The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Results by Subject Category

Displaying Results for the Following Subject Categories:

Category:         Religion
SubCategory:  Interreligious

Follow link under "Source" below for a list of Merton books corresponding to abbreviations.
Click column headers below to sort or reverse sort the list.

DateAuthorTitleSourceQuotation by Merton
1958/12/19Paul BruntonHermit in the Himalayas / pen name of Raphael Hurst Jnl 3 ('52-'60) p. 240 Today began reading what seems to be a remarkable though poorly written book-Hermit in the Himalayas by Brinton-I picked it up by "chanc" in the Louisville library last week.
1959/04/10Ananda Kentish CoomaraswamyPaths that Lead to the Same Summit Jnl 3 ('52-'60) p. 272 "The time is coming when it will be necessary for the man who is to be called ‘educated' to know either Arabic, Sanskrit, or Chinese, as it is now for him to read Latin, Greek, or Hebrew." Coomaraswamy. But now an educated man is not even expected to know Latin. In fact many apparently "educated" people in America do not even know English-or one vernacular language. What is the conclusion if the "educated" do not even know their own language well? I would like very much to learn Chinese or Japanese and am seriously considering whether it would not be far better than trying to learn Russian.
1960/08/05Giulio Basetti-SaniMohammed et Saint-Francois Jnl 4 ('60-'63) p. 26 A passionate and convinced book by a Franciscan [Giulio Basetti-Sani, Mohammed et Saint François, Ottawa, 1959] on Mohammed and St. Francis, so far a survey of the incapacity for dialogue between Christians and Moslems - and pointing to the need for it.
1960/08/10Giulio Basetti-SaniMohammed et Saint-Francois Jnl 4 ('60-'63) p. 30 L. Massignon believes that the "nocturnal ascension" of Mohammed brought him to the threshold of mysticism but he would go no further, and that therefore mysticism was barred, under pain of death to all other Moslems. (Though some got away with it.) I think Fr. Giulio Basetti-Sani is a little romantic when he asserts that St. Francis, having offered himself for martyrdom at Damiette, became a substitute for Mohammed and went the whole way on Mount Alvernia. Isn't this a bit arbitrary?
1960/09/04Giulio Basetti-SaniMohammed et Saint-Francois Ltrs: WtoF p. 279 As you know, Herbert has been here. He was telling me that you were going to Moscow, etc., and I did not write to you. I hope your trip was not too wearisome, but very fruitful. I have read the fascinating book on St. Francis and Mohammed [by Fr. Giulio Bassetti-Sani, published in Montreal in French]. It is very clear, very original. We need books like this and I found some magnificent sentences from the Koran.
1961/02/04 ten principal Upanishads / put into English by Shree Purohit, swami, and W.B. Yeats Jnl 4 ('60-'63) p. 92-93 Tremendous discovery. The Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad! Kairos! Everything for a long time has been slowly leading up to this, and with this reading - sudden convergence of roads, tendencies, lights, in unity! A new door. (Looked at it without comprehension 9 months ago.) Yesterday's disgust with the trivial, shallow contemporary stuff I am tempted to read! No time for that. Scriptures. Greek patrology. Oriental thought. This enough to fill every free corner of the day not given to prayer, meditation, duties.
1961/05/13Titus BurckhardtAn introduction to Sufi doctrine Ltrs: HGL p. 49 After reading Burckhardt, I have glimpsed many interesting relationships and problems. The question of Tawhid is of course central and I think that the closest to Islam among the Christian mystics on this point are the Rhenish and Flemish mystics of the fourteenth century, including Meister Eckhart, who was greatly influenced by Avicenna. The culmination of their mysticism is in the "Godhead" beyond "God" (a distinction which caused trouble to many theologians in the Middle Ages and is not accepted without qualifications) but at any rate it is an ascent to perfect and ultimate unity beyond the triad in unity of the Persons. This is a subtle and difficult theology and I don't venture into it without necessity "¦ One of the chapters I like best in Burckhardt is that on the renewal of creation at each instant, and also that on the dhikr which resembles the techniques of the Greek monks, and I am familiar with its use, for it brings one close to God.
