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Merton's Correspondence with:

John Wu; John C. H. Wu; John C.H. Wu; Wu Ching-hsiung Wu, John C.H.; John Jingxiong Wu Chin Hsung

Wu, John C. H. (Wu Jingxiong), 1899-1986  printer

 
 

Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1961-1968, 1983
Volume: 122 item(s); 178 pg(s)

Scope and Content

Merton was familiar with some of John Wu's books, including his autobiography Beyond East and West. Merton writes to Wu to seek his help in studies of Oriental philosophy. They collaborated on a volume of sayings by Chuang Tzu. Merton, though he had been reading and studying Taoist texts in translation, did not have knowledge of the Chinese language. Drawing from various English texts and Wu's word-by-word literal translations, Merton makes his own interpretation of Chuang Tzu's writings in English, The Way of Chuang Tzu. Responding to Merton's letter of July 1962, Wu was quite impressed with Merton's translation, stating, "I am not flattering when I say that this is exactly what Chuang Tzu would write had he learned English."

Biography

Born in Ningpo, China, Jingxiong (or Ching-hsiung) Wu attended law schools in the United States and Europe in the late 1920's becoming a friend of the young Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., later to become a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. He had westernized his name, going by John. He became a wealthy lawyer and judge in Shanghai, but had a spiritual crisis in the late 1930's. During this time, he read St. Thèrése of Lisieux's Story of a Soul. This had a profound effect on Wu. Some sources give this time as his conversion to Christianity and baptism, others say his baptism was earlier but that this was still a crucial time in his faith life. In the late 1940's, he lived in Rome with his wife Teresa and his 13 children while serving as Chinese delegate to the Vatican. As an official of President Chiang Kai-shek, he was not able to return to China after the Communist revolution. A scholar of jurisprudence, philosophy, literature, religious studies, and cultural studies, he served as dean of the College of Chinese Culture in Taiwan and a research professor at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. (Sources: [1]The Hidden Ground of Love, p. 611. Augustine, John. [2] "John C. H. Wu." Website of Christ the Eternal Tao. Accessed at Bellarmine University Library, Louisville, KY, 26 Sep. 2006. ‹http://www.geocities.com/johnaugus/taowu.html›. [3] Elkins, James R. "John C. H. Wu." Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and Poetry. Website of College of Law, West Virginia University. 2 Sep. 2001. Accessed at Bellarmine University Library, Louisville, KY, 26 Sep. 2006. ‹http://www.wvu.edu/~lawfac/jelkins/lp-2001/wu.html›)

