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John Borrelli, who has become a friend, really probably needs no more introduction. But he has given us a little bit of insight into his personal life with this short introduction. Marianne and John Borrelli were married in January of 71, less than 30 days after he returned to Vietnam. They entered their second semester of graduate school four days later and lived on three scholarships. Stephen was born in 1974. John finished his PhD in 76. Claire came along in 78, and Eleanor in 1980. Marianne, his wife, finished her PhD in 1981. Stephen is now a sportscaster or sports writer with usatoday.com, and the daughters are still in college. Marianne has taught psychiatric mental health nursing for several years at CUNY Catholic University in Georgetown. She is now finishing two years co-directing the Wellness Center of N Street Village, a center for homeless women in Washington, D.C. After Eleanor went off to college,


Marianne and John thought that they could begin talking about marriage, and now are a lead couple for marriage prep in their parish. They also serve as community ministers and lecturers. In a typical year, John staffs three dialogues with Muslims, one dialogue with Hindus, two meetings of the Anglican Roman Catholic dialogue, and attends and participates in one dialogue with Buddhists, and four to five multi-religious meetings. In addition, he is a camp follower of monastic inter-religious dialogue, and attends the annual workshop on Christianity, and the annual meeting of the Faiths in the World Committee, which supports Catholic diocesan staff in their inter-religious work. Let's welcome again John. Thank you. [...] I do manage to publish a few things each year, although I don't carry my name. Maybe I'll carry somebody else's name. And I try to do one thing a year that takes me out


of the usual routine. When Joseph asked me in September, last September, if I could come to this, I said, this will be it. This will be the thing that will really get me out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary. And it's not let me down, so thank you. Thank you. This morning, Steve Tingert was saying, yes, you have the texts of a tradition, but that's not enough. You've got to see how the tradition is lived. And I think if we were to allow Professor Chung just to be here as a Confucian for several days, we would begin to pick up what the meaning of these texts are. It's not just enough to read the Analects and the Manus and the others. One has to see them live. And the great thing is how those who have been outside of China are bringing Confucianism back out of the heart of the Chinese people, where it has survived outside of China in university centers in Taiwan and in Korea. With the opening up of things, Confucianism is flowering again.


For centuries on end, students picked up the Analects and read the first selection. The master said, to learn and at times to recite what one has learned, is that not after all pleasure? To have friends who come from afar, is that not after all joy? To be one who is unknown but not resentful for it, is that not after all what it means to be the virtuous person? Now, that's not really the most important passage that would become verse number one. But it's the first one people read. And it really set a tone for what one would find in this text. Of course, and you have recited it and then said that parts were added on. One of the more famous ones is when Master Kong, Confucius said, at 15, I resolved to learn. At 30, I stood on my own feet. At 40, I was not confused.


At 50, I knew the Tian Ming, the mandate of heaven, the decree of heaven. The Ming, and you put Tian in front of it, right? It's one of those powerful terms that comes again and again. That he knew at 50, as you said, but they must have added on. At 60, my ears were receptive. At 70, I followed my heart's desire without overstepping the boundaries, without overstepping the way things are. So that wonderful biography. Now, for you monks, and this is this word that you had, tzu, meaning meditation. He also said, I once tried not to eat for a day and not to sleep for a night in order to meditate, reflect, meditate, but there was no benefit. It is better to learn. That's the word for study, to learn.


It's better to look at things. But he also said, to learn and not meditate or reflect, you know, is foolish. To reflect and not to learn is dangerous. Now, does he use this term, Juan? Is this in the Analects? Yes, usually for talking about observing things, people, how people, you know, they think. I hear your words, I'll observe your behavior. I'll hear your words, I'll contemplate your behavior. And also you contemplate the water, the flicking water. He said, how flicking, how quick, how fast it goes. That's his interpretation. It's a very fundamental reference to reality. Okay. I wanted to get the difference in how these were used. And of course, we're translating these terms and everything. And for generations, students picked up Mencius.


And I picked these two because what Professor Chung has done is he's taken a paper, his original paper anyway, and he took these two basic classics as major sources and the other two, but we'll mention those. So students would pick up Mencius. Now, these are part of the curriculum. If you wanted to be a civil official, you had to memorize these practically, right? You knew what they said. And they'd pick it up, and the first selection in Mencius was Mencius talking to King Hui of Liana, who asked him, you've come from afar, how can you profit the state? And he said, profit? Don't talk about profit. That's your problem. Let's talk about benevolence, or goodness, or co-humanity. Or righteousness. And righteousness, yes. So one of the most famous passages in the Mencius, in Mencius, is humanity is ren, and it's the same pronunciation, ren is ren. To be human is to be benevolent, or to be co-human, or humane.


Yeah. So, we learn as we read in the second book of Mencius, the one who is devoid of a heart of compassion is not human. One who is devoid of a heart of shame is not human. One who is devoid of a heart of courtesy and modesty is not human. One who is devoid of a heart of right and wrong is not human. And you turn these around, the heart of compassion is the seed of benevolence. That word. And then there are three other virtues. The heart of courtesy and modesty is propriety. The heart of right and wrong is wisdom. The heart of shame is righteousness or dutifulness. These are the virtues. Professor Chung has shown in the paper that he prepared how these two classics, the Analects of Mencius, and the other two classics that constituted the four books


in the Sona, I guess, right? They constituted the curriculum, the four books, the basic curriculum, the great learning and the doctrinal meaning. That in these there was an implicit theory of the human self and self-cultivation. His observations are based, as he says, purely on philosophical principles inherent in these texts. Much like some of our ancestors read Aristotle and developed a view of the existence of what we would call the natural soul and the principles of the ethical life. So there's something very parallel in that. And with a philosophical razor similar to Occam's, he presents us with a common notion of human self and mind in minimal terms. He takes us through the active self and the self-underlying


consistent self-awareness. He talks about the reflective self, which need not be above that which it observes, nor need it be above time. Nevertheless, it transcends the active self because the active self is its object. But its transcendence does not have to be reified as an independent entity, nor is it necessary to pause in eternity in order to conceive of temporality. So he takes us through these, the self and its two sides, the temporal engaged self, the transcendent and reflective self. And both are integral to each other in human experience. And he talks about the controversy with Matteo Ricci then and free will, and he develops the notions of free will and so forth, the basis of virtue. The mind is open, creative, and receptive, and thus fulfills its nature, which is the way things are.


