Anthony de Mello

"Thomas Aquinas Stops Writing" - (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD

The story goes that Thomas Aquinas, one of the world's ablest theologians, suddenly stopped writing. When his secretary complained that his work was unfinished, Thomas replied, "Brother Reginald, some months ago I experienced something of the Absolute, so all I have ever written about God seems to me now to be like straw." Read More...
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"WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" by Anthony de Mello

Wisdom
The master imprints his wisdom in the heart of his disciples, not in the pages of a book. The disciple might carry this wisdom for thirty or forty years, hidden in his heart, until he meets someone ready to receive it. Such was the tradition of Zen.

The Zen master Mu-nan sent for his disciple Shoju one day and said, "I am an old man now, Shoju, and it is you who will carry on this teaching.
Here is a book that has been handed down for seven generations from master to master. I have myself added some notes to it that you will find valuable. Here, keep it with you as a sign that I have made you my successor. “
"You had better keep the book yourself," said Shoju. "1 received your Zen without the help of written words and I am quite content to let it be that way."
“I know, I know," said Mu-nan patiently. "Even so, the book has served seven generations and it may be helpful to you too. Here, keep it with you."
The two happened to be talking near the fireplace.
The instant the book touched Shoju’s hand he flung it into the fire. He had no lust for written words.
Mu-nan, who was never known to be angry before, shouted, "You must be crazy! What are you doing?”
Shoju shouted back, "You are crazy yourself!
What are you saying?”

The guru speaks with authority of what he himself has experienced. He quotes no books.

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"THE GURU’S CAT" by Anthony de Mello

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When the guru sat down to worship each evening, the ashram cat would get in the way and distract the worshippers. So he ordered that the cat be tied during evening worship.

After the guru died, the cat continued to be tied during evening worship. And when the cat expired, another cat was brought to the ashram so that it could be duly tied during evening worship.

Centuries later, learned treatises were written by the guru’s scholarly disciples on the liturgical significance of tying up a cat while worship is performed.


SOURCE: Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird ,
(Image; Reprint edition, 1984) page 63


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"The Formula" by Anthony de Mello

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The mystic was back from the desert.
"Tell us," they said, "what God is like.”

But how could he ever tell them
what he had experienced in his heart?
Can God be put into words?

He finally gave them a formula—
so inaccurate, so inadequate—
in the hope that some of them might be tempted
to experience it for themselves.

They seized upon the formula.
They made it a sacred text.
They imposed it on others as a holy belief.
They went to great pains to spread it in foreign lands.
Some even gave their lives for it.

The mystic was sad.
It might have been better if he had said nothing.




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"The Song of the Bird" — Anthony de Mello

Detail of singing Common Yellowthroat, an original gouache painting by David Sibley

The disciples were full of questions about God.

Said the Master, “God is Unknown, the Unknowable. Every statement about Him, every answer to your questions, is a distortion of the Truth.”

The disciples were bewildered. “Then why do you speak about Him at all?”

“Why does the bird sing?” said the Master.
Not because he has a statement, but because he has a song.
The words of the Scholar are to be understood. The words of the Master are not to be understood. They are to be listened to as one listens to the wind in the trees and the sound of the river and the song of the bird. They will awaken something within the heart that is beyond all knowledge.

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"The Explorer" (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD

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The explorer returned to his people, who were eager to know about the Amazon. But how could he ever put into words the feelings that flooded his heart when he saw exotic flowers and heard the night-sounds of the forest; when he sensed the danger of wild beasts or paddled his canoe over treacherous rapids?

He said, “Go and find out for yourselves. "
To guide them
he drew a map of the river.
They pounced upon the map.
They framed it in their town hall.
They made copies of it for themselves.
And all who had a copy
considered themselves experts on the river,
for did they not know its every turn and bend,
how broad it was and how deep,
where the rapids were and where the falls?


Commentary: It is said that Buddha obdurately refused to be drawn into talking about God.


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"The Formula" (excerpt) Anthony de Mello -

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The mystic was back from the desert.
"Tell us," they said, "what God is like?”

