«Til dere er hemmeligheten om Guds rike gitt! Men til dem som er utenfor, blir alt gitt i lignelser, for at de skal se og se, men ikke skjelne, høre og høre, men ikke forstå, så de ikke vender om og får tilgivelse.» (Markusevangeliet, kap.4:11-12)
‘Munk uten kloster’: Livet til Raimundo Paniker Alemany (1918-2010)
The religiøse filosofen Raimon Panikkar (nov. 2 1918-aug. 26 2010) var en religiøs rromerskk katolikk og filosof som ble innflytelsesrik i å fremme interreligløs dialog. Han ble født i 1918 , vokste opp i Barcelona. Så fikk han antagelig sine første impulser til utvikling av mulitreligiøs religiøsitet og teologi og ideer om ‘kulturell avvæpning’ gjennom den kjennsgjerningen krysskulturelle teologiske påvirkninger, ved at hans mor var katalansk katolikk og faren indisk hindu.
Etter først å ha gjennomgått utdanning som katolsk prest og teolog oppnådde han en doktorgrad i filosofi i 1946 fra Madrid. I 1954 reiste han til India for å studere Hinduisme og Buddhisme. Dette ble et viktig vendepunkt i livesløpet og hans generelle intellektuelle utvikling. Erfaringen med det multireligiøse India satte dype preg på og fikk en dyp innvirkning på hans holdning til og tilnærming til religion.
Panikkar oppholdt seg i India gjennom 50- og 60 årene og underviste og forsket ved universitetene i Varanasi og Mysore. I disse årene gikk han dypt inn i Indisk åndelighet. Han samarbeidet også nært med vismannen Svami Abhiskitananda.
Senere, i 1958, tok han en doktorgrad i kjemi fra 1958 og oppnådde en doktorgrad i teologi i Roma i 1961.
Formålet med Panikkars filosofiske og teologiske tenkning er å utforske det felles antropologiske og åndelige grunnlaget for ulike religioner og ulike måter å være religiøs på. I den moderne verden, blir samtalene mellom folk som tilhører ulike distinkte religiøse tradisjoner en fremtredende og viktig dimentsjon etterhvert som religiøse uenigheter ofte er involvert i å understøtte konkflikter og samenstøt mellom samfunn og etniske grupper. På samme tid, utviklingen av en mer moden dialog mellom ulike trorsretninger og kommunikasjon mellom The purpose of Panikkar’s philosophical and theological thinking is to investigate the common anthropological and spiritual ground for different religions and different ways of being religious. In the moderne world, the conversation between people belonging to distinct religious traditions is becoming an all important dimension as religious disagreements often are involved in and nourish clashes and conflicts between societies and ethnic groups. At the same time, the development of a more mature dialogue and communication between different faiths and relitradisjoner er avhengig av en støttende kontekst av fasiliterende ideer og begreper. Panikkar’s forskning er spesielt relevant for å finne et felles grunnlag for ulike og ofte konflikterende religiøse kulturer.
Den monastiske arketypen eller den universelle munken
Panikkars bok ‘Blessed Simplicity: The Monk as Universal Archetype’ (1982) er basert på en serie av forelesninger han gi i Holyoke, Massachusetts i 1980.
I denne boken formulerer den spansk-indiske tenkeren begrepet om ‘den universelle munken’. this book the spanish-indian thinker formulates the concept of ‘the Universal Monk’, Dvs, av munken som en arketypisk figur for det som også betegnes som kalles ‘den monastiske arketype’
Historically, the monk is the outstanding tmellom ulike trosformer og religiøse ype of homo religiosus of all times and cultures. Panikkar’s project is to investigate the basic and irreducible values of monasticism in all cultures and for human and individual life.
“To a non-monastic audience, I would say that this presentation speaks to the monk in every one of us and does not wish to supplant or correct the rich literature on monasticism. It would indeed like to inspire the reader to delve into the sources of this rich human tradition. But the search for a universal archetype is at the forefront of the entire enterprise.”
Panikkar says about his own relation to being a monk:
“Since my early youth I have seen myself as a monk, but one without a monastery, or at least without walls other than those of the entire planet. And even these, it seemed to me, had to be transcended -probably by immanence- without a habit, or at least without vestments other than those worn by the human family. Yet even these vestments had to be discarded, because all cultural clothes are only partial revelations of what they conceal: the pure nakedness of total transparency only visible to the simple eye of the pure in heart.”