Now, Confucius once said that if I could add several more years to my life, I would add 50, so I could study more, so that I would be free from great error. But it's this word study, again, that's here. The Book of Changes. The Book of Changes, yes. So now, this morning, the coffee was very warm and the air was very thick and chilly, and as you can tell, I've had a cold sort of welled up in me during these days. But I came along, and Fr. Bruno brought me back to the center with his opening words today on the Sacred Heart and made me think more about purity of heart. And where exactly is that reflected in these texts? And I think you have shown, and by your presentation,


that purity of heart in the sense of purity of intention, we could find that in Confucianism. This idea of all of these, meditation and contemplation, is all about purity of intention. The Master completely avoided four things. He had no set opinions, he had no unnecessary feelings, he was not obstinate, and he was not egotistic. So in that sense, the purity of intention. But did Confucius believe that there was a place within the self where one could have purity of thought? We could understand purity of heart in the sense of purity of intention. That's there, I have just proved that. But is there purity of heart as we were talking about that place, La Pointe Vierge?


Is there something there that we would, in Confucianism? It seems that this wasn't developed. I don't know, I ask you that question. Do you gentlemen think that there is something secret with me? Or that I am keeping something concealed from you? Confucius once said to his students, there is nothing that I conceal. I take no actions but what I take with you. Now, Arthur Whaley tries to explain what this means, and as best he can come up with it, Confucius is saying there is no esoteric doctrine in Confucius' mind. There is also a passage in the 18th chapter of the Analects, which is probably apocryphal, but Zulu is taking Confucius along this road,


and they have to ford a river, and there are two fellows out in the field plowing and actually planting. And one is Zhang Ju, and one is Jie Ni. And supposedly these are Zhuangzi and Lianzi, right? Hermits. Hermits, two hermits, all right? So here, I like these passages for you. I pulled these out for you, but that's just it. So Zulu goes over and says, where do we ford the river? And the first one, Zhang Ju says, who's that you're driving? Well, that's Confucius. Well, that's Confucius. He doesn't have to be told where the ford is. And he starts laughing, you know, and goes on. And so he goes to the other fellow, Jie Ni, and he says, where do you ford the river? And he says, who are you? And Jie Ni says, well, I'm Zulu. Aren't you a disciple of this Confucius? Yes, I am. Well, everything swept along in the flood.


You avoid some people. Avoid the world. Avoid the world. Join us. And so Zulu goes back, and he says to Confucius, these two crazy guys, what they said. He said, one cannot flock with birds and herd with beasts. If everyone followed the Tao, if everything under heaven, all under heaven followed the Tao, then I would not need to try to change things. So you've got this kind of standoff of positions. But I love that. If you flock with birds and herd with animals, you're not going to get it. Well, we could go on. I'm running out of time here. We could go on with Mengzi on this, too, and show that Mengzi himself, he has some references to introspection. But he says things, if people do not respond to your ren, your benevolence, then examine it. Then look into your own benevolence.


Then we're all born with these natural feelings, but they get suffocated, or they die. They don't develop into the virtues. But it's really this kind of introspection of look at your own actions and see what they reveal. Purity of heart might be original goodness, as you said in Mencius. Purity of heart might be original goodness. But you get a sense that it's always in the acting that this is seen. So again, I ask the question, can we find in these early Confucian texts, because you read it from the point of view of Neo-Confucianism that you can develop this view. But in the early texts, is there a place where we could find the purity of heart where one rests in contemplation? Thank you. Thank you. I said I was hoping you could answer this


as we answer other questions. Is that correct? Yeah, you can answer this question. Is that OK? All right. Very briefly, I think the start with Confucius to talk about the implicit goodness of human nature. He said, men were born and human beings are born straightforward. It is because of the substances and habits that make people different or even perverted. So, he didn't immediately say that human nature is good, but yet he seemed to believe that there is a foundation for human goodness, which would be a foundation for morality. Of course, his basic point is that you introspect yourself, you will find your feelings, and your feelings can be identified as good or bad, because you know you don't want people to do harm to you, to hurt you,


so you don't want to hurt other people. So, this self-introspective action is very important. Your intuition will come out and you have to make a decision. Of course, people can still become bad or perverted, because they did not follow what they had found. Or, for many people, he called them small people, small persons. Small persons are people who focus on profits, on satisfaction of immediate desires. They have no introspection, they have no reflection, they have no meditation, not to say contemplation, they just live their lives like birds and beasts. So, he is trying to say, yes, if you look back, you will find something deeper there, which enables you to make a distinction between right and wrong. So, this is important. Now, it comes to merchants who want to stress the fact that we do have good nature,


which is original, because these are the things which everybody can come to see. To give that famous example, he said, no matter how bad you are, you cannot but feel an urge to help a child who is about to fall into a well. This is a famous story about a child who is about to fall into a well. You may hate the father of the child, but know that the immediacy of your response is to help. That is to say, our heart will jump to a certain stage of sympathy, empathy, and that is to give the evidence of good nature. And also, of course, he said we couldn't lose our good nature, but we have to take an effort, again, in reflection meditation, to recover it, to retrieve it. So, he advocates daily and continuously a process of reflection, explanation, cultivation. We have seven minutes left, so if we have any questions, Professor will entertain them.


