Brasidas对《The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart》的笔记(2)
I have read many writings of pagan masters, and of the prophets,
and of the Old and New Testaments, and have sought earnestly and
with all diligence to discover which is the best and highest virtue
whereby a man may chiefly and most firmly j oin himself to God,
and whereby a man may become by grace what God is by nature,
and whereby a man may come closest to his image when he was
in God, 1 wherein there was no difference between him and God,
before God made creatures. After a thorough study of these writings
I find, as well as my reason can testify or perceive, that only pure
detachment surpasses all things, for all virtues have some regard to
creatures, but detachment is free of all creatures. Therefore our Lord
said to Martha, "unum est necessarium " (Luke 1 0 : 42), which is as
much as to say, 'Martha, he who would be serene and pure needs but
one thing: detachment.'
The teachers greatly praise love, as does St. Paul who says, "Whatever
things I may do, and have not love, I am nothing" (cf. 1 Cor.
1 3 : 1 ). But I extol detachment above any love. First, because, at best,
love constrains me to love God, but detachment compels God to love
me. Now it is a far nobler thing my constraining God to me than for
me to constrain myself to God. That is because God is more readily
able to adapt Himself to me, and can more easily unite with me than
I could unite with God. That detachment forces God to me, I can
prove thus: everything wants to be in its natural place. Now God's
natural place is unity and purity, and that comes from detachment.
Therefore God is bound to give Himself to a detached heart.2
In the second place I extol detachment above love because love
compels me to suffer all things for God's sake, whereas detachment
makes me receptive of nothing but God. Now it is far nobler to be
receptive of nothing but God than to suffer all things for God, for in suffering a man has some regard to the creatures from which he
gets the suffering, but detachment is quite free of all creatures. But
that detachment is receptive of nothing but God, I can prove this
way: whatever is to be received must be taken in somewhere. Now
detachment is so nearly nothing that there is no thing subtle enough
to maintain itself in detachment except God alone. He is so subtle and
so simple that He can stay in a detached heart. Therefore detachment
is receptive of nothing but God.
The masters also extol humility above many other virtues. But I
extol detachment above humility for this reason: humility can exist
without detachment, but perfect detachment cannot exist without
perfect humility, for perfect humility ends in the destruction of self.
Now detachment comes so close to nothing, that between perfect
detachment and nothing no thing can exist. Therefore perfect detachment
cannot be without humility. But two virtues are always better
The second reason why I praise detachment above humility is because
humility means abasing oneself beneath all creatures, and in
that abasement man goes out of himself into creatures, but detachment
rests within itself. Now no going out can ever be so noble, but
remaining within is nobler still. As the prophet David says, "Omnis
gloria eius filiae regis ab intus " (Ps. 44 : 14), which is to say, "All the
glory of the daughter comes from her inwardness. " Perfect detachment
is not concerned about being above or below any creature; it
does not wish to be below or above, it would stand on its own, loving
none and hating none, and seeks neither equality nor inequality
with any creature, nor this nor that: it wants merely to be.3 But to be
either this or that it does not wish at all. For whoever would be this
or that wants to be something, but detachment wants to be nothing.
It is therefore no burden on anything.
Now somebody might say, 'Well, our Lady possessed all virtues
to perfection, and so she must have had perfect detachment. But if
detachment is higher than humility, why then did our Lady glory in
her h umility and not in her detachment when she said, "Quia respexit
dominus humilitatem ancillae suae " (Luke 1 : 48 ) , that is to say, " He
regarded the humility of his handmaiden " ? '
I reply that i n God there is detachment and humility, insofar as
we can speak of God's having virtues. You should know that it was loving humility that led God to stoop to enter human nature, while
detachment stood immovable within itself when he became man, j ust
as it did when He created heaven and earth, as I shall tell you later.
And because our Lord, when he would become man, stood unmoved
in his detachment, our Lady knew that he required the same of her
too, and that in this case he looked to her humility and not her detachment.
For if she had thought once about her detachment and said,
'he regarded my detachment,' that detachment would have been sullied
and would not have been whole and perfect, since a going forth
would have occurred. But nothing, however little, may proceed from
detachment without staining it. There you have the reason why our
Lady gloried in her humility and not her detachment. Concerning
this, the prophet said, "Audiam, quid Loquatur in me dominus deus "
(Ps. 84:9), that is to say, " I will (be silent and) hear what my lord
God says within me,'' as if he were to say, 'If God wishes to speak to
me, let Him come into me, for I will not go out.'