1961/08/16Paul K.T. SihFrom Confusius to Christ Ltrs: HGL p. 549 It is already a long time since your letter of July 26th and the arrival of the two books, which I was so happy to receive. I began your autobiography [From Confucius to Christ], and then one of the novices needed a book of this type as a change so I lent it to him (he enjoyed it very much), while I myself proceeded with your Decision for China. The latter is clear and illuminating. I have not yet quite finished it but it is a very meaningful book to me "¦
1963/10/04Marco PallisWay and the Mountain Ltrs: HGL p. 465 I want to thank you especially for the books you so kindly sent. First of all, your own The Way and the Mountain is a very solid and valuable collection. Your essay on the "Active Lif" belongs precisely to a tradition that I recognize and live in, and it is very well done. The one on Sikkim Buddhism is perhaps the one that moved me most. Can we hope for a revival of these values? As you say, it is really the cross of our time to see so much that is really valuable being destroyed or discarded in the most irresponsible sort of way. Even efforts to preserve the best things seem at times fated to be foolish and destructive. I wish the Church were more sensitive on this point. There is a glimmering beginning now, but perhaps too late, with the formation of a secretariat for relations with non-Christian religions, and with some beginning of understanding of primitive cultures on the part of people in the missions. Too few of them, I am afraid. It is a very sad thing that more Catholics were not the type of de Nobili, Xavier and Matthew Ricci "¦ The essay "The Way and the Mountain" is the one I liked best. It is very fine indeed, and as a matter of fact the night after I read it, I dreamed about a "way," high on a cliff yet somehow secure. The Chinese painting of the "way" reproduced in the book is magnificent. I will send you my little book on Direction [Spiritual Direction and Meditation], which has many points in common with your essay "¦
1963/10/18Frithjof SchuonComprendre l'Islam Ltrs: HGL p. 55-56 I have just finished reading the [Frithjof] Schuon book on Islam, in French. It strikes me as one of his best books. Its interest for me was a little uneven, and I wonder if he is not interpolating here and there a lot of his own gnostic ideas. It is so terribly difficult to do a really good job of combining the different traditions among themselves. I know the school of Schuon and [Rene] Guenon well, and read them with interest, but at times I do get the feeling that they are vanishing into the mist. Then they come clear again. I think they deserve all credit for their efforts to bring East and West together. I must say I enjoyed this book on Islam, especially some parts of the chapter on the Prophet and on the Way "¦
1964/12/05Wu Wei WeiAll else is bondage : "non-volitional living" / by Wei Wu Wei. pseud. of Terrence Gray Jnl 5 ('63-'65) p. 174 Meanwhile a little book [All Else Is Bondage: Non-Volitional Living, 1964] by Terence Gray (Wei Wu Wei) is in the hermitage and I find it clear and right on target. Using a jumble of western terms, but o.k. One must improvise!
1965/04/24Martin LingsAncient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions Ltrs: HGL p. 453 Your new book reached me this morning, and I must say it looks extremely interesting. I am not perfectly sure the review of our Order will want me to review it, this will depend on how germane it is to monasticism. But I think they probably will. On the other hand I have not yet done my review of [Frithjof] Schuon's book on Islam. I have a small pile of books on Sufism etc. building up and will probably do them all at once later on.
1966/01/10Kitaro NishidaIntelligibility and the Philosophy of Nothingness: Three Philosophical Essays / Kitaro Nishida ; transl. and introd. by Robert Schinzinger in collaboration with I. Koyama and T. Kojima. Ltrs: HGL p. 441 I was surprised and delighted to get the Shinzinger book on Nishida the other day, and am already well into it. It is really excellent. I am more convinced than ever that Nishida makes an excellent bridge builder between East and West. Thank you so much for taking so much trouble, and I am most grateful to Prof. Shinzinger. Is there something I can send him? Did you get my Chuang Tzu book? I might send him a copy of that. I hope you got one. And I hope you were not offended by a facetious remark I made about such and such a thing being "Jesuitical" in the introduction. I did not of course mean it seriously at all, I was just fooling, and using the popular idea ironically.
1966/01/12Kitaro NishidaIntelligibility and the Philosophy of Nothingness: Three Philosophical Essays / Kitaro Nishida ; transl. and introd. by Robert Schinzinger in collaboration with I. Koyama and T. Kojima. Jnl 6 ('66-'67) p. 6 Great experience - reading Nishida's The Intelligible World. How like Evagrius, and yet better. Splendid view of the real (trans-conscious) meaning of Zen and its relation to the conscious and the world.