Well, first of all, I want to make an observation, and that is, in the Kirsten tradition, this idea of purity of heart, in the monastic tradition, its fulfillment is found in the theme of the return to the Garden of Eden. It develops later on in the monasteries referred to as the Cloister of Paradise. Now, the Garden of Eden, of course, is a myth in which the human person, as human person, is originally good. So, both Confucianism and the Judeo-Christian tradition sees the human being as fundamentally good, and only later destroyed. One of the things that I've been wondering about is,


in the Confucian meditation, in reflection, does it ever confront mystery? That is, heaven, or the transcendent, or the absolute, whatever word you want to use it, as being incomprehensible, but still experienced by the human person. Yes, I think you probably can say that if you talk about this idea of the experience of illumination. The illumination of our bright virtue. What is the illumination? What is that particular inspiration of resting in supreme goodness? But, of course, there is a tendency in the Confucian tradition to always find reasons for all the experiences.


You need experience, but you need to also make your experience socially understandable. And this is the reasonableness of Confucianism. But in Neo-Confucianism, you do find that, for example, in Cheng Hao, he said, I come to the experience of heaven and earth principle, and I just feel so joyful, I just jump around. He described his experience of finding the Tianyi, the heaven reason. He just feels all of a sudden this inspiration. And also, in Cheng Yi, he talked about the profundity of heaven in quietness. But the profound quietness is also the profound creativity. But he doesn't want to go this one way. He wants to balance with something creative, something manifest. So the manifest is the most secretive. The most secretive is the most manifest.


So this is the Confucian principle of balance. But the sense of profundity is always there. I'm sorry, Paul. I just immediately thought of Wang Yanming when you talk about mystery or something that can't be pinned down. I seem to recall him saying something like, people who come after me shouldn't be just trying to quote my exact words, but that I respond according to, I guess, heaven's mandate within to particular circumstances. There's no fixed, prescriptive recipe for dealing with all situations. The sage hasn't followed the way of the sage, which is not something that can be written down, something that has to come out. Yes, he's teaching about the innate goodness of the heart, mind.


He's very creative, but also profound. He doesn't want to fix on any principle. But again, the moment-to-moment cultivation of oneself, so that one is continually reacting to what happens, so that one is able to form, according to his words, form one body with 10,000 things. Always form one body, the sense of oneness with all things, so that you can respond sympathetically and creatively to things. And your life becomes enriched always by interacting with all things. So that's the sense which, in fact, that's the sense which you also got from, you know, the poetry, which has been also cited by, one of the times by Leo Capuchin's manga. You know, seeing the fish jumping in the abyss, and the bird flying over the peaks.


That is the life, that's the mandate of heaven. You see, that kind of profound, you may call it mystery, but it's a profoundity, which is also manifest. Tom, you have both hands up. About mysteries, what about wuji? Is that experiential? Wuji, if I remember correctly, means without limit? What is wuji? Yes, you know, ji is the ultimate. Ji is the being, the central being. The being is written by this word, ji. Now, this ji, this has been very clearly explained by Zhu Xi, comes from the wood side. So when you build a house, you have a central being. So it is because of the central being, you have a house, you see. So, we have the being, the central being, right? Being, being, being.


The central being. So the central being, made like a house. So to build a house, the tai chi is the great ultimate. So it's a great being, by which you can have a world. But if you don't have the central being, then you're open to space. You are free. But yet, so that principle, Chengdu Zhonglin talked about, where it comes from, or maybe inspired by the Taoistic view, when Lao Tzu talked about the voidness produces being, right? So he said, then he comes to wuji, tai chi, because in the commentaries of the Book of Change, it is said that the tai chi, the great ultimate, the central being, produced the two forms, yin and yang, which give rise to the four seasons, and the eight forms of the fa hua. So that is, but he said, we can go a further step,


beyond the central being. What's beyond this structure? And that is the void. And what was the syntax of the human school? Thank you very much, Dr. Chengdu. One of the difficulties is we don't get here on time, so if you can make sure we're here at... It was suggested to me, since I'm not very good at cutting speakers off, that I should put this bell. Sister Donald Coren is a native of Minnesota. That's good. She entered the Benedictines in St. Paul in 1959.


Her doctorate is in theology from Florida University in the history of religions. From 1976 to 1979, she taught at St. Louis University, where she directed the MA in spirituality and was coordinator of the Institute of Religious Formation. In 1979, she co-founded Transfiguration Monastery in upstate New York, which is affiliated with the Commodity Benedictine nuns of San Antonio Abate in Rome. Her interests are monastic studies, East-West dialogue, Jungian psychology, and cultural criticism. Welcome, Sister. Thank you. I have a friend that lives in San Francisco, and when I told her the topic of my paper,


she said, well, I think there is or used to be a bank in Chinatown called Sincerity Bank, which sounds like a coincidence of opposites. At our monastery in upstate New York, I have a hermitage, and my hermitage is named St. Paul Kill, which is Gaelic for St. Columba, but it also has a Daoist name. It's called Hermitage of the Valley Spirit. I told Father Joseph that I am a Daoist by nature and inclination, but a Confucian by necessity. My interest in Confucianism started back in 1969 in a course from Thomas Berry of Fordham. I felt an immediate resonance with Confucianism as a Benedictine, and Father Nicholas just told me that many Benedictines have the same feeling.