I also praise detachment above all compassion, for compassion is
nothing but a man's going out of himself by reason of his fellow
creatures' lack, by which his heart is troubled. But detachment is free
of this, stays in itself and is not troubled by any thing: for as long as
any thing can trouble a man, he is not in a right state. In short, when
I consider all the virtues, I find none so completely without lack and
so conformed to God as detachment.
A master called Avicenna4 declares that the mind of him who
stands detached is of such nobility that whatever he sees is true, and
whatever he desires he obtains, and whatever he commands must be
obeyed. And this you must know for sure: when the free mind is
quite detached, it constrains God to itself, and if it were able to stand
formless and free of all accidentals, it would assume God's proper
nature. But God can give that to none but Himself, therefore God
can do no more for the detached mind than give Himself to it. But
the man who stands thus in utter detachment is rapt into eternity in
such a way that nothing transient can move him, and that he is aware
of nothing corporeal and is said to be dead to the world, for he has
no taste for anything earthly. That is what St. Paul meant when he
said, "I live and yet do not live - Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
Now you may ask what this detachment is that is so noble in
itself. You should know that true detachment is nothing else but a mind that stands unmoved by all accidents of joy or sorrow, honor,
shame, or disgrace, as a mountain of lead stands unmoved by a breath
of wind. This immovable detachment brings a man into the greatest
likeness to God. For the reason why God is God is because of His
immovable detachment, and from this detachment He has His purity,
His simplicity, and His immutability. Therefore, if a man is to be like
God, as far as a creature can have likeness with God, this must come
from detachment. This draws a man into purity, and from purity into
simplicity, and from simplicity into immutability, and these things
make a likeness between God and that man; and this likeness must
occur through grace, for grace draws a man away from all temporal
things and purges him of all that is transient. You must know, too,
that to be empty of all creatures is to be full of God, and to be full
of all creatures is to be empty of God.
You should also know that God has stood in this unmoved detachment
from all eternity, and still so stands; and you should know
further that when God created heaven and earth and all creatures,
this affected His unmoved detachment just as little as if no creature
had ever been created. I say further: all the prayers and good works
that a man can do in time affect God's detachment as little as if no
prayers or good works had ever occurred in time, and God never became
more ready to give or more inclined toward a man than if he
had never uttered the prayer or performed the good works. I say still
further: when the Son in the Godhead wanted to become man, and
became man and endured martyrdom, that affected God's unmoved
detachment as little as if he had never become man. You might say at
this, 'Then I hear that all prayers and good works are wasted because
God does not allow Himself to be moved by anyone with such things,
and yet it is said that God wants us to pray to Him for everything.'
Now you should mark me well, and understand properly if you
can, that God in His first eternal glance (if we can assume that there
was a first glance) saw all things as they should occur, and saw in the
same glance when and how He would create all creatures and when
the Son would become man and suffer; He saw too the least prayer
and good work that anyone should do, and saw which prayers and
devotion He would and should accede to; He saw that you will call
upon Him earnestly tomorrow and pray to Him, but God will not
grant your petition and prayer tomorrow, for He has granted it in His eternity, before ever you became a man. But if your prayer is not
sincere and in earnest, God will not deny it to you now, for He has
denied it to you in His eternity.
And thus God has regarded all things in His first eternal glance, and
God performs nothing afresh, for all has been performed in advance.
Thus God ever stands in His immovable detachment, and yet the
prayers and good works of people are not wasted, for he who does
well will be rewarded, and he who does evil will reap accordingly.
This is explained by St. Augustine in the fifth book of On the Trinity,
in the last chapter thus: 'Deus autem, etc. ' which means, 'God forbid
that anyone should say that God loves anyone in time, for with Him
there is no past and no future, and He loved all the saints before the
world was ever created, as He foresaw them. And when it comes to
be that He displays in time what He has seen in eternity, then people
think He has gained a new love for them; so too, when God is angry
or does some good thing, it is we who are changed while He remains
unchanged, j ust as the sun's ray hurts a sick eye and delights a sound
one, and yet the sunshine remains unchanged in itself.' Augustine also
touches on the same idea in the twelfth book of On the Trinity in the
fourth chapter, where he says, 'Nam Deus non ad tempus videt, nee
aliquid fit novi in eius visione, ' 'God does not see in temporal fashion,
and no new vision arises in Him.' In the same sense Isidore speaks in
his book On the Highest Good, 5 saying, 'Many people ask, What did
God do before He created heaven and earth, or whence came the new
will in God that He made creatures?' and he answers, 'No new will
ever arose in God, for although a creature did not exist in itself (as it
is now), yet it was before all time in God and in His reason.'6 God did
not create heaven and earth as we (perishable beings) might say, 'let
that be so! ' for all creatures were spoken in the Eternal Word. To this
we can add what our Lord said to Moses when Moses said, " Lord,
if Pharaoh asks me who you are, how am I to answer him ? " and the
Lord said, " Say, 'He who IS has sent me" (Exod. 3 : 1 3 -1 4 ) . That is
as much as to say, He who is immutable in Himself has sent me.
