Tagged: Thomas Merton

What is Zen?

Thomas Merton describes in his 1961 book “Mystics and Zen Masters” how the tradition of Zen resonates and overlaps with mystical traditions worldwide. He also examines various Christian monastic traditions in order to show us the similarities and differences in the search for mystical experience across cultures and religions. The following comments, based on quotes from his book, illustrate that he understands the Zen insight as a direct grasp of being in itself, not an intuition of the nature of being. It is not an intellectual act, and also not the result of contemplation or other meditation practices. Merton also...

Thomas Merton

 “Thomas Merton (1915-1968) is arguably the most influential American Catholic author of the twentieth century. His autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, has sold over one million copies and has been translated into over fifteen languages. He wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race. His Life (Quoted from the website www.merton.org) “Thomas Merton was born in Prades, France. His New Zealand-born father, Owen Merton, and his American-born mother, Ruth Jenkins, were both artists. They had met at painting school in Paris, were...

Merton: Life, Death, and Zen.

Tomas Merton writes in the foreword to his book [amazon text=Zen and the Birds of Appetite&asin=081120104X], 1968, shortly before his own death: “Where there is carrion lying, meat-eating birds circle and descend. Life and death are two. The living attack the dead. to their own profit. The dead lose nothing by it. They gain too, by being disposed of. Or they seem to, if you must think in terms of gain and loss. Do you then approach the study of Zen with the idea that there is something to be gained by it? This question is not intended as an implicit...

Mysticism

You are made in the image of what you desire. To unify your life unify your desires. To spiritualize your life, spiritualize your desires. To spiritualize your desires, desire to be without desire. Thomas Merton, Firewatch, p. 55