So I'm somewhat an amateur in Confucian studies, I don't speak Chinese, and so that's a handicap, and just talking with Marty last night, it became apparent to me how rich the language is and the nuances, and even trying to unpack the meaning of sincerity. I'm sure Marty and Professor Cheng and others will have much to say to uncover the manifold meanings of sincerity. I believe that there's a deep problematic about humility in Western spirituality, and since it's a key in the rule of Benedict, I think we have a challenge to recover and find a deeper sense of humility. It's not at all attractive or easy to understand for various reasons which I can't go into, with some spirituality over the last few centuries


stemming from Chancellorism and so forth, and so we're very suspicious of any notion of humility that would have to do with any destructive notion of destroying the person or self-deprecation and so forth. Bernard Herring has a recent book on virtues published about three years ago, in which he refers to humility as a moth-eaten virtue. So we need to rehabilitate it, we need to re-understand it, and I believe that Confucian optic can be extremely helpful. I think that the Western contemporary notion of humility is individualistic and voluntaristic. At worst, it's an assumed pose of unworthiness. Remember the character Uriah Heep in our novel by Dickens. It's not attractive at all. Certainly the deepest sense of humility


is Christological for a Christian, that we enter into the pastoral mystery with Christ, and it brings us that deeper self-emptying. But I think it brings us, through that emptiness, to a tremendous fullness, as we've talked about this morning. Confucian sincerity would be a very helpful notion to understand a deeper sense of humility, not just one virtue among others, but as kind of a meta-virtue, or basic to all virtues, a way to open us to them all. So sincerity, for me, is not just a concept. It's a whole disposition of the Chinese heart. And I believe it has a rich possibility of bringing us to a deeper sense of benedictive humility. I'm an amateur, as I said, and I'm, in this paper, just beginning to sketch some beginnings of transferring insight from sincerity to benedictive humility.


And I look to the Chinese benedictives of the future to really unpack this in a much deeper way. I think that Confucianism has been a somewhat neglected partner in East-West dialogue, and so I'm very happy that Confucianism was included in this conference. So let me just begin by saying that there are really basically four parts to my paper. The first is to sort of lay out the problematic a little bit and say why humility has become a kind of problem for contemporary Benedictines. And the second part is some general comparisons between Benedictinism and Confucianism, which I may say a little bit about. And then third, I get into the heart of the matter, is laying out the Confucian notion of jade sincerity. And then fourth and finally,


I end with kind of a poetic medication or elaboration on Benedict's cosmic vision as a way of understanding sincerity as a return to that deepest center which opens us up to all centers. Just to say briefly something about the history of the notion of humility in Benedict. He, of course, was very much influenced by John Cashin, and Cashin had taken from, as this was pointed out the other day, the notion of apatheia, and had not used apatheia but had used the more biblical notion of purity of heart, which is more positive. And Benedict, interestingly, even though John Cashin says that that's the primary purpose, the immediate goal of monastic life, he does not use the term purity of heart, and most scholars now agree that what he uses in its place is humility. So we can understand the heritage of Benedict's notion


of humility by going back both to Cashin and to Evagrius, which I'll do in the conclusion. Confucianism is not monastic, as John Morelli pointed out before. For Confucius, you might say that the world is the monastery, the whole polis, whereas you could say that Benedict is a sage for whom a specific humility is his polis, and his ability to be a great legislator and wise legislator, I think, is in itself a kind of Confucian attribute. The wisdom of governance. The Taoist hermits in China, of course, are obviously quite monastic, and many monks of the West tend to be inclined for that reason more towards Taoism than Confucianism. So there's no cadre of spiritual elite on the side of society for the Confucians. The realized person is the public servant,


as Professor Chung pointed out very, very well in his previous talk. The five great classics of Confucianism were used to train and form the state bureaucracy right down to the early 20th century. For Confucianism, the secular is sacred, and as Professor Chung says, the sacred is also secular. There's no kind of division of the problem. I said to Stephen this morning, in Confucianism, you don't have pillow sitters that are on the side of the babysitters. More on that side of the household. Yet Confucianism does teach a way of moral and spiritual cultivation, which was very well pointed out and elaborated in our previous talk. And the societal impact of Chinese Confucianism certainly developed a tremendous tradition of civility,


just as Benedictine values led to a great impact on the Western development of civility. It's interesting that Robert Bellah, in one of his recent books, The Great Society, in which he talks about the disintegration of Western social institutions, professions and education, the churches and so forth. As an empirical scientist, a sociologist, he's not supposed to go out on a limb and say what he would recommend about this, but he uses the term self-cultivation. And his early work as a sociologist was in East Asia. And so he's recommending self-cultivation and that very Confucian term of spirituality as a source of societal renovation in our society. Likewise, the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, when he talks about moral disintegration


of Western society, says perhaps in our day we need a new and perhaps quite different Saint Benedict. So you can see that Confucian self-cultivation and the wisdom of Saint Benedict have this perennial impact of leading towards societal revitalization and so forth. Confucianism is far more than an ethical humanism, and yet there may not be no personal god in the Western sense, yet it is both ascetical and contemplative in a very deep way. And I wish I had time to talk about more of the connections and correspondences between Benedictinism and Confucianism, but I simply can't get into that. Saint Benedict's humanity, moderation, and discretion


are qualities of a spiritual balance that the classic Chinese would also share. All the virtues are displayed in a wise governance and an ability to work with human nature in all its dimensions. Saint Benedict is unquestionably a kind of Western sage personality and one of the principal archetypal wisdom figures of the West. Even in the Christian East, eight centuries after the division of the Christian East and West, Gregory Polymas would point to Saint Benedict as the great model of the hesychast. Now the hesychast is a particular tradition of continuous prayer and the saying of Jesus, which is more than just the saying of Jesus, it's a whole way of life and spirituality. But that hesychia, that rest, means tranquility, quiesce, the opening of the single eye of the heart, and then the vision, the illumination, and so on. It seems to be Benedict's vision of an auric light which in Polymas' mind links Benedict


