Ambivalence in Shangri-La: Mertonâs Orientalism and Dialogue Judith Simmer-Brown Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado While I read Merton in college and was horrified by news reports of his untimely death, it was only in the late 1970s that I really met Merton through the eyes of my root Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Rinpoche met Merton on his first day in India, in the bar of the Central Hotel in Calcutta, where they instantly connected and developed a deep friendship. A Methodist ministerâs daughter, I was a fervent Buddhist convert who had no conscious interest in Christianity, but Rinpoche assigned me the task of directing a series of Buddhist-Christian dialogue conferences at Naropa University during the 1980s. During the seven years of those conferences, Rinpoche spoke warmly about Mertonâs impact. I have met Merton personally through the eyes of my teacher and of Tibetan Buddhism, and it is from that perspective that I speak of Merton. Today I reflect in new ways on Mertonâs Asian journey and the legacy of his encounter with Tibetan Buddhism. In previous papers, Iâve traced his journey, plotted his Dzogchen inquiry, expanded on his guidelines for contemplative interreligious dialogue, and uncovered fascinating perspectives from
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 28, 2017
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