In the preface to the first edition of Panikkars book father Armand Veilleux writes:
«. . . a fundamental monastic archetype could be described as the life of those who….adopt a solitary journey beyond the supportive environment of their culture, of social life, of religious traditions, etc. The monk is called to go beyond what the culture – even the religious culture – in which he lives allows him to be, or leads him to.»
Panikkar on his side tells that:
“By monk, monachos, I understand that person who aspires to reach the ultimate goal of life with all his being by renouncing all that is not necessary to it, i.e., by concentrating on this one single and unique goal. Precisely this single-mindedness (ekagrata), or rather the exclusivity of the goal that shuns all subordinate though legitimate goals, distinguishes the monastic way from other spiritual endeavors toward perfection or salvation. . . . If, in a certain sense, everybody is supposed to strive for the ultimate goal of life, the monk is radical and exclusive in this quest.”
“My hypothesis is that monkhood, i.e., the archetype of which the monk is an expression, corresponds to one dimension of this humanum, so that every human being has potentially the possibility of realizing this dimension. Monkhood is a dimension that has to be integrated with other dimensions of human life in order to fulfil the humanum.”
Panikkar’s own retrospective comments on the Holyoke Conference of 1980 are contained in an article in the May, 2004, MID Bulletin entitled “The New Mon’. In this article he reiterates his definition of the monk:
“Without forfeiting any allegiance to monastic family, or even to religious family, the monk is first and foremost a person who has placed the realization of the plenitude of existence at the center of life.”
“I would say that an archetype is a paradigm which becomes for you the center of your myth. And myth is that in which you believe without believing that you believe in it. This is why we can only speak about other people’s myths.
The word has a long history, and was again put into circulation by C.G. Jung. I would use it partly in his sense. I would not like to say model, which sounds too objective, on the outside, and too conscious. Nor would I like to say conviction, belief, faith, or doctrine, which may appear to be too “essential” and equally conscious or conceptual.
Archetype for me represents literally a fundamental type, i.e., a basic constituent or relatively permanent cast, in our case, of human life. It is used as the contrary of a fleeting appearance (phainomenon). it represents a basis upon which at least a part of our life is built. I take from Jung not so much the notion that it is submerged in the collective unconscious as that it is a dynamis which on the one hand directs, and on the other hand attracts, human ideals and praxis. I have also used the expression “constitutive dimension” as the anthropological counterpart for what in the history of human consciousness crystallizes or appears as an archetype.”
“To be, then, quite specific: Is the monk a universal archetype; i.e., a universal model for human life? No. The monk is only one way of realizing a universal archetype. Yet it is in and through this (monastic) way that we may gain access to the universal archetype – of which the monk is a manifestation. This allows us to speak of the universal archetype of the monk, provided we do not freeze the inner dynamism of monkhood, and also allow ourselves to speak of the new monk.”
“In point of fact, the new monks are precisely those who contribute to the crystallization of the archetype that I shall endeavor to describe.”
“I am not so much directed to recount the history of the past or even to venture into the historical future, as I am concerned to probe the transhistorical present – for us here and now. In other words, because I am existentially concerned with our daily lives and present situation, making use of the ambiguity of the phrase “monastic archetype” I shall address myself not to describing the monk as archetype, i.e., the monk as a paradigm of human life, but to exploring the archetype of the monk, i.e., monkhood as a possible human archetype. In point of fact, the phrase “monastic archetype” may mean that there is a monastic archetype of which the monk is the example, or of which the monk is the manifestation. The distinction is important and subtle. The monk as archetype may be taken to mean that there is such a thing as an ideal monk, and that monks have incarnated this ideal in different degrees. This might be the best way for a renovatio, a renewal of the pristine purity of the monk. It is a legitimate and urgent concern but, in a certain sense, it freezes human creativity inasmuch as it ties us to an almost Platonic and immutable essence of the ideal monk.”
“Archetype here means a model, a prototypical form (morphē). It allows only for explications and clarifications. All that is left to us is to be good or even better monks. To speak of the archetype of the monk, on the other hand, assumes that there is a human archetype which the monk works out with greater or lesser success. Traditional monks may have re-enacted in their own way “something” that we too may be called upon to realize, but in a different manner which expresses the growth and newness of the humanum. Archetype here means a product of the different forces and factors, conscious and unconscious, individual and collective, which go into shaping a particular human configuration. in a certain sense it gives us a free hand to launch an exploration into the very dynamism of the many factors that shape human life. Since archetype here does not mean a model, but rather the product of human life itself, this very archetype is thus mutable and dynamic.”