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See all letters published between John C. H. Wu and Merton in Merton & the Tao: Dialogues with John Wu and the Ancient Sages, pp. 173-346; and see also Cold War Letters #82 and other letters from Merton to Wu published in The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 611-635. See also the "Meeus, Charles L., Fr." and the "Wu, John, Jr." files.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPubNotes
1. 1961/02/03 TL[x]  from Merton to Archbishop Yu Pin Twelve years ago when you visited Gethsemani I had the pleasure of meeting your Excellency [copy of Merton's letter to Archbishop Yü Pin (later Paul Cardinal Yü Pin) - this letter is referenced in Merton's first letter to John C. H. Wu of 1961/03/14] «detailed view»
2. 1961/03/14 (#01) TLS from Merton Father Paul Chan wrote to me some time ago saying that he had kindly spoken to you about a project «detailed view»
3. 1961/03/14 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Father Paul Chan wrote to me some time ago saying that he had kindly spoken to you about a project «detailed view»
4. 1961/03/20 TALS to Merton The Feast of St. Joseph happens to be celebrated today this year. As I usually drop in at the mail «detailed view»
5. 1961/03/31 HLS to Merton The Wisdom of the Desert came yesterday. By this time I have read through the whole volume. [dated "Good Friday, 1961"] «detailed view»
6. 1961/04/01 TALS from Merton Your wonderful letter was a joy and an encouragement. I have no more doubt about the project being «detailed view»
7. 1961/04/04 HLS from Merton I am having a really wonderful time with Chuang Tzu and today I am sending you a first tentative «detailed view»
8. 1961/04/07 TALS to Merton Your gracious letters of April 1 and 4 have come. I like your selections very much. They not only «detailed view»
9. 1961/04/11 (#01) HLS from Merton Thank you for your very good letter, for the Giles translation which I have now received and which «detailed view»
10. 1961/04/11 (#02) transcript from Merton Thank you for your very good letter, for the Giles translation which I have now received and which [typed transcript of Merton's handwritten letter] «detailed view»
11. 1961/04/15 (#01) TLS to Merton Only today did the lovely thing on Meng Tzu come! It has taken a month in traveling. «detailed view»
12. 1961/04/15 (#02) TLS from Sheed, Francis Alas, I don't see us doing your essay on St. Therese. Two different reasons converge upon this [letter from Frank Sheed to Wu concerning his essay on St. Therese] «detailed view»
13. 1961/04/21 HLS from Merton Thanks for your good letter. I am very glad the Mencius finally arrived and I know you would like «detailed view»
14. 1961/04/25 HLS to Merton I should be most delighted to receive a copy of the Chinese translation of the Seeds of Wisdom. «detailed view»
15. 1961/05/19 (#01) HLS from Merton Forgive me for the delay in writing to you. I have been busy finishing up my course in mystical «detailed view»
16. 1961/05/19 (#02) transcript from Merton Forgive me for the delay in writing to you. I have been busy finishing up my course in Mystical [letter from Frank Sheed to Wu concerning his essay on St. Therese] «detailed view»
17. 1961/05/25 TALS to Merton Your good letter is a tremendous spiritual uplift to me. I am so happy to know that you like «detailed view»
18. 1961/05/27 (#01) TLS to Merton On June 4 I shall be at the Rockhurst College in Kansas City delivering a commencement address. «detailed view»
19. 1961/05/27 (#02) other from Merton I want to finish my list of passages in Chuang Tzu and my typewriter has gone wrong, so I will have [handwritten list of passages for Merton's rendering of The Way of Chuang Tzu] «detailed view»
20. 1961/05/27 (#03) transcript from Merton I want to finish my list of passages in Chuang Tzu and my typewriter has gone wrong, so I will have «detailed view»
21. 1961/05/29 TLS from Merton I had written out my list Saturday and I received your fine letter this morning. There is certainly «detailed view»
22. 1961/07/31 TLS from Merton All this time I have refrained from writing to you because I supposed that you were in Formosa «detailed view»
23. 1961/08/04 TALS to Merton It is always an uplifting and thrilling experience to receive a letter from you. So powerful is «detailed view»
24. 1961/08/12 TLS from Merton Many thanks for the letter. It is too bad we cannot look forward to receiving you at the end «detailed view»
25. 1961/08/15 HLS to Merton This is my last letter before my flying to Formosa. Yours arrived yesterday. Paul (Sih) is [dated "Assumption of Our Lady, 1961"] «detailed view»
26. 1961/10/11 TLS from Merton Are you back from Formosa? I presume you must be. And you are probably very busy at Seton Hall. «detailed view»
27. 1961/10/21 TLS to Merton Early part of 1962 will suit me perfectly. I will write you further about the date. «detailed view»
28. 1961/11/28 HLS to Merton Some days ago I received The New Man. Although I have not yet finished it, I have read «detailed view»
