Thomas Mertonâs Unfinished Journey in Dialogue with Buddhism John P. Keenan Thomas Merton was many thingsâliterary critic, poet, author of immensely popular spiritual books, social critic, proponent of dialogue with Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews. But throughout, he remained a Cistercian monk who longed to reform monastic life, aspired somehow to be a public hermit, and focused unwaveringly on the central importance of contemplative prayer and renewal. Because he was so multifaceted and so widely known and admired, Merton still attracts attention and praiseâeven the very public praise of Pope Francis speaking before the US Congress in September 2015. And because Merton was so malleable, he has been portrayed by others in many different ways: as an exemplar, a heretic, a confused man, a deeply committed monk, and a representative of all that was beginning to happen in the wake of Vatican II.1 And because, more than most humans, he lived in so many dimensions, it is difficult to write about him. The views and valuesâeven the life experiencesâof anyone who attempts to evaluate the contributions of Thomas Merton soon become apparent. Thus it is with some hesitation that I offer here my reading of Mertonâs dialogic engagement
Buddhist-Christian Studies – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 28, 2017
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