“The thesis I am defending is that the monk is the expression of an archetype which is a constitutive dimension of human life. This archetype is a unique quality of each person, which at once needs and shuns institutionalization. Such a conception has, I submit, always been an underlying belief of tradition. . . .The monk is highly personal. It is with this belief in mind that tradition has considered the hermit—the idiorhythmic—to be the perfect monk. . . .”
“The monk ultimately becomes monk not by a process of thinking, or merely of desiring, but as the result of an urge, the fruit of an experience that eventually leads him to change and in the final analysis, break something in his life for the sake of that “thing” which encompasses or transcends everything. One does not become a monk in order to do something, or even to acquire anything, but in order to be (everything, yourself, the supreme being, nothing . . . ). The monk does not become a monk just because of a desire. He will be told time and again to eliminate all desires. I speak of an aspiration and an urge. it is not because one wills it that one becomes a monk. The monk is compelled, as it were, by an experience that can only articulate itself in the praxis of one’s life.It is an experience of the presence of the goal of life, on the one hand, and of its absence (of not having reached it) on the other. . . . It is the existence of such an ontological aspiration in the human being that leads me to speak of monkhood as a constitutive dimension of human life.”
“Only in solitude does anyone enter the heart of monastic life, because only there he enters ‘within’ and monastic life is essentially a life ‘within’.”
“This explains why many mystics retire into solitude: not to isolate themselves from the world, but rather to enter into a more intimate and profound contact with it. Solitude is not isolation. The mystic needs neither propaganda nor advertising”.
“There can be no monasticism without this experience of conversion, of turning around and turning inward, of stripping off the very many things that cling to us, of abandoning the ‘usual’, the ‘normal’, and even the secure and often reasonable way. as one Upanisad says: “On the very day that one is ‘brokenhearted’, on that same day one becomes a renouncer”; one brokenhearted, i.e., one indifferent to the world, a disillusioned person. . . .”
«To speak of a Buddhist monk or a Hindu monk or a Jaina monk or a Christian monk does no violence to the words. The Christian, the Buddhist, the Jaina . . . are only qualifications of the search for that center, for that core which monkhood seeks. The monastic vocation as such precedes the fact of being Christian, Buddhist, or secular (we shall speak about that too), or Hindu, or even atheist.»
“…The monk is not just someone who wishes to be a monk. It requires a breakthrough, an initiation, a diksa , a new birth. You have to be twiceborn, a dvija, in order even to begin. All monastic traditions stress the compunctio cordis, the conversio morum, the true metanoia, the firm resolve to leave behind the ‘things of this world’, the laukika and the stern urge for liberation, plus the practice of all the virtues. Shankara’s Vivekacudamani could serve as a classic example here. The desire for liberation (moksa), mumuksutva has to be a burning fire. You have to knock again and again at the door to the monastery, or touch repeatedly the feet of the guru to be taken seriously. Not all who say Lord.Lord! are fit for the Kingdom.”
“There has to be a rupture of planes, as any initiation requires, but the proper plane here is especially the tissue of one’s own heart.
The heart here stands, of course, for the core of the person. This heart has to be broken, or rather, once the heart is broken open one can begin anew by setting out to make it whole again in a wider and deeper way than before. The heart breaks because harmartia, sin, duhkha, suffering avidya, ignorance, injustice . . . pervade the world. ‘Save me from death, afflicted as I am by the unquenchable fire’, is a typical plea of the Hindu candidate to the monastic way, as Shankara writes. . . . the Christian tradition can speak of the baptism of desire only because the desire for purification is essential to the Christian initiation. The primitive monks, for instance, never claimed to do anything but take seriously the baptismal initiation, the plunge into the waters of death and resurrection which begins one’s growth into that Christic sphere where the entire renewed Body of Creation commences its expansion. Christian monks did not want to be special Christians, but just Christians….»
«. . . The ‘broken heart’ is only a one-sided metaphor, for in truth it is only a negative expression when seen from this shore of samsara, of mere creatureliness. It is the ‘old’ heart that is broken open, often with violence, so that it may give way to a ‘new’ heart and a healed person with the incipient throbbings of the new life of compassion, love, and true understanding. The metaphor is one-sided because, seen from the far shore, from the new life, it is not a broken but a renewed heart. Monastic life is also a life of peace, joy, and serenity. The heart that has been – that could be – broken was a wounded heart, a sinful heart, a heart of stone. It had to be broken because the human condition is unjust, ignorant, sinful. The monk has to break through the thick walls of this heart, the walls of callousness and selfishness in himself and around him; he has to break through mere temporality and inauthenticity in order to be on his way. Ahamkara and abhimana, selfishness and conceit have to be, so to speak, ‘exposed’, broken wide open, so that the true atman, the real ‘I’ may emerge.»