But how could he ever tell them
what he had experienced in his heart?
Can God be put into words?

He finally gave them a formula—
so inaccurate, so inadequate—
in the hope that some of them might be tempted
to experience it for themselves.

They seized upon the formula.
They made it a sacred text.
They imposed it on others as a holy belief.
They went to great pains to spread it in foreign lands.
Some even gave their lives for it.

The mystic was sad.
It might have been better if he had said nothing.


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"Thomas Aquinas Stops Writing" - (excerpt) Anthony de Mello - THE SONG OF THE BIRD

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The story goes that Thomas Aquinas, one of the world's ablest theologians, suddenly stopped writing. When his secretary complained that his work was unfinished, Thomas replied, "Brother Reginald, some months ago I experienced something of the Absolute, so all I have ever written about God seems to me now to be like straw.”

How could it be otherwise when the scholar becomes a seer?

When the mystic came down from the mountain
he was accosted by the atheist, who said sarcastically, "What did you bring us from that garden of delights you were in?"
The mystic replied, "I had every intention of filling my skirt with flowers and giving them to my friends on my return.
But while I was there
I became so intoxicated with the fragrance of the garden that I let go of the skirt.”


COMMENTARY: The Zen masters put it succinctly: "The one who knows, does not say. The one who says, does not know."


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"Awareness" by Anthony de Mello

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---Painting: “Awareness” by Rebecca Rees
The student monk had spent seven years,
Learning how to comprehend awareness.
At the end of his study it was time for assessment,
To visit the master was his final assignment.

The master sat, at the young man he looked,
Was he ready to become a teacher monk?

The young monk, wet from his walk,
Had placed his umbrella in the hall
Master asked, 'to the left or right of your clogs,
Did you place your umbrella to dry at rest? '

The monk was taken by surprise,
Why such simple thing, when so wise?
Try as he might he couldn't recall;
Had to admit, no idea at all.

'Go back to your teacher for seven more years,
To learn once more the secret of awareness'.

To late the young monk remembered,
Awareness encompasses everything.
No chance of ever really seeing,
Unless every second has meaning.

SOURCE:
https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/from-the-heart-of-anthony-de-mello/



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"Spirituality Means…" by Anthony de Mello

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Spirituality means waking up.  Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep.  They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up.  They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.

—Anthony de Mello
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"The Way the World Is" by Anthony de Mello

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---Crocodile Sketch 4
---by Shadowdion

When you awaken, when you understand, when you see, the world becomes right. We're always bothered by the problem of evil. There's a powerful story about a little boy walking along the bank of a river. He sees a crocodile who is trapped in a net. The crocodile says, "Would you have pity on me and release me? I may look ugly, but it isn't my fault, you know. I was made this way. But whatever my external appearance, I have a mother's heart. I came this morning in search of food for my young ones and got caught in this trap!" 

So the boy says, "Ah, if I were to help you out of that trap, you'd grab me and kill me." 

The crocodile asks, "Do you think I would do that to my benefactor and liberator?" 

So the boy is persuaded to take the net off and the crocodile grabs him. 

As he is being forced between the jaws of the crocodile, he says, "So this is what I get for my good actions." And the crocodile says, "Well, don't take it personally, son, this is the way the world is, this is the law of life." 

The boy disputes this, so the crocodile says, "Do you want to ask someone if it isn't so?" 

The boy sees a bird sitting on a branch and says, "Bird, is what the crocodile says right?" The bird says, "The crocodile is right. Look at me. I was coming home one day with food for my fledglings. Imagine my horror to see a snake crawling up the tree, making straight for my nest. I was totally helpless. It kept devouring my young ones, one after the other. I kept screaming and shouting, but it was useless. The crocodile is right, this is the law of life, this is the way the world is." 

"See," says the crocodile. But the boy says, "Let me ask someone else." So the crocodile says, "Well, all right, go ahead." 

There was an old donkey passing by on the bank of the river. "Donkey," says the boy, "this is what the crocodile says. Is the crocodile right?" 