1968/02/14Alan W. WattsPsychotherapy East and West Ltrs: SofC p. 365-66 Actually I am getting a lot of questions about the discipline thing so I guess the best thing I can do is mimeograph some notes, but they won't be anything very new. Actually, what I am thinking of is a mixture of traditional monastic ascesis and some interesting ideas on psychoanalysis which have been thought up by existentialist analysts like Victor Frankl and a Persian who knows a lot about Sufism and is also an analyst. I hope to do a review of a book of his soon in Monastic Studies. Also Zen... R. H. Zaehner is good on comparative mysticism. Arberry on Sufism I like. A lot of the books on Zen are worthwhile. For example, Alan Watts' "Psychotherapy East and West," while not being anything special, has some useful ideas in it (he is not always very deep though). Victor Frankl's books are I think a must, even though they are not specifically about spiritual guidance "¦
1968/05/00Richard S.Y. ChiLast of the Patriarchs: The Recorded Sayings of Shen-Hui Ltrs: RtoJ p. 114 It may interest some of you to know that I have recently had a chance to write an introduction to an important book on Zen Buddhism [The Last of the Patriarchs: The Recorded Sayings of Shen-Hui, edited by Richard S. Y. Chi], a series of texts of a Chinese Zen Master, Shen Hui, to be published next year by the University of Indiana Press. As you know I am very interested in dialogue between Christianity and Asian religions, especially Buddhism. Also for almost a year I have been lecturing on Sufism, the mystical side of Islam, to the monks here. It is very revealing. For a long time Christians have too readily assumed that other religions had little "depth." This is entirely wrong. I think today we need to be more aware than we are of the real depth of the other major religions and the "mystical" side of their experience. Especially is this true when in some ways it can be said that the Western trend is toward activism and lack of depth. As one who came thirty years ago to the Catholic Church because I sought something deep and substantial which was not evident in ordinary secular and academic life, I can say it is an illusion for Catholics to try to "appeal" to the world of our time by merely reflecting its own attitudes and obsessions"”especially when the reflection is something like the kind you get in a fun-house mirror. The "world," unfortunately, is just not interested in this, in fact less interested than in the image of a Church that is totally "different." The more I see of certain efforts at creating a "new imag" of the Church, the less I am interested. Genuine progress must take place on a much deeper level"”and will doubtless do so.
1968/09/05Robert Charles ZaehnerAt Sundry Times Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 164 I am trying to finish reading of important books I can't take with me. Absorbed by Chogyam Trungpa's Born in Tibet [Note 6 Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was the eleventh Trungpa tulku. The story of his youth and escape from Tibet after the Chinese Communist incursion "as told to" Esme Cramer Roberts, Born in Tibet, was published by Harcourt Brace in 1968.] I question Zaehner's At Sundry Times. I think he is off target.
1968/11/02Giuseppe TucciTheory and Practice of the Mandala Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 240 I talked to Sonam Kazi about the "child mind," which is recovered after experience. Innocenc"”to experienc"”to innocence. Milarepa, angry, guilty of revenge, murder and black arts, was purified by his master Marpa, the translator, who several times made him build a house many stories high and then tear it down again. After which he was "no longer the slave of his own psyche but its lord." So too, a Desert Father came to freedom by weaving baskets and then, at the end of each year, burning all the baskets he had woven. (Tucci, pp. 83-84). {Many quotes from Tucci on these pages}
1968/11/06Marco PallisIs There Room for 'Grace' in Buddhism? Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 260 [Note 52: For this and the following quotes see Marco Pallis, "Is There Room for ‘Grace' in Buddhism?" in Studies in Comparative Religion, August 1968, Pates Manor, Bedfont, Middlesex, England.] Marco Pallis on grace in Buddhism: "The word ‘grace' corresponds to a whole dimension of spiritual experience; it is unthinkable that this should be absent from one of the great religions of the world. "The function of grac"¦to condition man's homecoming to the center itself"¦which provides the incentive to start on the Way and the energy to face and overcome its many and various obstacles. Likewise grace is the welcoming hand into the center when man finds himself at long last on the brink of the great divide where all familiar human landmarks have disappeared." (Pallis, p. 5)
1968/11/15Eduard ConzeBuddhist Thought in India Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 276 Conze comments on the fact that communication between East and West has not so far done much for philosophy. "So far European and particularly British philosophers have reacted by becoming more provincial than ever before." (Conze [Buddhist Thought in India (London, 1962)],p. 9)
1968/11/24Jules MonchaninDe l'esthetique à la mystique Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 295-96 In his preface to a book by the Abbe [Jules] Monchanin, a Frenchman who became a hermit on the banks of the sacred river Cauvery in South India, Pierre Emmanuel writes of vocation: "Qu'est-ce qu'une vocation? Un appel, et une reponse. Cette definition ne nous tient pas quitte.... [Note 74: From Pierre Emmanuel's "La. Loi d'exode," preface to De l'esthetique à la mystique by Jules Monchanin (Paris: Casterman, 1967), 7-8.] I wanted to copy a few more lines from Pierre Emmanuel in the Kurseong scholasticate but some people came in to see me and I was occupied until 8:15, when I went down to the front door to get in the jeep and go down to the main road.
1968/11/28Arthur KoestlerLotus and the Robot Jnl 7 ('67-'68) p. 304 Dr. Raghavan had had quite a bit to say about his guru, Sankaracharya of Kanchi, whom I have not met"”he is traveling in the villages. I forgot I had read about him in Koestler's (bad) book The Lotus and the Robot. Rereading an excerpt"”I find Sankaracharya saying: "Adaptations have no place in the standards of spiritual discipline." Against shortening or changing the ancient rituals. No concessions to be made. One who cannot fulfill his obligations can somehow substitute by regret and repentance, but the obligations are not to be slackened. Koestler was bothered by this "unyielding attitude." Sankaracharya's views, he thought, "bore no relation to contemporaneity."