Before Your Eyes, the Divine Vision, and Lover and Beloved

• Our first new library addition this month is Genjo Koan, one of the best known chapters of Dogen’s Shobogenzo, the great early summa of Zen monastic teaching, and “the best text to start to study Dogen’s work”.

When someone has spiritually awakened, he resembles the moon’s ‘residing’ in water: the moon does not get wet nor is the water shattered. Although the moon is a great, broad light, it lodges in the tiniest bit of water. The moon at its fullest, as well as the whole of the heavens, lodges within the dewdrop poised on a blade of grass, just as it lodges in any single bit of water. Spiritual awakening does not tear a person asunder.

• An article by Prof. David Bradshaw, “The Vision of God in Philo of Alexandria”, relates ancient Greek and early Christian concepts of the purification of the soul and the ultimate vision of God.

The sort of purification he has in mind is not a ritual cleansing or ascetic discipline, but the education of the soul into virtue and wisdom. Philo holds that the best preparation for the pursuit of divine things is an active life of virtue, “for it is sheer folly to suppose that you will reach the greater while you are incapable of mastering the lesser.”

• And finally we bring the famous “Book of the Lover and the Beloved” by Ramon Llull, the great medieval Majorcan saint and scholar.

The Lover and the Beloved met, and the Beloved said to the Lover: “Thou needest not to speak to Me. Look at Me only, for thine eyes speak to My heart, that I may give thee what thou willest.”