On Eastern Meditation
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A great introduction to the religions of the East by a monk from the West.Merton's biographer, George Woodcock, once wrote that "almost from the beginning of his monastic career, Thomas Merton tentatively began to discover the great Asian religions of Buddhism and Taoism." Merton, a longtime social justice advocate, first approached Eastern theology as an admirer of Gandhi's beliefs on non-violence. Through Gandhi, Merton came to know the great Hindu text the Bhagavad Gita and in time came to have dialogues with the Dalai Lama and Taoist leader D. T. Suzuki. Merton then became deeply interested in Chuang Tzu and Zen thought. On Eastern Meditation, edited by Bonnie Thurston (author of Merton and Buddhism), gathers the best of his Eastern theological writings into a gorgeously designed gift book edition.
woods, and he is most awake, most true to his calling. When he is with no one. Nevertheless he can share with others what he considers most precious: the climate of emptiness in which he lives. (IEW 122) The true unity of the solitary life is the one in which there is no possible division. The true solitary does not seek himself, but loses himself. He forgets that there is number, in order to become all. (IEW 91) “True love requires contact with the truth, and the truth must be found in
civilization which says ‘Increase your wants.’ . . . Hinduism rules out indulgence and multiplication of wants, as these hamper one’s growth to the ultimate identity with the Universal Self.” (GNV 15, quoting Gandhi, italics and punctuation as in original) PRAYERS/PRAYING Our real journey in life is interior; it is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary for us to respond to that action.
present book is not apologetic.”19 Nor is the purpose of this book, which echoes Merton’s prayer for his friends in a circular letter of September 1968 as he left Gethsemani Abbey for “Mother Asia”: “Our real journey in life is interior; it is a matter of growth, deepening, and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts. Never was it more necessary for us to respond to that action. I pray that we may all do so.”20 –BONNIE THURSTON 1. The Other Side of
“I,”and to do this, one must submit completely to another who is himself enlightened and who knows exactly how to bring one through the perilous ways of transformation and enlightenment. But in no case must one become attached to the methods, the teaching the “system” . . . of this master. (MZM 225) All creatures have gifts of their own. The white horned owl can catch fleas at midnight And distinguish the tip of a hair, But in bright day it stares, helpless, And cannot even see a mountian
emptiness, stillness, tranquility, tastelessness, Silence, and non-action Are the root of all things. (xiii.I., WCZ 81) The perfect act is empty. Who can see it? He who forgets form. Out of the formed, the unformed, the empty act proceeds with its own form. Perfect form is momentary. Its perfection vanishes at once. Perfection and emptiness work together for they are the same: the coincidence of momentary form and eternal nothingness. Form: the flash of nothingness. Forget form, and it