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“Wide Open to Life”: Thomas Merton’s Dialogue of Contemplative Practice

“Wide Open to Life”: Thomas Merton’s Dialogue of Contemplative Practice Judith Simmer-Brown Naropa University Through my decades of Tibetan Buddhist practice and interreligious dialogue experience, I have often contemplated an encounter that took place in a bar in the Central Hotel in Calcutta, October 19, 1968. It is the encounter between Thomas Merton in the last year of his life with my Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, early in his teaching career in the West. This encounter has deeply influenced my life of dialogue, for they initiated what I came to understand as a new kind of interreligious dialogue--the dialogue of contemplative practice. It is the kind of dialogue Trungpa introduced to Naropa University in the late 1970s in Merton's honor, and it has influenced our university ever since. Thomas Merton, Father Louis, was fifty-three years old when stepped off the plane in India for his much-anticipated Asian journey. Excited and jet-lagged, he met the twenty-eight-year-old Tibetan monk Chogyam Trungpa, who had returned to India and Bhutan for a retreat after five years of study at Oxford University and a new venture of teaching dharma to Westerners. Trungpa's English would have been accented but comprehensible, and his curiosity about Christian monasticism was at its peak. Merton was http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

“Wide Open to Life”: Thomas Merton’s Dialogue of Contemplative Practice

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 35 (1) – Dec 16, 2015

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

Judith Simmer-Brown Naropa University Through my decades of Tibetan Buddhist practice and interreligious dialogue experience, I have often contemplated an encounter that took place in a bar in the Central Hotel in Calcutta, October 19, 1968. It is the encounter between Thomas Merton in the last year of his life with my Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, early in his teaching career in the West. This encounter has deeply influenced my life of dialogue, for they initiated what I came to understand as a new kind of interreligious dialogue--the dialogue of contemplative practice. It is the kind of dialogue Trungpa introduced to Naropa University in the late 1970s in Merton's honor, and it has influenced our university ever since. Thomas Merton, Father Louis, was fifty-three years old when stepped off the plane in India for his much-anticipated Asian journey. Excited and jet-lagged, he met the twenty-eight-year-old Tibetan monk Chogyam Trungpa, who had returned to India and Bhutan for a retreat after five years of study at Oxford University and a new venture of teaching dharma to Westerners. Trungpa's English would have been accented but comprehensible, and his curiosity about Christian monasticism was at its peak. Merton was

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Dec 16, 2015

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