29. 1961/12/12 TLS from Merton Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, significant to us all in a very special way I am sure. «detailed view»
30. 1961/12/19 HLS to Merton This Christmas, as I look back upon the whole year, I have a special reason for thanking Our Lord. «detailed view»
31. 1962/03/09 TL[c] to Merton Your Introduction to Christian Mysticism is simply an inexhaustible treasure house «detailed view»
32. 1962/04/18 HPCS from Merton I have been a very bad correspondent and have not been a good student of Chinese either - reason: «detailed view»
33. 1962/05/01 (#01) TALS to Merton Your postcard delights me and also Brenda, although the joke was on me when I phoned her up «detailed view»
34. 1962/05/01 (#02) HLS  from Meeus, Charles / to John Wu Oh, what a fine Easter I had this year! I offered Mass in a Carmelite monastery with neither doors «detailed view»
35. 1962/06/07 (#01) TLS from Merton I had better get this letter written before any more time flows under the bridge (what bridge? what «detailed view»
36. 1962/06/07 (#02) transcript from Merton I had better get this letter written before any more time flows under the bridge (what bridge? what [transcript from bound set] «detailed view»
37. 1962/06/19 HLS to Merton How wonderful the Providence of Our Father! When you wrote your gracious letter of the 7th, «detailed view»
38. 1962/06/30 TALS to Merton Your Dharmakaya (Fa Sheng) is with me, although physically you are far far away. «detailed view»
39. 1962/07/03 TLS to Merton I have started with my summer schedule since yesterday--a course of Chinese History and Culture «detailed view»
40. 1962/07/10 TLS from Merton Many thanks for your two letters, and above all, thanks for coming. It was certainly a grace «detailed view»
41. 1962/07/17 TALS to Merton I got yours of the 10th some days ago. I need not tell you how delighted I was about Abbot's «detailed view»
42. 1962/12/16 TLS to Merton The books--Disputed Questions and Reader--arrived some time ago. It is only today that I am «detailed view»
43. 1962/12/20 (#01) TLS from Merton I was so happy to get your letter this morning. I am putting aside all others toanswer [sic] you «detailed view»
44. 1962/12/20 (#02) TL[c] from Merton I was so happy to get your letter this morning. I am putting aside all others toanswer [sic] you «detailed view»
45. 1962/12/26 (#01) TLS to Merton It is indeed a blessing to have you by bedside during this glorious Season of His Birthday. Disputed «detailed view»
46. 1962/12/26 (#02) TALS to Merton This morning I mailed out a letter to you. This noon your letter came. This evening I am writing «detailed view»
47. 1963/03/28 TLS from Merton For a long time I have been wanting to thank you for your last letter and for the valued gift «detailed view»
48. 1963/03/31 TALS to Merton Your letter came yesterday with your article on "Mystics and Zen." I have read it today; and I did «detailed view»
49. 1963/06/23 (#01) TLS from Merton Your two fine letters have been waiting long for a reply. I was especially happy that you agreed «detailed view»
50. 1963/06/23 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Your two fine letters have been waiting long for a reply. I was especially happy that you agreed «detailed view»
51. 1963/08/09 HLS to Merton Your of the 6th gave me a shock and a relief. I am happy that you were getting out of the hospital «detailed view»
52. 1964/12/23 (#01) TALS from Merton It was a great joy to get your card and note. What happened to our correspondence? The last letter «detailed view»
53. 1964/12/23 (#02) TL[c] from Merton It was a great joy to get your card and note. What happened to our correspondence? The last letter «detailed view»
54. 1964/12/25 HCS to Merton You have been on my mind every day, and yet I have not written you. I was in Honolulu this last «detailed view»
55. 1964/12/27 (#01) TALS to Merton I am thrilled to read your of Dec. 23. First of all let me tell you that I am so happy to have one «detailed view»
56. 1964/12/27 (#02) TL[c] to Merton I am thrilled to read your of Dec. 23. First of all let me tell you that I am so happy to have one «detailed view»
57. 1965/01/31 (#01) TLS from Merton Look how much time has passed since I received your letter and the chapter on Hui Neng. «detailed view»
58. 1965/01/31 (#02) TAL[c] from Merton Look how much time has passed since I received your letter and the chapter on Hui Neng. «detailed view»
59. 1965/02/05 TALS to Merton Here is your wonderful letter of Jan. 31. I see eye-to-eye with you in your transparent «detailed view»
60. 1965/05/11 TALS to Merton It's half past one after midnight, and I have just read (in bed) your gosegay [sic] of poems called «detailed view»
61. 1965/06/09 (#01) TALS from Merton What a wonderful letter that was! It was a pure delight, and it made me so happy that I had been «detailed view»
62. 1965/06/09 (#02) TAL[c] from Merton What a wonderful letter that was! It was a pure delight, and it made me so happy that I had been «detailed view»