But someone might say, 'Was Christ in unmoved detachment when
he said: " My soul is sorrowful even unto death" (Matt. 26: 3 8; Mark
1 4 : 34), and Mary when she stood before the cross? How is all this
compatible with unmoved detachment?' Concerning this, you should
know what the masters say, that in every man there are two kinds of
man.? The one is called the outer man, that is, the life of the senses:
this man is served by the five senses, though the outer man functions
by the power of the soul. The other is called the inner man, that is,
man's inward nature. You should understand that a spiritual man,
who loves God, makes use of the powers of the soul in the outer man
only to the extent that the five outer senses need it: the inward nature
is not concerned with the five senses except insofar as it is a guide
or ruler of those senses, guarding them so that they do not yield to
sense objects in a bestial fashion, as some folk do who live for carnal
pleasures like beasts unendowed with reason; such people should be
termed beasts rather than men. And whatever powers the soul has
over and above what it gives to the five senses are all devoted to
the inner man. And when such a man perceives a noble or elevated
object, the soul draws into itself all the powers it has granted to the
five senses, and then that man is said to be insensible or entranced, 8
for his object is an intelligible image or something intelligible without
an image.9 But you should know that God requires of every spiritual
man to love Him with all the powers of the soul. He says, " Love
your God with all your heart" (Deut. 6 : 5; Matt. 22 : 3 7; Mark 1 2 : 3 0;
Luke 1 0 :27). Now some people use up all the powers of the soul in
the outer man. These are people who turn all their senses and their
reason toward perishable goods, knowing nothing of the inner man.
You should know that the outer man can be active while the inner
man is completely free of this activity and unmoved. Now Christ
too had an outer man and an inner man, and so did our Lady, and
whatever Christ and our Lady ever said about external things, they
did so according to the outer man, but the inner man remained in
unmoved detachment. Thus it was when Christ said, " My soul is
sorrowful unto death," and whatever lamentations our Lady made,
or whatever else she said, inwardly she was in a state of unmoved
detachment. Here is an analogy: a door swings open and shuts on
its hinge. I would compare the outer woodwork of the door to the
outer man, and the hinge to the inner man. When the door opens
and shuts, the boards move back and forth, but the hinge stays in the
same place and is never moved thereby. It is the same in this case, if
you understand it rightly.
Now I ask, 'What is the object of pure detachment? ' My answer is
that the object of pure detachment is neither this nor that. It rests on absolutely nothing, and I will tell you why: pure detachment rests on
the highest, and he is at his highest, in whom God can work all His
will. But God cannot work all His will in all hearts, for, although God
is almighty, He can only work where He finds readiness or creates it.
I say 'creates it' on account of St. Paul, because in him God found
no readiness, but made him ready by infusion of grace. And so I say
God works according as He finds us ready. His working is different
in a man and in a stone. Here is an example from nature. If you heat
a baker's oven and put in it dough of oats, barley, rye, and wheat,
there is only one heat in the oven, but it does not have the same
effect on the different kinds of dough, for one turns into fine bread,
the second coarser, and the third coarser still. And that is not the
fault of the heat, it is due to the materials which are unlike. In the
same way God does not work alike in all our hearts: He works as
He finds readiness and receptivity. Now in whatever heart there is
this or that, there may be something in 'this' or 'that' which God
cannot bring to the highest peak. And so, if the heart is to be ready
to receive the highest, it must rest on absolutely nothing, and in that
lies the greatest potentiality which can exist. For when the detached
heart rests on the highest, that can only be on nothing, since that
has the greatest receptivity. Let us take an example from nature: if I
want to write on a wax tablet, then anything written on that tablet
already, however wonderful it may be, will prevent me from writing
there; and if I want to write I must erase or destroy whatever is on
the tablet, and the tablet is never so suitable for me to write on as
when there is nothing on it. Similarly, if God is to write the highest
on my heart, then everything called 'this and that' must be expunged
from my heart, and then my heart stands in detachment. Then God
can work the highest according to His supreme will. Therefore the
object of a detached heart is neither this nor that.
