Brasidas对《The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart》的笔记(2)

Brasidas (生阳无自,诚敬谦和)

读过 The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart

The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart
  • 书名: The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart
  • 作者: Meister Eckhart
  • 页数: 640
  • 出版社: The Crossroad Publishing Company
  • 出版年: 2010-1-1

    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

    than one.

    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.

    1s wrong.

    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

    or lived.

    '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

    fail him.

    '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

    from God.

    '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

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