to the hesychast tradition, a point not unrelated to the event in the tradition of Promethea and John Passion's purity of heart. Though neither Evagrius nor John Passion taught what later became the formal practice of hesychastic prayer, and neither did Benedict, the tradition of incessant prayer is clearly found in John Passion. Therefore, in a way, we can speak of a Western or Latin hesychasm. Benedict's spirituality is a way of the ordinary and everydayness as in the Confucian tradition. The genuine Confucian strived to cultivate mind-heart. The notion, Chinese notion of mind-heart is somewhat parallel to the Greek nous and the Hebrew leb. Tranquility and non-attachment are as much in the name of the cultivation of heart-mind as is the goal of apatheia or purity of heart. But the cultivation is also directly related to service in society, to everydayness.


Contrast this with Plotinus' sense of the ascent of the alone to the alone, and one sees a fundamental dispositional difference between the Greek sense of contemplation and the Confucian sense. Confucian contemplation or enlightenment was never a question of private bliss or an escape from the reality of social life. The document called Great Learning, a major Confucian classic, teaches what is called Mingming De, illustrious virtue in the world, shown in loving the people and resting in the supreme goodness. Some discussion last night, the idiograms imply that the person is so transformed that there's just a kind of natural, the French would say, rayonnement, a radiance that overflows, reflecting a kind of light. The practice of sincerity, shown, is the basic means to such realization. Sincerity will lead to ren,


a real and practical love. William Theodore de Berry calls ren a sense of an affinity and organic unity among all things. I'll later point out how we see this in the cosmic vision of St. Benedict. The Confucian sense of ren, love or human heartedness, is so significant that Hans Kuhn, a major Western theologian, proposes that it be considered as a foundational concept for world ecumenicity. Everybody can be a Confucian. Just as John Cashin would equate purity of heart with charity, the Confucian tradition knew that sincerity, shown, was immediately ren or deep human heartedness, or the wide heart, the expansive heart, or the Maha Atma in Sanskrit. For both the Confucian and Benedictine traditions, the right relationship with persons, places, and things


stems from a rectification of the heart, from a humility or centeredness rooted in profound reverence. Now I think that both in Confucianism and in Benedictinism, that profound reverence, which is a whole stance towards life, is partly at least formed in cult, you know, in the practice of me and liturgical worship and so forth. Benedict's ladder of humility begins with a strong sense of fear of the Lord, the biblical sense of reverence, an awesome sense of the reality and exigencies of the sacred. This is something a Confucian would understand, even without a sense of a personal God. For a Confucian contact with the sacred principle, rectification of the heart and mind transforms all dimensions of life. The foundational and essential virtue of Confucianism is sincerity. Sincerity is the key to


sage work. Its classic formulation is the profound classic known as the Doctrine of the Mean, also simply referred to as the Mean. The Mean is a superb spiritual classic, and unfortunately little known in the West. I myself feel that the Doctrine of the Mean and the Tao Te Ching are two perfect commentaries on the chapter on humility, Benedict's chapter on humility. It ought to be required for reading, study, and internalization in every monastic tradition. In China, it served as a bridge between the Confucian tradition and the other two principle traditions, the Taoist and the Buddhist. Both the Mean and the Taoist classic Tao Te Ching are two excellent commentaries on the virtue of humility. The Confucian virtue of Ching is a kind of meta-virtue, and is the presupposition of all listings of the Confucian virtues. The Doctrine of the Mean calls


the ontological ultimate Chun. The Chinese title of the Mean is therefore Chun Yun. Chun is translated by the great Confucian scholar Du Wei Ming as centrality, and that's really key for the insights that I'm elaborating. You see, the Mean as centrality, which is kind of perhaps reification, because again, I think it's a matter of the apprehension of that centrality, which is a centering process which becomes all of life. It is the access of all truth, the center of all spiritual reality, the center which is everywhere. Rodney King calls the Mean, quote, a vivid image of the centering process. So you see, we put centering as sort of one little distinct discipline, but it should lead to a whole orientation towards life, and a suggestion of a subtle point of the Confucian religious dimension. This center, Chun,


is the sacred for the Confucian. It is not an absolute out there, apart from all being. Thus, the Mean counsels to follow our nature is called the Way. Now, cultivating the Way is called education. Education involves a spiritual reordering. It is to realign oneself with nature, reality. It is cosmic harmony. This spiritual realignment is impossible without sincerity, just as Saint Benedict's ascent to spiritual realization presupposes a ladder of humility. Benedict's ladder, paradoxically, ascends by descending. Again, in the image of loneliness, humility of heart. Realization is founded on loneliness, a very Confucian and Taoist perception also. Thus, the Mean says, and this is perhaps the key text, sincerity is the way to heaven.


To think how to be sincere is the way of man. He who is sincere is one who hits upon what is right without effort and apprehends without thinking. He is naturally and easily in harmony with the Way. Such a person is a sage. He who tries to be sincere is one who chooses the good and holds fast to it. Study it, the way to be sincere, extensively. Inquire into it accurately. Think it over carefully, sift it clearly, and practice it earnestly. That's the whole process of reflection, meditation, contemplation. It is not possible to live in harmony with truth, with ultimate reality, unless one has sincerity. Sincerity is the center by which one relates to the center which is everywhere. If the Chung of the Mean can be rendered centrality as Du Wei Ming suggests, we might suggest


that Cheng sincerity can be understood as centering, a continuous return to a point of truth and integration. This continuous return is by contemplative apprehension, by sacred study, and contemplative harmony and living. The goal is also the means. Chung has the sense of a noun, a substantive. Cheng has a more active sense, I believe, indicating a process and perhaps those who speak Chinese could elaborate on that. The Chinese character of Cheng also means completion, actualization, perfection, honesty, genuineness, truth. The frequent translation of Cheng into the English sincerity is not entirely satisfactory. Sincerity in common English may be seen as a quality of character, ethical and moral perhaps, but often unhinged from a broader and we would maintain spiritual viewpoint.