Again I ask, 'What is the prayer of a detached heart? ' My answer
is that detachment and purity cannot pray, for whoever prays wants
God to grant him something, or else wants God to take something
from him. But a detached heart desires nothing at all, nor has it
anything it wants to get rid of. Therefore it is free of all prayers, or
its prayer consists of nothing but being uniform with God. That is
all its prayer. In this sense we can take St. Dionysius's comment on
the saying of St. Paul, "There are many who run, but only one gains the crown " ( 1 Cor. 9 : 25 ) . All the powers of the soul compete for the
crown but the essence alone can win it. Dionysius says the race is
nothing but a turning away from all creatures and a union with the
uncreated. 1 0 And when the soul has got so far, it loses its name and is
drawn into God, so that in itself it becomes nothing, j ust as the sun
draws the dawn into itself and annihilates it. To this state nothing
brings a man but pure detachment. To this we may add a saying of
St. Augustine, 'The soul has a secret entrance to the divine nature,
when all things become nothing for it.' 1 1 On earth, this entrance is
nothing but pure detachment, and when the detachment reaches its
climax, it becomes ignorant with knowing, loveless with loving, and
dark with enlightenment. Thus we may understand the words of a
master, that the poor in spirit are they who have abandoned all things
to God, j ust as He possessed them when we did not exist. 12 None can
do this but a pure, detached heart.
That God would rather be in a detached heart than in all other
hearts, appears if you ask me, 'What does God seek in all things ? '
to which I answer from the Book o f Wisdom, where H e says, " In
all things I seek rest" (Sir. 24: 1 1 ) . 1 3 But nowhere is perfect rest to be
found but in a detached heart. That is why God prefers to be there
rather than in other virtues or in anything else. You should know,
too, that the more a man strives to be receptive to divine influence,
the more blessed he is; and whoever can gain the highest readiness in
this is in the highest state of blessedness. But none can make himself
receptive to divine influence but by uniformity with God, for insofar
as a man is uniform with God, to that extent he is receptive to the
divine influence. But uniformity comes from man's subjecting himself
to God, and the more a man is subject to creatures, the less he is
uniform with God. Now the pure detached heart stands free of all
creatures. Therefore it is totally subject to God, and therefore it is
in the highest degree of uniformity with God, and is also the most
receptive to divine influence. This was what St. Paul meant when
he said, " Put on Christ, " 1 4 meaning unformity with Christ, for this
putting on can only take place through uniformity with Christ. You
should know that when Christ became man, he took on, not a man,
but human nature . 1 5 Therefore, go out of all things and then there
will remain only what Christ took on, and thus you will have put on
Christ. Whoever would know the nobility and profit of perfect detachment,
let him note Christ's saying concerning his humanity, when he
said to his disciples, "It is expedient for you that I should go away
from you, for if I do not go away, the Holy Spirit cannot come to
you" (John 1 6 : 7) . 16 This is just as if he had said, 'You rejoice too
much in my present form, and therefore the perfect j oy of the Holy
Ghost cannot be yours.' So, leave all images and unite with the formless
essence, for God's spiritual comfort is delicate; therefore He will
not offer Himself to any but to him who scorns physical comforts.
Now take note, all who are sensible! No man is happier than he
who has the greatest detachment. There can be no fleshly and physical
comfort without some spiritual harm, for "the flesh lusts against the
spirit and the spirit against the flesh" (cf. Gal. 5 : 1 7) . Therefore, whoever
in the flesh sows disorderly love reaps death, and whoever in the
spirit sows ordered love, reaps from the spirit eternal life. Therefore,
the quicker a man flees from the created, the quicker the Creator
runs toward him. So, take note, all sensible men! Since the j oy we
might have from the physical form of Christ hinders us in receiving
the Holy Ghost, how much more of a hindrance to gaining God is
our inordinate delight in evanescent comforts! That is why detachment
is best, for it purifies the soul, purges the conscience, kindles the
heart, awakens the spirit, quickens the desire, makes us know God
and, cutting off creatures, unites us with God.
Now take note, all who have good sense! The swiftest steed to bear
you to His perfection is suffering, for none will enjoy greater eternal
bliss than those who stand with Christ in the greatest bitterness.
Nothing is more gall-bitter than suffering, nothing more honey-sweet
than having suffered. Nothing disfigures the body before men like
suffering, and nothing beautifies the soul before God like having
suffered. The finest foundation on which this perfection can rest is
humility. For whatever man's nature creeps here below in the deepest
lowliness, that man's spirit will soar aloft to the heights of the Godhead,
for j oy brings sorrow and sorrow joy. And so, whoever would
attain perfect detachment should strive for perfect humility, and thus
he will come to the neighborhood of God. That this may be all our
lot, so help us the highest detachment, which is God Himself. Amen.
