Thinking about Thomas Merton – Quotes by the Contemplative, the Mystic, the Panentheist

Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama

Quotes by Thomas Merton:

“I’m deeply impregnated with Sufism.” (Merton, The Springs of Contemplation, p. 266)

“And I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own traditions, because they have gone, from the natural point of view, so much deeper into this than we have.” (Quote by Merton from the book, Lost Christianity by Jacob Needleman)

“Isn’t it a pity that people are going into LSD to have spiritual experiences, when we have a tradition in the Church [contemplative prayer] which no one knows anything about?” (Interview in which Matthew Fox quoted Merton).

“It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are …. If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are …I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point …is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.” (Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander -1989 edition, 157-158)

“I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.” (Merton in David Steindl-Rast’s “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” – Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969)

For a detailed account of Thomas Merton’s (and his “protege” Richard Foster) spirituality, read A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen.

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