Therefore, one must be cautious of the translation of Cheng as sincerity since it can easily miss the religious and even mystical aspects of the term unless it is understood in terms of the whole Confucian spiritual universe. One contemporary commentator, Hong Chun He, argues that sincerity is a thoroughly inadequate equivalence. This is the problem of language, trying to find equivalence. He attempts to amplify the sense of Cheng by describing it as, quote, creating and accomplishing oneself and all things of the world, which, while perhaps a more adequate rendering, is far too unwieldy for continuous use. The translation of Cheng as sincerity has become standard whatever its inadequacies. Suffice it to say that the common English notion of sincerity or authenticity needs to be qualified when used in the Confucian context.


It is not merely psychological, a goal of good character, it is ontological and deeply spiritual. Du Wenming cites Mencius to substantiate the spiritual ramifications of sincerity. Cheng, in the following passage in Mencius, is translated as true, while also translated as to be centered. The desirable is called good. To have it in oneself is called true. To possess it fully in oneself is called beautiful. But to shine forth with its full possession is called great. To be great and to be transformed by this greatness is called sage. To be sage and to transcend the understanding is called divine. This is an important point for our purposes. The classic and most profound Chinese sense of sincerity is profoundly spiritual and even mystical. Modern Western notions of humility


are often not immediately spiritual. The psychologist Antoine Mergod, for example, has suggested authenticity as a contemporary psychological norm of self-realization and therefore as a possible way to appreciate Benedictine humility. The inadequacy of this suggestion was rather firmly stated by Benedictine monk Benedict Levin. Confucian sincerity has a considerably different connotation from Mergod's Western contemporary and highly psychological sense of authenticity. Thus the Chinese sense of sincerity takes on a deeper and deeper significance as one studies it in the whole Confucian worldview and its sense of spiritual attainment. The Evagrian notion of apatheia implies a spiritual reordering of the self which is an opening of the heart, leading to theoria physicae and theoria theologica, a vision of


a created reality and a vision of the mysteries of God. The ordinary modern Benedictine understanding of humility has no such stature at all and it is in this regard that the insights of the Confucian tradition may help Benedictines to deepen and re-appreciate humility. Sincerity is a characteristic of the enlightened person, but it is also a dynamic way of progress. Sincerity is the sine qua non of all spiritual cultivation. It is the key to integration, right order, clarity, and truth. In a similar way, the mind of Christ, participation in the canonical history, opens the door to reality for the Christian. The doctrine of the mean says of sincerity, only those who are absolutely sincere can fully develop their nature. If they can fully develop their nature, they can develop the nature of others. Reminds me of a quotation from Saint Seraphim of Sarov,


Establish yourself in God and then you will be helpful to others. If they can fully develop the nature of others, then they can develop the nature of things. If they can fully develop the nature of things, they can assist in the transforming and nourishing process of heaven and earth. If they can assist in the transforming and nourishing process of heaven and earth, they can form a trinity of heaven and earth, heaven, earth, and human in between. It is important to remember Du Wei Ming's emphasis on chance as centrality, a point which is also an axis of connection, a way to harmony and integration. Forming the sacred third is a Confucian way of understanding spiritual completion. The wise person lives in harmony, creating a sacred bond with heaven, earth, and the human. The inner rectification


of the heart, both for the early Christian monastic tradition and for Confucianism, requires a kind of watchfulness. The Christian monastic tradition called this nexus. Both the Ming and its companion classic, The Great Learning, assert that the noble person is watchful over himself when alone. Gregory the Great, when describing Benedict's early monastic life at Sympiaco, says that Benedict lived with himself, avatare sacrum. Humility, sincerity, is necessarily linked to true self-knowledge, vigilance over one's thoughts and emotions. As the 14th century English mystic Walter Hilton put it, beyond the initial conversion of life called reformation of faith, which is more on the ego level, there is also a reformation of feeling, in which even the roots of one's feeling life are transformed. This seems to me to fit with the whole discussion we have about the Samskaras and the Kleshas.


Early and classic Confucianism did not teach specific techniques. After the 12th century, Neo-Confucianism would be more specifically concerned to lay out a systematic learning of mind-heart, a true system of interiority with a concrete practice. The practical, the social, and the political linked together, the so-called things at hand, and thus avoided a dichotomy between action and contemplation, and was not touched by the dangers of anti-intellectualism and quietism found in some Buddhist and Daoist authors. Relationships are as crucial for the Confucian ideal as they are for Benedict. In chapter 72 of The Rule of Benedict, probably its original ending before chapter 73 was added, Benedict defines the role of monastic life as precisely the living out of the Christian life in terms of a web of relationships. Reverence,


a fundamental attitude shaping one's way of relating, is evidence in the Benedictine monastic attitude towards God, other persons, and all things. Humility is the relativization of the ego and not its destruction. Commenting on Confucius' saying the noble person is ever reverent, William Theodore de Berry explains that this conveys the sense that one should deal with all persons as if they had a high dignity and all things as if they had an infinite value. Such profound and expansive reverence is the spirit which suffuses the whole of Benedict's rule. For Benedict, even the tools of the monastery are to be treated as if they were the vessels of the altar. His exquisite care for the sick, his delicacy in dealing with the alien world, his sensitivity for the multiplicity of personality types and the variety of personal gifts, his recognition of special needs of the old and the young, for example,