63. 1965/06/13 TLS to Merton I am so happy to learn that you have gone ahead with the work on Chuang Tzu. Rather the Holy Spirit «detailed view»
64. 1965/06/25 TLS to Merton This is the first time I have sat at my desk since I moved into this new apartment two days ago. «detailed view»
65. 1965/07/11 (#01) TLS from Merton I don't want to delay any longer in writing you at your new address, and telling you that of course «detailed view»
66. 1965/07/11 (#02) TL[c] from Merton I don't want to delay any longer in writing you at your new address, and telling you that of course «detailed view»
67. 1965/07/18 TLS to Merton Gee! This time you have made me laugh or even smile, but stare! I have swam through the 22 «detailed view»
68. 1965/07/19 TLS to Merton I am happy to receive your first letter to my new address. I shall be quite contented if you would «detailed view»
69. 1965/07/22 (#01) TLS from Merton Thanks for your good letter, and for the offprint, which I will certainly send on to the censor. «detailed view»
70. 1965/07/22 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Thanks for your good letter, and for the offprint, which I will certainly send on to the censor. «detailed view»
71. 1965/08/03 HLS to Merton I have met one of your great admirers, Father William Johnston, S.J., a student of Zen. «detailed view»
72. 1965/08/06 (#01) HLS from Merton Your letter reached me here in the hospital. Nothing serious. I am getting out today. But all my «detailed view»
73. 1965/08/06 (#02) transcript from Merton Your letter reached me here in the hospital. Nothing serious. I am getting out today. But all my «detailed view»
74. 1965/08/10 (#01) TALS from Merton Here are two of your chapters, I do not want to make you wait any longer. «detailed view»
75. 1965/08/10 (#02) TAL[c] from Merton Here are two of your chapters, I do not want to make you wait any longer. «detailed view»
76. 1965/08/12 TAL[c] to Merton Only yesterday I sent a letter to you, telling you that I was now more interested in your «detailed view»
77. 1965/08/14 TALS to Merton Now my spirit is enlivened again with the receipt of your articles and my chapters as touched up «detailed view»
78. 1965/09/12 TLS from Merton I am really very sorry to have kept your chapters on Zen so long, and I don't want to hold them up «detailed view»
79. 1965/11/11 TLS from Merton If there is one truth I have learned about the hermit life it is certainly this: that hermits are «detailed view»
80. 1965/11/16 TALS to Merton You see, Father, I persist in using "my." You are more mine in your present hermitage than ever «detailed view»
81. 1965/11/19 TLS to Merton Yesterday I mailed out my nine chapters. I am inclosing now the chapter on the outstanding masters «detailed view»
82. 1965/11/24 TLS to Merton I received The Way of Chuang Tzu the day before yesterday. I have reread the whole book «detailed view»
83. 1965/12/02 TL[c] to Merton I am inclosing here the chapter on Pai-chang and Huang-po. I have enjoyed writing it more than «detailed view»
84. 1965/12/03 (#01) TALS from Merton Well, I think there could be worse involvements than being involved with Sun Yat Sen, especially «detailed view»
85. 1965/12/03 (#02) TAL[c] from Merton Well, I think there could be worse involvements than being involved with Sun Yat Sen, especially «detailed view»
86. 1965/12/07 TLS to Merton Every time I received a letter from you, I feel as though I had a new satori! «detailed view»
87. 1965/12/17 TLS to Merton Reading Father Merton's The Way of Chuang Tzu [-] Your pen has the magical power [poems by Wu at the top of the page with a letter at bottom - two enclosures of Chinese calligraphy included in the page count for this item - one page in Chinese characters on onion paper is a poem, the other on stiff paper is a preface to the poem including Merton's name in Chinese: Mei Teng, or "Silent Lamp"] «detailed view»
88. 1965/12/28 (#01) TLS from Merton Your letter and poem reached me on the Feast of St Thomas just as I was about to say Mass for Asia «detailed view»
89. 1965/12/28 (#02) TL[c] from Merton Your letter and poem reached me on the Feast of St Thomas just as I was about to say Mass for Asia «detailed view»
90. 1965/12/31 TLS to Merton If the old year is like this, what will the new year be? The year refuses to close without being «detailed view»
91. 1966/01/01 TLS to Merton I wrote you last year. This is my first letter to you this year. The enclosed piece of calligraphy «detailed view»
92. 1966/01/10 TLS to Merton These days it's all ashes, no inspiration. So I have not proceeded with my first chapter. «detailed view»
93. 1966/01/19 TL to Merton "The Zen Koan" has just come today, and I have had it in bed. Not that I am sick, but I take «detailed view»
94. 1966/01/21 TL to Merton This is the New Year's Day of old China, when you were living in the Middle Kingdom. That was long «detailed view»
