A Thomas Merton Reader
This edition brings us Thomas Merton is all his aspects: spiritual writer, poet, peacemaker, man among men, servant of God -- a one-volume synopsis of his quest for truth, drawn not only from his major works but from his lesser-known...
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This edition brings us Thomas Merton is all his aspects: spiritual writer, poet, peacemaker, man among men, servant of God -- a one-volume synopsis of his quest for truth, drawn not only from his major works but from his lesser-known writings as well.
A Thomas Merton Reader provides a complete view of Merton, in all his aspects: contemplative, spiritual writer, poet, peacemaker, and social critic. In this closely knit volume are significant selections not only from his major works but from some lesser-known, yet equally valuable, writings as well. Presented here is a living Thomas Merton, expounding through prose and poetry on an abundance of important themes -- war, love, peace, Eastern thought and spirituality, monastic life, art, contemplation, and solitude.
M. Scott Peck puts the writings included here into the context of Merton's life.
Born in France, Thomas Merton was the son of an American artist and poet and her New Zealander husband, a painter. Merton lost both parents before he had finished high school, and his younger brother was killed in World War II. Something of the ephemeral character of human endeavor marked all his works, deepening the pathos of his writings and drawing him close to Eastern, especially Buddhist, forms of monasticism. After an initial education in the United States, France, and England, he entered Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, where he remained until a short time before his death.
His working life was spent as a Trappist monk. At Gethsemani, he wrote his famous autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948); there he labored and prayed through the days and years of a constant regimen that began with daily prayer at 2:00 a.m. As his contemplative life developed, he still maintained contact with the outside world, his many books and articles increasing steadily as the years went by. Reading them, it is hard to think of him as only a "guilty bystander," to use the title of one of his many collections of essays. He was vehement in his opposition to the Vietnam War, to the nuclear arms race, to racial oppression. Having received permission to leave his monastery, he went on a journey to confer with mystics of the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. He was accidentally electrocuted in a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 10, 1968.