Tuesday, May 28, 2013


This is the message you have heard from the beginning:
we should love one another.
The way we come to know love
was that He laid down His life for us;
so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If someone who has worldly means
sees a brother in need
and refuses him compassion,
how can the love of God remain in him?
Children, let us love not in word or speech
but in deed and truth.
1 John 3:11, 16-18

The Face of Christ

How we live our ordinary lives reveals the face of Christ more than proselytizing …

The basic human vocation is to be a brother or sister. In the parable of the Prodigal Son where both sons acted outrageously, the Father did not ask either of them to do penance. He just asked them to live together in peace. That was all. That message, the heart of the Gospel, has to be communicated by who we are and how we live. Contemplative practices are totally in the service of that project.

What the Christian religion might contribute to global spirituality is the personal love of the Father in Jesus Christ for every human being. To love one another as Christ has loved us is the goal of Christianity. Christ is the enlightened one. It is to Him that all our practices and rituals are pointing.

The love of God is so powerful that no one can just sit on it. It is bound to express itself … the God in us is calling us to serve the God in others.
The Better Part

"The Lord has called me into the way of simplicity and humility...He told me I am to be a new kind of fool in this world." ~ Saint Francis of Assisi (Mirror of Perfection)

The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving.
In giving gifts, we give what we can spare,
but in giving thanks we give ourselves.
-Br. David Steindl-Rast

“The restoration of the church will surely come from a new kind of monasticism, which will have nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising adherence to the Sermon on the Mount in imitation of Christ. I believe the time has come to rally people together for this.”

 ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 Our Song

 So, OK now is the very moment to do it! We can begin a whole new urban-rural friary. Not associated with the Roman Catholic church ( yet many of our brothers here are Catholic),  but most definitely associated with the Christ in all his manifestations piercing the heart through and through with God's indescribable love. Love that heals and builds from exactly where one is at this instant.

Some of our members have spent their lives in  Christian culture and tradition, and some have also practiced Buddhist teachings for decades.  With us much time has passed and  experience gained through the seamless blending of these two spiritual paths. As another example of Christian search ( Thomas Merton) has shown, the open dialogue with Zen practice only enhances one's life and therefore experience and devotion to God.
Contemplative prayer, and most especially the unified experience of God dwelling within, comes very close to the wordless non-dual dharma, if not passing through to the other side. 


“Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, and fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent, and infinitely abundant Source."

 ―Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh

From the recent inter-religious dialogues of H.H. the Dalai Lama , Father Thomas Keating , Father Richard Rohr, Brother David Steindl-rast( his book Deeper than Words alone shows how this is possible) ,Sogyal Rinpoche, and Thich Nhat Hanh ( participating in his large retreats world wide are many Catholic monks, priests and nuns) we have come away with the very clear vision that a new dawn is happening in monastic as well as lay circles. The time is ripe for inclusive vision and practice in new spiritual communities. 

Father Thomas Keating and The Dalai Lama
before speaking together in Boston in October 2012


The Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance.
For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. . . Indeed we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.  —Thomas Merton

OUR   Contemplative  COMMUNITY

Main Street House
Contemplative Prayer

 Our holy disorder of friends is called:

Le Jongleurs de Dieu
( The Clowns of God
this being the same name
Francis first gave his
little group of friends)

As our community members are both Contemplative Franciscans and engaged Zen Buddhist , we are all very involved with actively practicing compassion.

We work at the local food bank, set up AA meetings ( on site) , counsel local teens , practice Tai Chi for arthritis , teach and assist with conscious dying. and hold weekend retreats on Mindfulness, Centering Prayer , and Conscious Dying.
 One member  created the warming center in Augusta Maine to help provide a warm space for homeless people off the streets during the Maine winter. He is now looking into a Centering prayer ministry .

If you would like to explore Christian contemplative prayer ( and the Contemplative life) or Buddhism (Shikan Taza) from the American spiritual view of the 12 steps and also, have a grounded practice in contemplative prayer ( we use the Centering Prayer method, the oldest continuously practiced form of prayer in the history of the Christian tradition). We also practice Zazen ( Shikan Taza) and can offer instruction to beginners. Our small community is here and thriving !

We offer both Zen meditation practice ( and instruction) as well as Centering prayer practice ( and instruction) . We are presently reading and discussing , Father Thomas Keating's Divine Therapy  and Father Richard  Rohr's Breathing Underwater as well as holding regular AA meetings. There is also guidance and instruction with conscious ( not assisted) dying as taught in Tibetan Buddhist centers such as Dzogchen Beara in Ireland .

This is happening in India
But we are doing it here !!

At this time I would like to dedicate this site and our community efforts to my first spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran
Sri Eswaran taught the first ( for credit) meditation course in the world at UC Berkeley in the 1960s
His inclusive world mystical view was the primary influence in my life's spiritual search
He is also the person that introduced me to:
 St Francis through the Prayer of St Francis
Thank you my dear dear friend and teacher
-W.S. Parks

As my dear friend Richard Rohr says it :

The Franciscan Recovery
of the Gospel

Meditation 43 of 49

St. Bonaventure, building on the Incarnation of God in Jesus and Francis’ love of all nature, saw the “traces” or “footprints” of God in everything. The whole world was also the “incarnation” of the God mystery, and indeed the very “Body of God” (Romans 8:19-22). Jesus is the microcosm of the macrocosm, the hologram of the whole, the corporate personality for humanity—in other words, the stand-in for everything and everyone else (see Colossians 1:15-20).
“The journey of the soul into God,” as Bonaventure put it, was to learn how to see the unity of all being, how to look for this partially hidden God, and how to honor those footprints everywhere once you could see them. It was surrender to gratitude—and also to immense confidence that you were a part of something very good.
The result was a continuous life of appreciation and reverence, non-consumption, and simple joy—while still living a very busy life in the world! These were the hallmarks of Franciscan spirituality.
For more on this theme, please consider
The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of St. Francis (CD)

We are also exploring in-house business on the Greyston Mandala model. http://www.greyston.org/index.php?mandala

“Some people have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”

Abraham H. Maslow

Our schedule is roughly as follows :

6:00 am Centering Prayer - daily

11:00 am Daily- Tai Chi

12:00 pm Centering Prayer

5:30 pm EVERY DAY Centering prayer

8:30am-11am Thursday 11th step 
Prayer and Meditation group ( Readings, discussions as well as two 20 min. meditations)
Thursday 7-8pm Big Book step study AA Meeting 

Go here to see about this : http://cp12stepoutreach.org/

7-9pm Friday advanced meditation/prayer and discussion of conscious dying

9-11am Saturday Christian Centering Prayer service ( all faiths welcome)

Sunday evening advanced class 6-8pm

Exploration of Conscious Dying 

Below is a short film about what it is like
when one finally "gets it"

Main Street House of Prayer

Meditation tea house

 Studio for art

Large Meditation field

 Any inquires or a wish for a word doc. explaining our 21 day retreat center please contact  :

“Everything that came from Jesus’ lips worked like a magnifying glass to focus human awareness on the two most important facts about life: God’s overwhelming love of humanity, and the need for people to accept that love and let it flow through them in the way water passes without obstruction through a sea anemone… If the infinity of God’s love pierces to the core of a being, only one response is possible- unobstructed gratitude for the wonders of God’s grace.”

Huston Smith –The Soul of Christianity

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
 ~Matthew 6:25-34