witness to the reverence which become innate in the Benedictine disposition. It is not without significance that all these traits are listed in regard to the duties of the cellarer, the monastery manager, the person who is certainly concerned with the things at hand, and that the qualities of the cellarer are a summary of the essentials of humility. Benedictinism and Confucianism both emphasize a spiritual way that is concrete and daily, a way of the ordinary. The Confucian sense of cultivating my heart is seen to be directly related to service in society, everydayness, by ordinary remaining in the human community. It is not a question of recharging one's spiritual batteries on the side of life, then returning to the phrase, so to speak. I think that Saint Benedict would instinctively appreciate Confucian virtues and qualities of reverence,


reciprocal respect, loyalty, and good faith. Sincerity is expressed in personal modesty, self-restraint, courtesy, polite manners. Confucian ching, or jing, or reverence, reverent seriousness is expressed in being sedately gracious and wonderful. These qualities are not just a stilted manner, a Hollywood caricature of Confucian mandarin. Confucianism would never see becoming a profound person as private or individualistic. Spiritual wisdom is necessarily related to ongoing service to the wider community. But the living out of the ideal is hardly a mere realization of an ethical ideal. Confucianism has been described as a moral metaphysic. It teaches that restoration of human nature realigns oneself necessarily with heaven and earth and the human. Inner work is the way to all truth. Harmony


and integration are both the means and the end. Okay, I'm going to move on again a little bit more. The way of sincerity, it brings a sense of connectedness with all things. Again, this is certainly akin to the experience of Saint Benedict. He had an experience he had from the end of his life when he went into a tower of prayer, went deeply within himself to the center of all centers and had a cosmic vision. Whether this is historical or mythological, I think it doesn't matter. I think the teaching there is very important. A connectedness with all things and Saint Gregory the Great says about that experience that it was not that the world was small but that his heart was enlarged. So that going to the center, the deepest subjective, deepest part of oneself actually opens oneself up to the most objective. Again, this is certainly akin


to the experience of Benedict described by Gregory the Great. Nowhere is this more poetically described in the Confucian tradition than in the so-called Western description of Chang Tsai. Heaven is my father and earth is my mother and even such a small creature as I find an intimate place in their midst. Therefore, that which directs the universe I consider as nature. While people are my brothers and sisters and all things are my companions. Let's say now where we go of 12th century Cistercian wrote a letter to his sister who was a recluse and he said, in your deepest prayer gather the whole world together in your arms. Okay, I'm going to move on to the conclusion. Benedict is not alone among early Christian monastic writers in emphasizing the excellence of humility. The Eastern fathers,


Greek and Syriac, have always viewed humility as the mother of all virtues. Benedictine humility has more doubtedly Christological and eschatological formulation, obviously lacking in Confucian treatment of sincerity. Yet there are clear parallels. Humility might be called the door to true Christian gnosis, to a vision of all things consummated in Christ the center. Through humility one attains a felt unity with all of creation, all of reality, symbolized by Gregory the Great's account of Benedict's cosmic vision. The humble and purified heart is in harmony with all of creation. Humility is the way to a true unitive vision, an aligning of the heart with reality that opens one to greater and greater mysteries. The event known as Benedict's cosmic vision is reported by Gregory the Great in his dialogues. Historians warn of pious elaboration in such hagiography, but perhaps the lesson of this event


exists on another level than the literal history. Ruth Peter described Benedict shortly before he died went into a tower to pray. He saw the whole cosmos gathered before him as if in the laying of sun. Gregory comments it was not that the world was small, but that his heart was enlarged. This event might appear from the outside as too apparently ecstatic to relate to the ordinariness of a Confucian spiritual way, and in some sense perhaps allegorical and archetypal. Benedict's experience in the tower is in some way paradigmatic both for the Confucian profound person and Benedict's ideal of the monk. The Confucian tradition's deepest spiritual conviction is the teaching of the me that rectification of the heart will bring one to centrality, the sacred center uniting three basic realms of heaven, earth, and human. This journey of integration begins with the discovery of the sacred point within our


heart. Benedict's turn inward in the tower as he prayed was a return to his own deepest center, but also that center which is the center of all centers which has no succumbance. That's why it's a vision of totality. The monastic journey is about enlarging the heart or as medieval writers called it the dilatantio portus as we run the way of God's commandment as Benedict says in the Prologue to the Law our hearts expand, warming up the heart. The me of the doctrine of the me is a point of integration and an access uniting the three basic chronological realms heaven, earth, and human. The poet Ezra Pound translated the me as the unwavering heaven. He also translated it as standing fast in the middle. Standing fast in the middle, but you know as martial arts teach, it's that center, but it's a center out of which spontaneous movement can move.


Aidan Kavanaugh interestingly attempts to explain a vagrant apotheia by calling a kind of dynamic equilibrium. Same notion again. In this regard John Cashin also sees purity of heart, which he simply says is charity as a kind of inner pivot, ultimate compass the center which immovably fits is also the ultimate measure of all thoughts. Here's what Cashin says about thoughts. So also our mind unless by working around the love of the Lord alone as an immovably fixed center through all the circumstances of our works and contrivances either fits or rejects the character of all our thoughts by the excellent compasses if I may say so of love, which love will ever by excellent skill build up the structure of that spiritual atlas. The noble person, the sage, the truly humble one is concentric. Truth, sincerity, authenticity


