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The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  257 ratings  ·  20 reviews
"The moment of takeoff was ecstatic...joy. We left the ground—I with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny, of being at last on my true way after years of waiting and wondering..." With these words, dated October 15. 1968, the late Father Thomas Merton recorded the beginning of his fateful journey to the Orient. His travels led him from Bangkok, through India to C ...more
Paperback, 446 pages
Published February 28th 1975 by New Directions (first published January 1st 1973)
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Benjamin
This is an excellent edition of Thomas Merton's Asian Journal, supplemented with a number of other important and interesting texts, including circulars, private letters, essays, presentations, and his photographs. Among other things, this book narrates Merton's meeting with the 33-year-old Dalai Lama as well as discusses his thoughts concerning Hinduism, Marxism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The book also includes a glossary and extensive notes by individuals such as Gary Snyder (whom Merton quotes on ...more
John
Vibrant, wonderful explorations of Buddhist teachings and teachers on Merton's Asian journey, abbreviated by his accidental death by electrocution in a Bangkok hotel. Merton is a great observer on his own and others inner transformations; and a careful, deep reader too, much of the journal consists of copied passages and notes from his daily study. He is singularly impressed with the profound "attainment" or realization he experiences with the Tibetans he encounters. He has a few interviews with ...more
Matthew
Thomas Merton has been, and continues to be, one of the most intriguing personalities of the last century. I was introduced to Merton when I was 15 and a student at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary. It was there that I first read his biography The Seven Storey Mountain and later I read Seeds of Contemplation. For a long time I desired to be a contemplative monk because of my admiration for Merton.

While this particular volume of Merton's was not my favorite it did provide some insight into Merton and
...more
Elisabeth Watson
After slogging through THE SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN years ago, I thought, "enough Merton for me." I've never been able to get behind his poetry, either. But I've wanted to read THE ASIAN JOURNAL for years.

I picked it up while on retreat at a Benedictine monastery last weekend and could barely put it down. While journals and letters are a perennially favorite genre for me, there was a strange (added?) feeling of voyeurism in this reading experience: Merton's spontaneous impressions, and most poignan
...more
Chris Lemig
If you've never heard of Thomas Merton, check him out. Not only was he one of the world's most well-known Christian monks he was also a famous author, beat poet, peace advocate, mystic and philosopher. He posessed a staggering intellect, an always open mind, a compassionate heart and a light-hearted sense of humor.

The Asian Journal is his account of his 1968 journey to India and Southeast Asia that he describes as the pinnacle of his spiritual life.

Although he spent 27 years rarely leaving Geth
...more
Rick
It was disappointing not to feel engaged in this journal and perhaps it is due to the abrupt passing of the author and unintended editing job of his writings into this narrative. after doing a few other quick reads of the author's letters it is clear to me that I don't appreciate his perception of humanity much less spirituality.
this journal in particular is painfully arrogant in its treatment of Asian community and cultural identity. The author doesn't seem to perceive people, places or custom
...more
Abby
This book would be especially meaningful to my youngest sister, who has traveled everywhere that Merton visits in this journal. The book is heavily annotated by his editors, which could get distracting at times, but I appreciated the inclusion of the photographs and the extensive appendices (Merton's speeches, letters, and other salient quotations about Buddhism and meditation). I also didn't realize that the diary ends just a few days before Merton died; he was electrocuted in his room in Bangk ...more
Dovofthegalilee
Putting a rating to this book is not easy, generally you're reviewing the content and giving your thoughts. In this case the content is good but large in part it is a reprinting of volume seven of the journals. True there are some fabulous photos taken by Merton and some excellent appendixes as well but surely something else could have been done such as combining the Alaskan journal with the insights in this volume and made it one. So my dissatisfaction is not with Merton but the compilers who t ...more
Hortense
Merton was a decent photographer. His death was really freaky. Done in by an Electric fan. I destroyed a copy of this book, ripping out the pages as I read them and scotch taping them on the dingy wall behind my mattress, eye level. At night it was very hot and I had to run a small fan, with no on/off switch. The make of the fan was the Zero. It was chipped blue enamel. About 10 inches or so across.
Michelle
Merton's personal journal on his Eastern spiritual journey - which is more musings, poetry, thoughts on others' quotes. Merton is the ultimate scholastic, philosophical, solitary monk. While fascinating, at times, a little recondite and abstruse, neat to follow a man on a quest.
Matthew
One of the most important works I have ever read to date in my young life. A must-read for anyone seeking understanding or a Merton fan.
Frank
This is interesting for anyone who follows Merton but it is not the normal type of writing one would expect for Merton. Much of it is just clips of his travels, airplanes, people he met (known and unknown), etc. I didn't find a lot of spiritually informative data but it was interesting.
Mona
Jul 02, 2012 Mona is currently reading it
Shelves: se-asia
I was REALLY into Thomas Merton and discovered this book never thinking I'd never go to Asia. Now that I have, I long ago left Merton on my "read and loved" shelf. This one was only dipped into, never finished. Now, after stepping into Asia, I'm ready to step back into Merton.
Peter

This includes writings and thoughts written right up to the time of his death.
All I can remember about this book was Brother Merton's enthusings over Hindu and Buddhist cosmology.
Jon
This was the book I brought with me while hiking around and staying in King's Canyon/Sequoia National Park. I might have enjoyed it more in that context than I would have otherwise.
Elaine
Aug 08, 2011 Elaine is currently reading it
I keep trying to start this, I have read the first page a few times, must not get distracted......
BW Diederich
Jan 29, 2010 BW Diederich marked it as to-read
Shelves: on-hold
I'm pretty much always kind of reading this. It's huge and nice to just dip in and out.
Jim Gero
The final journey of Merton to the east, where he died. Wow. Great stuff.
Dale
You'd have to really like Merton to read this - and I do.
Adam Gossman
I love Thomas Merton.
Adele Schiller
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Mar 25, 2015
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1711
Thomas Merton was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in the American state of Kentucky, Merton was an acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer, poet, author and social activist. Merton wrote over 60 books, scores of essays and reviews, and is the ongoing subject of many biographies. Merton was also a proponent of int ...more
More about Thomas Merton...
The Seven Storey Mountain New Seeds of Contemplation No Man Is an Island Contemplative Prayer Thoughts in Solitude

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