presentation today came from something that I read in Thomas Merton's Zen and the Birds of Appetite. And although it's in the prece, let me just read it again.


He was commenting on the comparison of Zen consciousness to a mirror. And he said, Zen consciousness does not distinguish and categorize what it sees in terms of social and cultural standards. It does not try to fit things into artificially preconceived structures. If it seems to judge and distinguish, it does so only enough to point beyond judgment to the pure void. Here we can fruitfully reflect on the deep meaning of Jesus saying, Judge not, and you will not be judged. Beyond its moral implications, familiar to all, there is a Zen dimension to this word of the gospel. Only when this Zen dimension is grasped will the moral bearing of it be fully clear. Now I can't remember exactly, but it must have been just about this time of the year that I read that particular passage from the Birds of Appetite


because as some of you may remember, yesterday, Monday, the twelfth week of ordinary time, we had the reading from Matthew's gospel which says, Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Yesterday morning at Mass we heard it. And I'm now hearing those words in Japanese. And I think, and I was just beginning my study of Japanese at that time. I'm still just beginning. I'm just reminded of a comment of a classmate of mine when I was taking my first year of Japanese. A young French priest, by the name of Jean-Francois, he said he returned home one day very discouraged, very discouraged about his lack of progress in Japanese. And one of the old French missionaries said to Jean-Francois, what's the matter? And he said, oh, I'm just not getting it. It's just not coming. And this old priest, who had been in Japan about 50 years, I think, said, Jean-Francois, don't worry. When it comes to learning Japanese,


the first 20 years are the hardest. But as I said, I was just beginning my study of Japanese, but I was beginning to recognize some of the nuances, some of the nuances in the language. And I noticed that the Japanese translation of this judge na came out sadaku na. Now, normally in Japanese, when you want to ask somebody not to do something, you do so in a polite way. You would say, sabakanai de kudasai. Now, you probably wouldn't ever say to somebody, please don't judge, although you might. You would probably say something a little stronger. But even so, it would be possible to say in Japanese, to be a little stronger, hito o sabaite wa naranai. So you can't judge. But in this particular translation, it came out, hito o sabakenai. Anata ga mou sabakanai tame de aru.


So it's a very strong, very forceful way of saying something. I went back to one of my early texts in Japanese, a text by Eleanor Hartz Jordan. And she says, in commenting on this direct style of negative commands, she says, the way a command is heard depends, of course, on context, tone of voice, facial expression, and other nonverbal indicators. However, it can generally be said that this negative direct style imperative is, and this is a direct quote now, extremely direct, aggressive, and not at all polite. You would almost never say to anybody, shina. Don't do that. I never hear it. It's probably the sort of thing that's only said in the family, when you're telling your child not to touch that hot stove. It's that aggressive, directive, and not at all polite way of telling somebody not to do something. But that was the translation that is used in this ecumenical translation


of the scriptures. That's pretty well used throughout Japan in Catholic and Protestant churches alike. The question, of course, is, is this an accurate translation of the Greek? And so I looked back at the Greek again. My Greek is even worse than my Japanese, but I had some resources I could check out. And I found out there that it's mekine. Do not judge. And that's a present imperative. And that's a way of giving what's always to be done, or always to be avoided in this case. For example, I think a more forceful or dynamically more equivalent translation of mekine in English might be stop judging others, or don't even think of judging others. Sadakunara. Very strong, very direct, aggressive, and not at all polite way of indicating a command. So not judging others, I would propose, is a particularly clear


and forceful expression of purity of heart. The topic of this particular meeting we just gathered. And what I would like to do is reflect on a bit on the meaning and importance of this command in the teachings of Jesus, the teaching and practice of early Christian monasticism. And then I will try to show how I understand this teaching of Jesus in the light of the non-dualistic worldview of Buddhism. And then finally, to conclude, some reflections on my own practice of zazen and how it has helped me to recognize the fundamental importance of not judging others and to appreciate the possibility of attaining that purity of heart, which is expressed in a non-judgmental attitude toward others and, in fact, toward oneself. I'm not going to spend a lot of time now going through the synoptic Gospels and the way they deal with this word of Jesus, not to judge another, except to say that it's interesting that in the Gospel of Luke, this word of Jesus, do not judge, is immediately preceded by Jesus' word,


be merciful just as your Father is merciful. And I think there was a significance in Matthew's decision to put those two words of Jesus in connection with one another. Not judging is, in fact, an expression of mercy to the other. John does not have this word of Jesus. John has a lot about judging in his Gospel, a lot of words of Jesus on judging and not judging. But his main concern seems to be to show how Jesus does or does not judge us. And he seems to conclude by saying that in the last analysis, it's really we who judge ourselves by our response to Jesus and to his word. I spent some time looking, not very systematically because of the limited library resources we have in Japan, but looking at the English commentaries on this passage. And what I was really struck by there was the way in which most commentators


seem to say, well, Jesus really didn't mean that. Something like this, for example, from one commentator, this verse liberates us from the need to be everyone's conscience or censor, but it does not free us from all need for judgment. Every simple sentence, such as this cow is brown, is a judgment. And in adult life, we cannot escape the obligation to make some judgments, even on the moral character of others. Parents, fiancees, employers, civil judges, church administrators all have this duty. But that refrain seems to be coming up again and again, saying in other words that, well, this is another of those examples of Semitic exaggeration. Jesus really didn't mean this. But I would like to maybe engage in a bit of hermeneutics of suspicion under hermeneutics and to suggest that these attempts to modify the command of Jesus about not judging are more a reflection of the preconceptions


of the exegetes than of the mind of Jesus. Coming out of a Western dualistic culture, these interpreters fail to allow for the possibility that Jesus may not be operating out of those same preconceptions. And so I do believe Merton is right when he says there's a Zen dimension to this Word of the Gospel, and that when we recognize this Zen dimension, it can lead us to a much deeper and ultimately more fruitful understanding of the good Jesus. This passage from Merton's Zen and First Appetite, connected with my hearing this command of Jesus in Japanese, in this direct, aggressive, and not at all polite form, must have reminded me of the fact that not judging was a very, very frequently repeated admonition of the Desert Fathers.