puts one on center not in a kind of frozen stability but in a creative and true opening. The person who has found the inner truth in the depths of their own being has an immediate link with heaven and earth. The sacred center is not confining but opens to universality. Thus when medieval Christian writers spoke of God as that reality whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere, a phrase taken up from record-rolling paganism, they are asserting not only that there is nowhere that God is not but also that the center, which is everywhere opens to totality or total inclusion. The symbol of the center may be one of the greatest symbols of the sacred just as the symbol of the spiral is keenly appropriate in the spiritual journey of spiritual progress. The spiral moves to and from a center and also extends itself on the axis as the dialectic of inner and


outer play on each other. The dynamic of the spiral is inward, outward, forward, or progressive. The heightening of the dialectic creates an ever-widening jar in the words of Irish poet William Buckman Yeats. Marty pointed out to me last night that I kind of sort of robbed that phrase from Yeats out of the context because Yeats talks about when the center is not whole, things fall apart and the ever-widening jar is from the disintegration. Well, as we move from a point of centrality and drift away from it, it can be disintegration, but it also, the more we touch that center, the more we're drawn back towards it and then enrich and flow outward. Noted Chinese scholar Du Weiming comments self-cultivation is not a ceasing process, a gradual inclusion. So that ever-widening reach can improve. Father Bruno has been striving to articulate


a true sense of gnosis in a greater and deeper vision. To see it only as a rare or passing moment of ecstasy is not to see its link to the whole of Benedict and monastic concises. Now the Old Apostle in a brilliant essay on St. Benedict as the classic pneumatic pose clearly links the injunction in the prologue to the rule we must open our eyes to the deifying light, to the cosmic vision reported by Gregory. The cosmic vision is why Gregory's poemist in the 14th century points to Benedict as the true model of the Hesychast. A number of years ago, one of my students, a Korean Benedictine monk, commented on a Chinese character on an invitation card on my desk, an invitation to the installation of the Zen Master. He explained ah, it is our vocation. And I said, what do you mean? He said, in Chinese, this character means two things, purity of heart, and


to see the 10,000 things clearly. Surely St. Benedict saw the 10,000 things clearly. Would a vagabond not recognize in this experience of Benedict a living out of the theoria physicae and theoria theologica, which a life of apatheia and purity of heart lead to? This is the contemplative vision Father Bruno calls unitive knowledge, implying integration and wholism. I'll quickly try to finish this. An appreciation of classic Confucian wisdom would help Western monastics to reappropriate a sense that purity of heart and humility mean a reverent openness. It is St. Benedict's phrase to incline the ear of the heart. It demands that we stand honestly and reverently in reference to a transcending ultimate as the foundational and pervasive spirit of our life. Such a stance is the first of St. Benedict's


steps on his ladder of humility. Evagrius Ponicus, when describing purity of heart, uses the image of the vessel. Remember, Wayne Shue talked about the ideogram of the vessel before the altar, which is worship. In his odd monikos, Evagrius writes that the vessel of election is a pure soul. Evagrius here is pointing to purity of heart as foundational to spiritual enlightenment and to early Christianity, especially monasticism. It is a fundamental receptivity of our heart, just as the way of sincerity for a Confucian leads to ren, human heartedness, love, compassion. For Evagrius, the work on the heart is an opening to love. Evagrius writes, in front of love, passionless apatheia marches in front of knowledge, love. John Cashin, the leading influence on Evagrius, when he points


to purity of heart, which he says is self-security, would not involve, I think, calling it the opening of the heart, creating a vessel of the heart, and never widening capacity for the spirit. We have mentioned before that philatopsia fortis is a great monastic theme. Benedict in the Prologue to the Rule thus comments, as we run the way of God's commandments, our hearts expand. This process is also referred to in the Prologue's phrase, which enjoins his followers to open our eyes to the deifying light. This purity of heart leads directly to illumination, to a cumulative vision. Far from a privatized experience, the widening of the heart to the spirit is universalizing, grounding compassion for what the Chinese would call the myriad 10,000 things. Just about finished. Benedict's cosmic vision thus understood


is paradigmatic of the whole Christian spiritual journey. The opening of the heart through humility, apotheia, or takia, brings an illumination and harmony with all of creation. Genuine spiritual illumination is universalizing, non-private, and is progressively inclusive, grounds one in the concrete, the human particular. The Chinese historically had a great instinct for the spirit in the marketplace, the common and familiar political earthly reality. Spiritual illumination necessarily results in greater and greater wisdom, a whole way of living, and particularities of one's actual existence. Being progressively filled with the spirit, to be a pneumatic hose, is to become a fountain of light, love, wisdom, healing, compassion. Kevin was talking about the symbol, understanding purity of heart as returning to paradise, and that the medieval cloister was the


paradise. But at the center of that was the fountain. If anyone thirsts, let that person come to me, and from that person's center will flow a fountain of living water. The human journey is a matter of becoming a soulful vessel, empty and lowly, in order to be a spirit-filled fountain. Confucius in the Analects tells a story of Sun Tzu who asked, what would you say about me as a person? The master said, you are a utensil. What sort of utensil? A sacrificial vase of jade. How Benedictine. The descending ascent of Benedict's ladder refines the vessel of the heart. It is the liturgy of one's life that becomes a cosmic liturgy. It is a life of centering that is empowered at the center to progressively return to an ever-widening circumference of inclusiveness. Thank you very much, and also thank you for being


timely. It would have been difficult for me to ask you to stop speaking after being educated by sisters for the first 18 years of my life. Actually, I asked Martin Verhoeven, perhaps, why don't you tell us something that wasn't said about yourself yesterday? Because apparently you heard the introduction already, and I will just be reading the same introduction, but maybe there's one piece of interesting information you could share with us. This is what the nuns used to do to me. I had them too, they'd put me on the spot. It was a little spontaneous act. We're not doing it in our free time. It's a little spontaneity