The donkey says, "The crocodile is quite right. Look at me. I've worked and slaved for my master all my life and he barely gave me enough to eat. Now that I'm old and useless, he has turned me loose, and here I am wandering in the jungle, waiting for some wild beast to pounce on me and put an end to my life. The crocodile is right, this is the law of life, this is the way the world is." 

"See," says the crocodile. "Let's go!" 

The boy says, "Give me one more chance, one last chance. Let me ask one other being. Remember how good I was to you?" So the crocodile says, "All right, your last chance." 

The boy sees a rabbit passing by, and he says, "Rabbit, is the crocodile right?" 

The rabbit sits on his haunches and says to the crocodile, "Did you say that to that boy? The crocodile says, "Yes, I did." "Wait a minute," says the rabbit. "We've got to discuss this." "Yes," says the crocodile. But the rabbit says, "How can we discuss it when you've got that boy in your mouth? Release him; he's got to take part in the discussion, too." The crocodile says, "You're a clever one, you are. The moment I release him, he'll run away." The rabbit says, "I thought you had more sense than that. If he attempted to run away, one slash of your tail would kill him." 

"Fair enough," says the crocodile, and he released the boy. The moment the boy is released, the rabbit says, "Run!" And the boy runs and escapes. Then the rabbit says to the boy, "Don't you enjoy crocodile flesh? Wouldn't the people in your village like a good meal? You didn't really release that crocodile; most of his body is still caught in that net. Why don't you go to the village and bring everybody and have a banquet." 

That's exactly what the boy does. He goes to the village and calls all the men folk. They come with their axes and staves and spears and kill the crocodile. The boy's dog comes, too, and when the dog sees the rabbit, he gives chase, catches hold of the rabbit, and throttles him. The boy comes on the scene too late, and as he watches the rabbit die, he says, "The crocodile was right, this is the way the world is, this is the law of life." 

There is no explanation you can give that would explain away all the sufferings and evil and torture and destruction and hunger in the world! You'll never explain it. You can try gamely with your formulas, religious and otherwise, but you'll never explain it. Because life is a mystery, which means your thinking mind cannot make sense out of it. For that you've got to wake up and then you'll suddenly realize that reality is not problematic, you are the problem. 

—Anthony de Mello

SOURCE:
http://demellospirituality.com/awareness/27.html
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The Way to Love ~ Week One (Excerpts from the 'Way to Love' book) by Anthony De Mello

The Way to Love ~ Week One (Excerpts from the 'Way to Love' book)

"After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”

Has it ever occurred to you that you can only love when you are alone? What does it mean to love? It means to see a person, a thing, a situation, as it really is and not as you imagine it to be, and to give it the response it deserves. You cannot love what you do not even see.

And what prevents you from seeing? Your concepts, your categories, your prejudices and projections, your needs and attachments, the labels you have drawn from your conditioning and from your past experiences.

To drop your conditioning in order to see is arduous enough. But seeing calls for something more painful still. The dropping of the control that society exercises over you....You were given a taste for the drug called Approval, Appreciation, Attention, the drug called Success, Prestige, Power....You must tear away from your being the roots of society that have penetrated to the marrow. You must drop out. Externally everything will go on as before, you will continue to be in the world, but no longer of it. And in your heart you will now be free at last and utterly alone....To come to the land of love, you have to pass through the pains of death, for to love persons is to have died to the need for persons and to be utterly alone. How would you ever get there?

1 By ceaseless awareness and the infinite patience and compassion that you would have for a drug addict. SCRIPTURE, WORSHIP, CHARITY TELL GOD OF A PERSECUTION--SELF KNOWLEDGE (TF, P 39)

2 Undertake activities that you can do with your whole being. While you are engaged in them success or approval simply do not mean a thing to you.

3 Return to Nature: Send the crowds away and go up into the mountain....THE LIBERATION (WELL SPRINGS) 
Then you will know that your heart has brought you into the vast desert of solitude....If you manage to stay there for a while the desert will suddenly blossom into Love

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