1 . As an idea in the mind of God. Cf. Sermons 5 8 and Sermon 87 and note 7
2. Cf. Sermon 73.
3 . The variant reading eine sin 'to be alone' is rejected by Quint, following
4. Avicenna, Liber VI, Naturalium, 4.4 (ed. of 1 5 0 8 ) (Q). Skinner/Clark's ref.
5. Sent. I, ch. 8, n. 4 (Q).
6 . Cf. note 1 above.
7. Cf. Sermon 56.
8 . Not 'senseless or crazy' (Clark).
9. Quint cites Thomas, De veritate, q. 13, a. 2 on the different degrees of absorption.
These are reminiscent of the 'world of form' (rupaloka) and the 'formless
world' (arupaloka) of Buddhism, which are attained by the practice of the jhiinas
('absorptions' ) .
1 0. De divinis nom. 4.9 a n d 1 3 .3 (Quint after Fischer).
1 1 . Not traced directly in Augustine's works.
1 2 . Cf. Sermon 87.
13. Not the Wisdom of Solomon but Ecclesiasticus (The Wisdom of jesus Sirach),
as in Sermon 73, note 1; cf. Sermon 45.
14. Cf. Sermon 92 and note 1 there.
1 5 . Cf. Sermon 4 7 and note 2 there.
1 6 . Cf. Sermon 75.2020-02-09 12:57:11 回应
Meister Eckhart was besought by his good friends, 'Give us something
to remember, since you are going to leave us.'
He said, 'I will give you a rule, which is the keystone2 of all that
I have ever said, which comprises3 all truth that can be spoken of
'It often happens that what seems trivial to us is greater in God's
sight than what looms large in our eyes. Therefore we should accept
all things equally from God, not ever looking and wondering which is
greater, or higher, or better. We should j ust follow where God points
out for us, that is, what we are inclined to and to which we are
most often directed, and where our bent is. If a man were to follow
that path, God would give him the most in the least, and would not
'It often happens that people spurn the least, and thus they prevent
themselves from getting the most in the least, which is wrong.
God is in all modes, and equal in all modes, for him who can take
Him equally.4 People often wonder whether their inclinations come
from God or not, and this is how to find out: if a man finds it within
himself to be willing above all things to obey God's will in all things,
provided he knew or recognized it, then he may know that whatever
he is inclined to, or is most frequently directed to, is indeed
'Some people want to find God as He shines before them, or as
He tastes to them. They find the light and the taste, but they do not
find God. A scripture declares that God shines in the darkness, where
we sometimes least recognize Him.5 Where God shines least for us
is often where He shines the most. Therefore we should accept God
equally in all ways and in all things. 'Now someone might say, " I would take God equally in all ways
and in all things, but my mind will not abide in this way or that, so
much as in another. " To that I say he is wrong. God is in all ways
and equal in all ways, for anyone who can take Him so. If you get
more of God in one way than in another, that is fine, but it is not the
best. God is in all ways and equal in all ways, for anyone who can
take Him so. If you take one way, such and such, that is not God.
If you take this and that, you are not taking God, for God is in all
ways and equal in all ways, for anyone who can take Him so.
'Now someone might say, "But if I do take God equally in all ways
and in all things, do I not still need some special way? " Now see. In
whatever way you find God most, and you are most often aware of
Him, that is the way you should follow. But if another way presents
itself, quite contrary to the first, and if, having abandoned the first
way, you find God as much in the new way as in the one that you
have left, then that is right. But the noblest and best thing would
be this, if a man were come to such equality, with such calm and
certainty that he could find God and enjoy Him in any way and in all
things, without having to wait for anything or chase after anything:
that would delight me !6 For this, and to this end all works are done,
and every work helps toward this. If anything does not help toward
this, you should let it go.
'We thank thee, heavenly Father, that thou hast given us thine onlybegotten
Son, in whom thou givest thyself and all things. We pray
thee, heavenly Father, for the sake of thine only-begotten Son, our
Lord Jesus Christ, through whom thou neither wilt nor canst deny
anything to anyone - hear us in him, and make us free and bare of
all our manifold faults, and unite us, in him, with thee. Amen.
摘：the noblest and best thing would
be this, if a man were come to such equality, with such calm and
certainty that he could find God and enjoy Him in any way and in all
things, without having to wait for anything or chase after anything.2020-02-09 14:15:19 回应
Brasidas的其他笔记 · · · · · · ( 全部218条 )
- The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works (Classic, Modern, Penguin)
- 不知之云（The Cloud of Unknowing）
- I And Thou
- 少年维特之烦恼 浮士德
- 忏悔录 （上下册）