Tuesday, May 28, 2013


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 or were Catholic),  but most definitely associated with God's love in all its manifestations piercing the heart through and through with God's
multifaceted indescribable love. Love that heals and builds from exactly where one is at this instant.

From Franciscan Richard Rohr :
Most Christian churches have spent an awful lot of time concerned about maintaining verbal and ritual orthodoxy--the official doctrines and liturgies (when even the Roman church legitimates at least 16 forms of the Mass in all of its Eastern Rites!). We must be honest and admit that it has focused much less on the practicals of the Sermon on the Mount or what Jesus spent most of his time doing: touching and healing people, doing acts of justice and inclusion, teaching and living ways of compassion and non-violence.



Franciscanism, insofar as it actually imitated Francis of Assisi, emphasized an "alternative orthodoxy," a different view on what really matters, which had much more to do with orthopraxy (right practice) than merely believing the right words. (Read Jesus' parable about the two sons where he makes this same point in Luke 21:28-32.) While not rejecting the traditional orthodoxy of the church, the Franciscan "alternative orthodoxy" was a parachurch viewpoint on the edge of the inside of organized Christianity. It often seems this is where wisdom has to hide, as Proverbs says, "Wisdom builds herself a house" (9:1). It became the entire history of Religious Orders in the Catholic and Orthodox churches: we went to the edge and emphasized different things, often to protect neglected Gospel values and teachings.


Brian McLaren uses the words "a generous orthodoxy" to describe something similar, a marriage of thinking and practice. Brian identifies a generous orthodoxy with "a consistent practice of humility, charity, courage, and diligence. Humility that allows us to admit that our past and current formulations may have been limited or distorted. Charity toward those of other traditions who may understand some things better than our group.... Courage to be faithful to the true path of our faith as we understand it, even when it is unpopular, dangerous, and difficult to do so. Diligence to seek again and again the true path of our faith whenever we feel we have lost our way..." (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 34).


Franciscanism's offering, similar to the Quakers, Shakers, Amish, and Mennonites, was a simple return to lifestyle itself: including the outsider, preferring the bottom to the top, choosing social poverty and divine union over any private perfection or any sense of moral superiority, and an attitude of non-violence instead of religion as forced compliance, which invariably leads to a warlike mentality. Any alternative and generous orthodoxy can be found, if you look with non-dual eyes, in all sacred texts and traditions, and surely in Jesus, as we'll discover in this year of Daily Meditations. An alternative orthodoxy is never stingy with grace or inclusion because it has surrendered to a God who is infinitely magnanimous and creative in the ways of love and mercy."

From our Brother John O’Donohue
“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.”  




My monk robe
six pockets ( two inside)

Presently, I live here alone ( waiting for a couple of others to take up the invitation to move in together in community). Friends meet here in my house on several occasions per week.

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. 

We will live in community as the early Celtic monastery sisters and brothers did. Sharing our practice and our loving energy. Practicing Chastity as couples or as individual monks . For a copy of our guiding principles please use email address on this blog site.

The Five Mindfulness Trainings
The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.
Reverence For Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.
True Happiness
Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.
True Love
Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.
Loving Speech and Deep Listening
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.
Nourishment and Healing
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.

“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) , Thich Nhat Hanh already has participating in his large retreats world wide 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 of 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 practicing Celtic spirituality and socially engaged Zen Buddhists , we are all very involved with actively practicing compassion. We also attend mass at St. Peter and St. Paul
Basilica in Lewiston Maine.

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) within the Celtic spiritual arch 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 .

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://greyston.com/about-greyston/

“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/

 9-11am Saturday -
Back to Basics AA ( listening to guidance)

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

Our Porziuncola


Large Meditation field

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

        Little Gidding V,
        Four Quartets.
        -- T.S. Eliot (1943)

 Any inquires 
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