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“Something Breaks Through a Little”: The Marriage of Zen and Sophia in the Life of Thomas Merton

“Something Breaks Through a Little”: The Marriage of Zen and Sophia in the Life of Thomas Merton THOMAS MERTON FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL Christopher Pramuk The fact that you are a Zen Buddhist and I am a Christian monk, far from separating us, makes us most like one another. How many centuries is it going to take for people to discover this fact? 1 Though Merton's "turn to the East" began well before Vatican II would turn the eyes of Roman Catholics toward the ecumenical and non-Christian world, its fruits would not generally appear in published form until after the Council. In works such as Mystics and Zen Masters (1967) and Zen and the Birds of Appetite (1968), Merton spends much labor correcting caricatures of Eastern spirituality prominent in the West, especially in the American counterculture. These remain vital texts today because they give us the mature Merton at his best, pressed to the limit of discursive communication on vexatious systematic and epistemological problems--and this after more than a decade of reflection and growth with respect to interfaith dialogue. Indeed, brilliantly realized essays such as "The New Consciousness" and "A Christian Looks at Zen" reveal Merton to be much more "conservative" than conservative caricatures make him out to be, and much more "liberal" than most progressives. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

“Something Breaks Through a Little”: The Marriage of Zen and Sophia in the Life of Thomas Merton

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 28 (1) – Nov 14, 2008

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press
ISSN
1527-9472
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Abstract

THOMAS MERTON FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY MEMORIAL Christopher Pramuk The fact that you are a Zen Buddhist and I am a Christian monk, far from separating us, makes us most like one another. How many centuries is it going to take for people to discover this fact? 1 Though Merton's "turn to the East" began well before Vatican II would turn the eyes of Roman Catholics toward the ecumenical and non-Christian world, its fruits would not generally appear in published form until after the Council. In works such as Mystics and Zen Masters (1967) and Zen and the Birds of Appetite (1968), Merton spends much labor correcting caricatures of Eastern spirituality prominent in the West, especially in the American counterculture. These remain vital texts today because they give us the mature Merton at his best, pressed to the limit of discursive communication on vexatious systematic and epistemological problems--and this after more than a decade of reflection and growth with respect to interfaith dialogue. Indeed, brilliantly realized essays such as "The New Consciousness" and "A Christian Looks at Zen" reveal Merton to be much more "conservative" than conservative caricatures make him out to be, and much more "liberal" than most progressives.

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 14, 2008

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