And so I went back to the collection, the alphabetical collection, of the sayings of the Desert Fathers to refresh my memory. And in fact, it's everywhere. It's everywhere in the Fathers. To such a degree that Benedicta Ward, Sister Benedicta Ward, who translated and edited the alphabetical collection, says that what the monks were really interested in, these early Egyptian Desert Fathers and Mothers, were really interested in was not asceticism. What they were interested in was God. And the way to God was chariot. And then she adds, one of the marks of this chariot was that the fathers did not judge. And I expect it comes up so frequently in the sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, because their life was one of such austere asceticism. Their passionate commitment to this regime of fasting


and unceasing prayer and sleep deprivation and solitude, I expect, very easily tempted them to look down on the worldly ones or on their own fellow hermits who were not as observant as they were. And so we find this refrain coming up again and again in the Desert Fathers then, not to judge. The most complete, at least, expression of this insistence on not judging that I was able to find comes from the Abba Moses, who says, the monk must die to his neighbor and never judge him at all in any way whatsoever. And then he expands on this. And let me just read this lengthy passage, but an important one. To die to one's neighbor is this, to bear your own faults and not to pay attention to anyone else wondering whether they are good or bad. Do no harm to anyone.


Do not think anything bad in your heart toward anyone. Do not scorn the man who does evil. Do not put confidence in him who does wrong to his neighbor. Do not rejoice with him who injures his neighbor. This is what dying to one's neighbor means. Do not rail against anyone, but rather say, God knows each one. Do not agree with him who slanders. Do not rejoice at his slander and do not hate him who slanders his neighbor. This is what it means not to judge. Do not have hostile feelings toward anyone and do not let dislike dominate your heart. Do not hate him who hates his neighbor. This is what peace is. Encourage yourself with this thought. Affliction lasts but a short time, while peace is forever by the grace of God the Word. So I said there are a lot of sayings, but let me just give you a couple short ones to give a bit of flavor of what this is like. Abbot Theodore said,


If you are temperate, do not judge the fornicator, for you would then transgress the law just as much. He who said, Do not commit fornication, also said, Do not judge. Be aware of your faults. Do not judge others. Put yourself below everyone. If someone speaks about some topic, do not argue with him. But if he is right, say yes. And if he is wrong, say, You know what you are saying. Do not argue with him about what he has said. That is human. Abbot Xanthias said, A dog is better than I am, for he has love and he does not judge. In the end, not judging means dying to the neighbor. That is, letting go of every attempt to evaluate others and even oneself in relation to some abstract, external norm or rule.


Such an attitude, I predict, does not imply that there is no need for conversion and transformation, and perhaps even at times the forceful, although nonviolent, restraint of behavior that is harmful or destructive. Not dying to the neighbor, not judging, is a way of recognizing that interior and lasting change does not come about by trying to conform oneself or others to some external norm. True conversion is only brought about through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit of God. This is how I, as a Christian, would name that power. And that power can only operate in us when we let go of all pretensions and accept ourselves and others as we and they are. Such truthful acceptance is what the Christian monastic tradition


refers to as humility. As our becoming quiet and centered gradually enables us to let go of every thought of judging others or ourselves, we will, as the old men told Abbot Aphmatius, be at peace. I'd now like to reflect just a little bit on the literature of Zen, at least my very limited familiarity with the literature of Zen and about Zen. To note that, or at least what struck me, is at least in comparison, for example, to a body of literature such as that from the desert monastics, that there's almost no reference to judging and not judging in this body of literature that is about and by Zen practitioners. Now, I believe that, at least as I understand it,


absolutely fundamental to Zen is a non-dualistic conception of reality. And I have a hunch that Zen's insistence on the unity of all that exists is a particularly intense expression of the perception of reality that is much more common in the East than in the West. Let me just give another little example from Japanese. A teacher of mine once said that the word chigau in Japanese, or chigaimasu, is the second most used word in that language. Most used word, he said, is isogashii, busy. You're always telling somebody, oh, you're so busy. Oh, thank you for coming to see me. I know how busy you are. It's always isogashii, isogashii. And whenever you do anything, everybody always thanks you and says, I know how busy you are. Thank you for coming. But he said the second most used word is chigau,


or chigaimasu, and that word means different. It's different. Now, the Japanese use chigau, or chigaimasu, in, at least as I've been able to notice, almost those same situations in which we would say that something is wrong. That's wrong, you know. But the Japanese don't say that. They say it's different. Now, that to me says something about a certain perception of reality. The Japanese prefer to say something is different rather than it is wrong. And I think for most of us, shaped by a way of thinking that places such a high value on distinguishing or judging between what is true and false, orthodox or heterodox, right or wrong, that Japanese way...