The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage by Paul Elie

By Paul Elie

The tale of 4 smooth American Catholics who made literature out in their look for God

In the mid-twentieth century 4 American Catholics got here to think that easy methods to discover the questions of spiritual religion used to be to write down approximately them-in works that readers of all types may perhaps respect. The existence You retailer might be Your Own is their story-a bright and captivating account of serious writers and their strength over us.

Thomas Merton used to be a Trappist monk in Kentucky; Dorothy Day the founding father of the Catholic employee in long island; Flannery O'Connor a "Christ-haunted" literary prodigy in Georgia; Walker Percy a physician in New Orleans who hand over drugs to write down fiction and philosophy. a pal got here up with a reputation for them-the tuition of the Holy Ghost-and for 3 many years they exchanged letters, ardently learn one another's books, and grappled with what one in every of them referred to as a "predicament shared in common."

A pilgrimage is a trip taken in mild of a narrative; and in The lifestyles You keep should be Your Own Paul Elie tells those writers' tale as a pilgrimage from the God-obsessed literary previous of Dante and Dostoevsky out into the exciting chaos of postwar American lifestyles. it's a tale of the way the Catholic religion, of their imaginative and prescient of items, took on types the devoted couldn't have expected. And it's a tale in regards to the methods we glance to nice books and writers to aid us make feel of our event, in regards to the energy of literature to change-to save-our lives.

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Don't belittle them. * 20 THE BLUE CLIFF RECORD For twenty years I have suffered bitterly; **This is your own fall into the weeds­ it's none of my business. * How many times I have gone down into the Blue Dragon's cave for you! **How was it worth this� Don't misuse your mind. * This distress **He saddens people to death. * Is worth recounting; **To whom would you speak of it? * Clear-eyed patchrobed monks should not take it lightly. **You must be even more thoroughgoing. Bah! * COMMENTARY When (the Sung Emperor) Shen Tsung was on the throne (1068-1085) he thought that this verse ridiculed the state, so he wouldn't let it be included in the (Buddhist) canon.

What does he 'see,' what is his sphere or state of realization), and what the person in that 'realm' is like. When Ch'an students experienced purity or bliss, or perceived Buddhas and bodhisattvas in their meditations, they were told these were merely ching, mental objects or 'states' which should not be acknowledged as desirable or approved as real attainments, lest one become intoxicated by one's state. Similarly, all kinds of hallucinations were called mo ching or 'demon states,' illusory objects or perceptions caused by 'demons' or 'devils' (whether these are inside or outside the mind is a pointless question here), obstructing the path of meditation.

What place is this here, to speak of difficulty or ease�* Picking and choosing� Clarity� You see for yourself! **Blind! " He raises one corner, but 14 THE BLUE CLIFF RECORD doesn't come back with the other three; when Hsueh Tau says, "In one there are many kinds; in two there's no duality," this is like three comers returning to one. But tell me, where is it that words are to the point, and speech is to the point? In one, why are nevertheless many kinds, yet in two there is no duality? If you don't have eyes, where will you seek?

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