95. 1966/01/24 HLS to Merton You should be tickled by the enclosed clipping. What strange bed-fellows fame makes! I don't mean «detailed view»
96. 1966/01/24 (#02) other to Merton PEOPLE IN THE NEWS [-] By William Rollins [-] Merton: A Further Retreat [-] When he entered [newspaper clipping sent by Wu to Merton, of the same date as Wu's letter, from unknown newspaper] «detailed view»
97. 1966/01/27 (#01) TLS from Merton I owe you forty winks so I will pay it back in prayers. Usually my writings are good for putting «detailed view»
98. 1966/01/27 (#02) TL[c] from Merton I owe you forty winks so I will pay it back in prayers. Usually my writings are good for putting «detailed view»
99. 1966/02/07 (#01) HLS from Merton I am sorry that New Directions did not take the book, but as I said a long time ago I did not really «detailed view»
100. 1966/02/07 (#02) transcript from Merton I am sorry that New Directions did not take the book, but as I said a long time ago I did not really «detailed view»
101. 1966/02/23 TLS from Merton Lent is upon us but I must still remember to type that Pakistan address: Ch Abdul Aziz/ First Floor «detailed view»
102. 1966/03/22 HCS from Merton A note to say I am just off to the hospital for a back operation and other problems - I don't know «detailed view»
103. 1966/03/26 (#01) TLS to Merton I have received today yours of the 22th. By this time I hope that the operation is over, and that «detailed view»
104. 1966/03/26 (#02) other to Merton I have received today yours of the 22th. By this time I hope that the operation is over, and that «detailed view»
105. 1966/05/05 HLS to Merton You see I am writing from Tokyo on my way to Taipei. I have been here for four days, and had «detailed view»
106. 1966/05/no transcript from Merton It was very good to hear from you on your way to Taipei. Sorry to have missed you here though. [copy from published letter - this note appeared on the cover a mimeograph of Merton's essay "Love and Solitude" sent to Wu] «detailed view»
107. 1966/07/11 TL[c] from Merton For a long time I have been trying to get over my consternation at the fact that you were in Asia. «detailed view»
108. 1966/07/18 TLS to Merton Your two letters were both received in due course of time. The second one, dated July 11, «detailed view»
109. 1966/08/05 transcript from Merton In order to get the introduction off to you without delay, I am sending it at once without writing [copy from published letter] «detailed view»
110. 1966/09/06 TALS to Merton I have just got yours of the 27th ult. The introduction hasn't arrived. A possible explanation «detailed view»
111. 1967/01/02 TLS to Merton This is my first letter I type this year. I feel that to write to you is, in itself, a great «detailed view»
112. 1967/09/19 HLS to Merton At last I am again in the States. The Golden Age of Zen is being published in Taipei «detailed view»
113. 1967/09/24 TL[c] from Merton Hurray! So glad to have you back. Permanently I hope! And delighted to hear that the book is so «detailed view»
114. 1968/01/24 TAL[c] from Merton How are you? Snowed in? I haven't heard from you in a long time. This letter is a quick one, «detailed view»
115. 1968/01/26 TLS to Merton Yours of the 24th has just arrived this morning. I am sorry to have delayed responding to your «detailed view»
116. 1968/03/04 TLS from Merton Well, here is the magazine. I doubt if it will overturn the literary world in one bang. «detailed view»
117. 1983/01/27 TLS  from Schymeinsky, Victor / to William Shannon Thank you for your recent letter. We have received no word that Doctor John C. H. Wu has passed [from Fr. Victor J. Schymeinsky of the Maryknoll Fathers of New York, to William H. Shannon, general editor of Merton's published letters «detailed view»
118. 1983/02/01 (#01) TLS from Shannon, William I am a priest of the diocese of Rochester, a professor at Nazareth College in Rochester and chaplain [from William H. Shannon, general editor of Merton's published letters] «detailed view»
119. 1983/02/01 (#02) TLS  from Shannon, William / to Peter A. Wu The enclosed letter to your father is self-explanatory. I am sending a copy to you just in case [from William H. Shannon, general editor of Merton's published letters, to John Wu's son, Fr. Peter A. Wu, M.M.] «detailed view»
120. 1983/04/28 TLS[x] from Shannon, William On February 1, 1983 I wrote to you concerning the Merton letters. As general editor of the Merton [from William H. Shannon, general editor of Merton's published letters] «detailed view»
121. 1983/05/24 TLS[x]  from Shannon, William / to John Wu, Jr. I was delighted to receive the set of Merton letters to your father. They are fine letters and will [from William H. Shannon, general editor of Merton's published letters] «detailed view»
122. undated/no/no other   JOHN C. H. WU [-] Dr. John C.H. Wu, author of many books on jurisprudence, philosophy and literature [John Wu biography by William H. Shannon for Merton's published letters] «detailed view»

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