~ Shunryu Suzuki*
Dear Most Enlightened Creator, please help me to recapture my beginner's mind, the one that was insatiably curious, hungry for spiritual experience, searching for enlightenment, eager to sit with You in Christ through the Holy Spirit, to be filled with the pearls and diamonds of Your wisdom and teaching. I want to recapture the energy and the mystery and set aside much of what I now "know" through the academic, the intellectual, and from life experience. I want to learn in new ways with a fresh unfinished mind that is wide with wonder like those who have only just begun their first encounters with You. Take me out of my self, encourage me to breathe through my monkey-mind that jumps through the branches of distractions and never seems to settle in one spot long before turning and jumping again. Teach me to work on the inside, reaching deeply for the silent illumination that calls me back time and again, and to practice and to practice and to practice the silent non-thinking that allows me to simply “be” with You, until I apprehend the beginning even if not until my end. amen.
*Shunyru Suzuki, a Sōtō Zen monk, born and trained in Japan, opened the first Buddhist monastery outside of Asia. He is widely known for his book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind which was the onset of the popularization of Zen Buddhism in the West. He founded the San Francisco Zen Center and affiliate temples. Contrary to popular understanding, Buddhism is not so much a religion as it is a philosophy based on the teachings attributed to the Buddha. It is not a theistic religion as it has no beliefs in a Supreme Being or any "god". The teachings are complementary to Christian beliefs in many ways and have been known and studied by illustrious Christian scholars such as St. Jerome, of the 4th century, who was the first to translate the Bible into Latin. His commentaries on Scripture are still widely read today and he spoke of The Buddha in some of his other writings.
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