«The principal of simplicity is at work here in a peculiar way. It entails getting rid of the complexity of the individual in favor of the simplicity of the person. An individual is a closed system. Its boundaries are clear-cut. The mine and the thine can not be mixed. A person is an open system. Its limits depend only on the power of the center. Each person is an expanding universe. You need not keep anything for yourself because the real self is not a private substance of your own.»
«Simplicity is not just given. It has to be conquered, and conquered precisely by overcoming the world of multiplicity. Dazzled by the many facets of the world and the many desires of our hearts, we have to retrieve the essential unity of things and of ourselves if we are to be what we really are. In our first incursions into life we might have been decieved, if not wounded.”
«While traditional monasticism tends toward simplicity through ‘simplification’…with the accompanying danger of reductionism, contemporary monasticism seeks simplicity through
*integration,* with the consequent danger of an eclectic juxtaposition.» [Panikkar, p. 33.]
«Authentic work is not a means to an end, but a basic form of human creativity. Anything short of this is slavery. And when the machine imposes it’s conditions on human productivity, it dehumanizes and condemns that activity. Modern technological society cries out to be redeemed from the enslavement into which it has fallen. The contemporary monk withdraws from that society, not to abandon it to its slavery, but to incarnate the authentically human – which turns out to be the most divine.»
«The holy is neither the sacred nor the profane. The profane is everything that happens outside the temple. The sacred is the realm within the temple. It is the domain of the priest, not the monk…..The sacred stands in relation to the profane, but the holy is the center of everything and of every activity.»
Behind [the] archetypal figure of the monk…a Central Archetype is
operating, which, it seems to me, is a primary religious impulse
involving both the Divine and the human. Is the monastic archetype
the same as the Central Archetype? At times, I think it is; at other
times, I think it is slightly different. In the first instance, the monastic archetype is the emergence in the human soul of what Rudolph Otto calls the Numinous, the Tremendum. This Central Archetype is ‘Monos’. One. In the second, the monastic archetype would be the impulse to put one’s life orientation under the sign and primacy of God, both Immanent and Transcendent. It is the core commitment symbolized…to accept, partner, shoulder, serve, and celebrate the Transcendent Mystery in and with creation.»
Panikkar’s view via quick, under- standable points. Quoting from pages 10 through 16 in his book:
By monk…I understand that person who aspires to reach the ultimate goal of life with all his being by renouncing all that is not necessary to it.
The monk is the expression of an archetype which is a constitutive dimension of human life. This archetype is a unique quality of each person, which at once needs and shuns institutionalization.
One does not become a monk in order to do something or even to acquire anything, but in order to be…
Human perfection: The perfection of the human individual is not the fullness of human nature; it is not nature but personhood. Yet there are people who actualize their dormant potentialities and others who don’t, people who reach a high degree of humanness–and others
I shall call the ‘humanum’ this core of…humanness that can be realized in as many fashions as there are human beings. Religion is a path to the ‘humanum’. Also the poet, the intellectual, the craftsman, the man of action…all express different facets of it.
The archetype of…the monk is an expression that corresponds to one dimension of this ‘humanum’. Monkhood is a dimension that has to be integrated with other dimensions of human life in order to fulfill the ‘humanum’.
The monk within the institutionalized framework often suffers from the fact that his vital impulses toward full humanness are curtailed merely because they are absorbed in the total institution.
One of the crises of present-day monasticism is precisely this kind of ‘quid pro quo’. that something which belongs to human nature as one of its constitutive dimensions loses a good part of its force and its universality once it becomes a particular form of organized
The monastic vocation is essentially personal..involving the search for the center…which..is immanent to the human being…but at the same time…it is transcendent.
Monasticism is not a specifically Christian, Jaina, Buddhist, or a sectarian phenomenon; rather it is a basically human and primordially a religious one..
Reading over these initial points, I began to realize that my sense of being a monastic might not be so strange after all.
Thomas Merton. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation. Edited and with an Introduction by William H. Shannon. HarperSanFrancisco, 2004.
R. Panikkar. Myth, Faith and Hermeneutics: Cross-Cultural Studies. New York, Paulist Press, 1979.
Raimundo Panikkar. Blessed Simplicity: The Monk as Universal Archetype. New York, The Seabury Press, 1982.
William Skudlarek, O.S.B., General Editor. The Continuing Quest for God: Monastic Spirituality in Tradition and Transition. Collegeville, The Liturgical Press, 1982.