The Asian Journals of Thomas Merton   -     By: Thomas Merton
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The Asian Journals of Thomas Merton

W W Norton / 1988 / Paperback

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Product Description

This volume, the journal Merton kept on the journey to Asia where his life ended, also is a culmination of his long spiritual journey as a writer.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 445
Vendor: W W Norton
Publication Date: 1988
Dimensions: 8 X 5 X 1 1/4 (inches)
ISBN: 0811205703
ISBN-13: 9780811205702
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

"The moment of takeoff was ecstatic...joy. We left the ground I with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny, of being at last on my true way after years of waiting and wondering..." With these words, dated October 15. 1968, the late Father Thomas Merton recorded the beginning of his fateful journey to the Orient. His travels led him from Bangkok, through India to Ceylon, and back again to Bangkok for his scheduled talk at a conference of Asian monastic orders. There he unequivocally reaffirmed his Christian vocation. His last journal entry was made on December 8, 1968, two days before his untimely, accidental death. Amply illustrated with photographs he himself took along the way and fully indexed, the book also contains a glossary of Asian religious terms, a preface by the Indian scholar Amiya Chakravarty, a foreword and postscript by Brother Patrick Hart of the Abbey of Gethsemani, as well as several appendices, among them the text of Merton's final address.

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  1. Pamela Wampler
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 7, 2010
    Pamela Wampler
    This book chronicles Merton's journey through Asia in 1968, a time when the Church extended itself to other religions and invited dialogue. Because Merton died a few months into this trip, his writings carry even more poignancy than usual. Reading his thoughts, I felt like a traveling companion. I also felt renewed respect for his deep grounding in his Christian faith. Without compromising his own beliefs, he was able to meet with those of other faiths (including a young Dalai Lama), exchange ideas and experiences, and see Christ in them. Through his genuine interest in learning and his deep respect for those he met, he represented true Christianity. Of special interest was his moving experience as he took in the beauty of the huge Buddhas carved from rock in Ceylon. This book includes detailed footnotes and a glossary to help readers who lack extensive knowledge of Asian culture and religions. Also, the editors provide Appendixes which include a letter Merton wrote during his trip, a paper he delivered, a prayer he offered, and other complementary writings. Many of the photos were taken by Merton. This book is a must for anyone who appreciates Merton.
  2. Marcia Montenegro
    1 Stars Out Of 5
    May 11, 2005
    Marcia Montenegro
    If a Christian wants to know what it's like to be open to Eastern religions and accept their views as valid, then this is the book for you. Merton writes of his meetings with the Dalai Lama in Asia, saying he felt a spiritual bond with him; he stated that he found parallels between the meditation concepts and methods of the Catholic monks with the Tibetan Buddhists, and he was even discussing establishing a Tibetan Buddhist meditation center in the U.S.! Merton calls Tibetan Buddhist leader Chogyam Trungpa wise and a genuine spiritual master. One might ask, from whose viewpoint? Before I was a Christian, I was involved in the school of Tibetan Buddhism headed by Chogyam Trungpa; I read many of his books. I can guarantee that his writings are not in any way "wise" per the biblical view.Merton discusses his desire to be initiated into dzogchen, an esoteric Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice, and was thinking of editing a book of Buddhist writings. These projects were cut short by his sudden accidental death in Asia in 1968, although he had written on Zen Buddhism previously. Mertons Asian Journals, the last words he penned, reveal his fascination with and admiration of Eastern beliefs and practices. Merton seems to acknowledge Eastern religions as equally valid and shows a willingness to syncretize them with Christianity. What else can one think when he writes of seeking advice on initiation into dzogchen and thinking of establishing a Tibetan Buddhist meditation center? Most Christians instead would be wanting to dialogue with these Buddhists in order to present Christ to them, not seeking initiation into their practices or to spread their teachings!Why Merton is being so promoted by evangelicals is a shock and mystery to me. One might think that regarding all religions as equally valid is the new gospel.
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