The Other Side of the Mountain (#07 in Journals Of Thomas Merton Series)
With the election of a new Abbot at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Merton enters a period of unprecedented freedom, culminating in the opportunity to travel to California, Alaska, and finally the Far East - journeys that offer him new possibilities...
You May Also Like
With the election of a new Abbot at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Merton enters a period of unprecedented freedom, culminating in the opportunity to travel to California, Alaska, and finally the Far East - journeys that offer him new possibilities and causes for contemplation. In his last days at the Abbey of Gethsemani, Merton continues to follow the tumultuous events of the sixties, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy. In Southeast Asia, he meets the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist and Catholic monks and discovers a rare and rewarding kinship with each. The final year is full of excitement and great potential for Merton, making his accidental death in Bangkok, at the age of fifth-three, all the more tragic.
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.