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Monday, April 14, 2008

"Christo omnino nihil praeponant"- "Let them prefer nothing whatsoever to Christ"

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Rule of St Benedict, LXXII - 11.

  Scene in the Abbey of Gethsemani, USA, where the unfortunate Thomas Merton was a monk.

3 comments:

Viator Catholicus said...

It almost seems like it was staged to be so ironic!

Meanwhile, doesn't look like the woman smoking? I guess it wouldn't be surprising if it were peyote.

matt said...

Why do you call Merton 'unfortunate'?

LeonG said...

Merton was electrocuted in his bath at a buddhist conference in Thailand. How paradoxical. In the mid 60s he had disputes with his abbot about being let out of the monastery because of his international reputation and huge correspondence with many well-known figures of the day, this even though he had committed himself to a hermitage in 1965. He met the Dalai Lama in 1968 and had emo tional experiences at Polonnaruwa in Ceylon (Now Sri Lanka) seeing large Buddhist statues. Death followed not long after.

Ignoring all his many works on meditation and contemplation his obsession with buddhism was extremely unfortunate. Perhaps he should have taken his monastic vows more seriously.

He reminds me in a way of modern Benedictine monks I know in UK who have become bewitched by buddhism, among other pluralistic phenomena, after their obligatory post-conciliar meeting with the Dalai Lama. Their monastery too is in terminal decline.